Making the world a better place to live through positive psychology

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstract in journalResearchpeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to outline a theoretical and practical model for the role of positive psychology at a societal level. Although the world is facing
tremendous problems in terms of lack of natural resources, poverty, pollution, conflicts and the consequences of global warming, there seems to be indecision among world leaders and international organisations. This lack of action makes one wonder how we can facilitate positive psychology to become a truly influential factor in society. With emphasis on virtues and character strengths, we can help people to become aware of the essential human values such as hope, dignity, kindness, trust and temperance. Furthermore, the conclusions of happiness research teach us that these qualities are fundamental aspects of people’s well-being. Happiness is improved through genuine and close social relations, trust in other people and institutions, openness and doing good for others, rather than the overriding materialism we see in many parts of the
world. As Aristotle pointed out more than two thousands years ago, happiness is a question of striving towards virtues and avoiding sins like greed, gluttony and wrath. How can positive psychology communicate these insights without becoming
moralistic and supercilious? The paper suggests that the answer might be a learning model where citizens in different social settings like homes, schools, organisations and companies are encouraged to reflect on their values and take action based on this insight.
Translated title of the contributionAt gøre verden til et bedre sted at leve gennem positiv psykologi
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Psychology
Issue numberSuppl. 1
Pages (from-to)624-625
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventInternational Congress of Psychology: Psychology Serving Humanity - Cape Town International Congress Centre, Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 22 Jul 201227 Jul 2012
Conference number: 30th


ConferenceInternational Congress of Psychology
LocationCape Town International Congress Centre
CountrySouth Africa
CityCape Town

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