Speaking at the Gallup International Positive Psychology Summit, Seligman described this as an epistemological and methodological shift that incorporates not only the psychology field's study of strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive, but also the study and practice of positive approaches in fields such as anthropology, economics, history, sociology, political science, among others.
He suggested that positive social science is made up of these five pillars, which focus on the good life, a life worth living, flourishing, and well-being:
- Positive emotions, including engagement and happiness.
- Positive traits, including strengths and virtues and pursuing excellence.
- Positive relationships.
- Meaning and purpose.
All of which raises the question: Is positive psychology not a new, stand-alone discipline, but rather a label - an umbrella - that has allowed academics and practitioners doing "positive" work across many disciplines to come together under some common language?
This debate seems destined to grow, given the comments made during a 10-minute Q&A following Seligman's announcement at the Summit. And ironically, just before this announcement, Seligman's colleague, Ed Deiner, launched the new International Positive Psychology Association.
Meanwhile, The Gallup Organization's CEO Jim Clifton announced that Gallup's positive social science emphasis will be on "the new science of behavioral economics," which includes measuring global well-being in the Gallup World Poll.