Systems Informed Positive Psychology
with Peggy Kern, PhD
Despite massive growth and success over the past two decades, positive psychology has been criticized for ignoring the impact of context and life experiences, incorporating circular reasoning and tautological assertions, among numerous other criticisms. Theories and models are increasingly becoming more nuanced and sophisticated, but we suggest that for positive psychology to mature as a science, it needs to move beyond constraints imposed by traditional approaches to research.
Systems science is an interdisciplinary field that studies the nature of systems in nature, society, and in science itself. It emphasizes dynamic interrelationships over time, multiple perspectives, boundaries, complexity, feedback, consequences, dynamic associations, and constant change. We suggest that infusing positive psych with perspectives, tools, and frameworks from systems science – an approach that we call Systems Informed Positive Psychology (SIPP) – can enable positive psychology to more effectively cultivate the wellbeing of not only individuals, but of human social systems.
In this session, Peggy will introduce SIPP, providing several existing examples and opening a conversation on potential applications and implications.
Dr Peggy Kern is a senior lecturer at the Centre for Positive Psychology within the University of Melbourne's Graduate School of Education. Originally trained in social, personality, and developmental psychology, Peggy received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University, a masters and PhD in social/ personality psychology from the University of California, Riverside, and postdoctoral training from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on understanding, measuring, and supporting wellbeing across the lifespan. She incorporates a lifespan perspective, mixed methodologies, and interdisciplinary collaboration. She has published 2 books and over 70 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. You can find out more about Peggy’s work at www.peggykern.org
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