Future Perspectives on Positive Psychology: A research agenda

Llewellyn Ellardus van Zyl, Marisa Salanova

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan tijdschriftSpeciale editieAcademicpeer review


Just over two decades ago, Martin Seligman's inaugural lecture as the new president of the APA marked the dawn of Positive Psychology. Seligman called for a science of positive subjective experiences, positive individual states/traits/behaviours, and positive societal factors that improves the quality of life and wellbeing. Since then, this sub-discipline of psychology has shown extraordinary and inspiring growth in both the academy (e.g. research papers/books) and practice (e.g. establishment of professional associations, annual conferences). Positive psychology has increased our collective understanding of the factors that make life worth living, the drivers that enhance wellbeing and the elements that undermine them. It has given birth to many new theories, research models and methodologies that aim to measure, interpret, model and optimize the conditions that lead to flourishing individuals and thriving societies. It has also spawned a magnitude of sub-disciplines ranging from positive ageing, positive coaching, wellbeing therapies, positive relationships, positive health, positive organizational psychology etc. Despite building out its own identity, positive psychology has also been adopted in many adjacent fields like organizational studies, education, health, risk management, and even architectural sciences.

In its relatively short life, positive psychology has provided new insights into the human condition and innovative means to solve complex individual, organizational and societal problems. Positive psychology has brought balance to psychology by establishing a platform to focus on more than just "fixing what is wrong" through focusing on optimizing what already works well. As a collective, we believe that positive psychology can continue to play a vital role in the future by deepening our understanding of 'positivity' and developing practical tools, methodologies, and interventions to enhance people, organizations, and societies' functioning.

But what does the future of positive psychology hold? What are the strengths, opportunities, aspirations and results of positive psychology? And how can we, as a collective, build out the credibility and impact of the discipline's future? For us, these are some of the most challenging goals of positive psychology. With the rapid development of the field, detailed research and practice 'roadmaps' are required to direct the discipline's collective energies.

This Research Topic tries to address such by collating a series of research agendas about the future of positive psychology in different speciality areas. Specifically, the aim is to identify the limitations in our current understanding of the different theories, models, methods and interventions on which positive psychology is built and propose a roadmap for addressing such in the future. This would aid in setting a specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound research agenda to direct the future development of positive psychology. Contributions are welcome when discussing the current state of theory and research as it pertains to each specific topic, showing empirical data from research and should be presented in the format for a research agenda. We also welcome conceptual papers that provide insights into how the field could develop. We intend that these contributions will be 'visionary, inspiring and provocative' to stimulate and guide new research and positive psychology practice.
As such, this Research Topic calls for research agendas on:

1. New theoretical, methodological and practical approaches that could drive the development of the discipline
2. Multiculturality and inclusive perspectives that extends positive psychology to groups that have been ignored or marginalized. Further, to understand and to describe positive phenomenon within different sexual, cultural, racial, and ethnic groups of origin and identity.
3. New independent predictors of wellbeing, happiness and flourishing, as well as contextual factors that could lead to flourishing individuals, positive organizations and thriving societies.
4. Describing new technological innovations that could drive positive psychological assessments and interventions
5. Alternative metrics for economic prosperity (e.g. Gross-Domestic Happiness)
6. Fully integrative, 'hollistic' or alternative approaches on wellbeing
7. Frameworks for positive psychological and -societal interventions aimed at prosperity
8. Integrating positive psychology in emerging domains such as Positive Artificial Intelligence, Human-Robot Collaboration etc.
9. Emerging topics within positive psychology emanating from positive education, positive health, counselling and coaching, positive organizations and institutions, positive clinical psychology, post-traumatic growth and resilience, positive parenting, positive communities and societies, and so on.

To be considered for this research topic in Frontiers, we invite potential authors to submit a 300 Word Abstract of their proposed contributions via the Frontiers System before or on the 30th of May 2021. The final manuscripts will be due on the 30th of August 2021 and will be subjected to the normal blind collaborative review process as Frontiers.

Originele taal-2Engels
TijdschriftFrontiers in Psychology
StatusGepubliceerd - 6 mrt. 2021


Duik in de onderzoeksthema's van 'Future Perspectives on Positive Psychology: A research agenda'. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

Citeer dit