The Psychology of Everyday Life: Motivation and the Search For Happiness

Positive Psychology

What does Seligman’s research say about the virtues and character strengths?

Seligman and his colleagues have conducted research to see how universal these concepts are and how well they correlate with life satisfaction. A study conducted in forty different countries asked people to rate how much they could identify with each of the twenty-four character strengths. The rankings of the character strengths were notably similar from country to country, with kindness, fairness, authenticity, gratitude, and open-mindedness most commonly endorsed (“most like me”). Less frequently endorsed strengths included prudence, modesty, and self-regulation. The authors also noted that the strengths pertaining to emotional traits (zest, gratitude, hope, love) were more strongly associated with ratings of life satisfaction than the strengths relating to intellectual traits (curiosity, love of learning).


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