Martin Seligman

Martin EPMartySeligman (born August 12, 1942) is an American Psychologist , educator, and author of self-help books . Since the late 90s, Seligman has leg an ardent promoter binnen the scientific community for the field of positive psychology . [1] His theory of learned helplessness is popular onder scientific and clinical psychologists. [2] A Review of General Psychology survey, published in 2002, ranked Seligman as the 31st must Cited Psychologist of the 20th century. [3]

Seligman is the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania ‘s Department of Psychology. He post with the Director of the Clinical Training Program in the department, and earlier taught at Cornell University . [4] He is the director of the university’s Positive Psychology Center. [1] Seligman was elected president of the American Psychological Association for 1998. [5] He is the founding editor-in-chief of Prevention and Treatment (the APA electronic journal) and is on the board of advisers of Parents magazine.

Seligman has written about positive psychology topics in books zoals The Optimistic Child , Child’s Play , Learned Optimism , and Authentic Happiness. His most recently book, Flourish, was published in 2011.

Early life and education

Seligman was born in Albany, New York . He was educated at a public school and at The Albany Academy . He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Princeton University in 1964, graduating Summa Cum Laude. During his senior year, Seligman had to choose tussen three offerings from verschillende universities. Ze included a scholarship to study analytic philosophy at Oxford University, animal experimental psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and finally an offer to join Penn’s bridge team. Seligman Chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania to study psychology. [6] He earned his Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. On June 2, 1989 Seligman RECEIVED an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Social Sciences at Uppsala University , Sweden [7]

Learned helplessness

Main article: Learned helplessness

Seligman’s foundational experiments and theory of “learned helplessness” Began at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression . Quite by accident, Seligman and colleagues when sending therein the experimental protocol conditioning ze-used with dogs led to behaviors welke ulcers unexpected, in dat under the experimental conditions, the Recently conditioned dogs did not responding to opportunities to learn to escape from an unpleasant situation. [8] Seligman developed the theory work area, finding learned helplessness to be a psychologische condition in welke a human being or an animal has learned to act or behave helplessly in a mn situation – Usually after are experiencing some inability to Avoid an adverse situation – even als it actually has the power to change zijn unpleasant or even HARMFUL Circumstance. Seligman saw a similarity with severely depressed patients, and argued dat clinical depression and related mental illnesses resulted in part from a Perceived Absence of control over the outcome of a situation. [9] In later years, alongside Abramson , Seligman reformulated his theory of learned helplessness to include attributional styles . [10]

Volgens to author Jane Mayer , [11] Seligman Watch a talk at the Navy sores school in San Diego in 2002, welke have zegt was a three-hour talk on helping in US soldiers to resist torture , based on his understanding of learned helplessness.

Positive psychology

Seligman worked with Christopher Peterson to create what they ‘DESCRIBE as a’ positive ‘counterpart to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders ( DSM ). While the DSM focuses on what kan go wrong, Character Strengths and Virtues is designed to look at what kan go right. In hun research ze Looked across cultures and across millennia to attempt to distill a manageable list of Virtues dat port leg highly valued from ancient China and India, through Greece and Rome to contemporary Western cultures. Their list of includes six character strengths: wisdom / knowledge, courage , humanity , justice , temperance , and transcendence . Lycra or prosthesis has three to five sub-entries; for instance, Temperance of includes forgiveness , humility , Prudence , and self-regulation . [12] The authors do not believe dat there is a hierarchy for the six Virtues; No one is more fundamentele dan or a precursor to the others.

In July 2011, Seligman encouraged British Prime Minister David Cameron to look JSON well-being as well as financial wealth in ways or Assessing the prosperity of a nation. On July 6, 2011, Seligman Appeared on Newsnight and was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman about his ideas and his interest in the concept of well-being.


In his latest book, Flourish, Seligman Articulated an account or how he maatregelen well-being, and this work Titled, “Well-Being Theory”. [13] He concludes therein there are five elements to “well-being” In this housing fall under the mnemonic PERMA: [13]

  • P ositive emotion – Can only be assessed subjectively
  • E ngagement – Like positive emotion, can only be Measured through subjective Means. It is presence of a flow statements
  • R elationships – The presence of friends, family, intimacy, or social connection
  • M eaning – Belonging to and serving something bigger dan one’s self
  • A chievement – accomplishment therein are pursued even-when it Brings no positive emotion, no meaning, and nothing in the way of positive relationships.

From Martin Seligmans book:

“Each element of well-being must Itself port three properties to count as an element:

  1. It Contributes to well-being.
  2. Many people Pursue it for zijn eigen business, not merely to get ANY of the other elements.
  3. It is defined and Measured independently of the other elements. “

These theories port not bone empirically validated.

MAPP program

The Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania was Agent under the leadership of Seligman as the first educational initiative of the Positive Psychology Center in 2003. [14]

Personal life

Seligman plays bridge and finished second in the 1998 Instalment or one of the three major North American pair championships, the Blue Ribbon Pairs , as well as maintaining won over 50 regional championships. [15]

Seligman has seven children, four grandchildren, and two dogs. He and his second wife, Mandy, live in a house that was once Occupied by Eugene Ormandy . Way Down harbor home Schooled five hun seven children, and they ‘are still Currently home Schooling one. [16]

Seligman was inspired by the work of the psychiatrist Aaron T. Beck at the University of Pennsylvania in refining his own cognitive techniques and exercises. [17]


Main article: Character Strengths and Virtues
  • – (1975). Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death . San Francisco: WH Freeman. ISBN  0-7167-0752-7 . (Paperback reprint edition, WH Freeman, 1992, ISBN 0-7167-2328-X )
  • – (1991). Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life . New York: Knopf. ISBN  0-671-01911-2 . (Paperback reprint edition, Penguin Books, 1998; reissued edition, Free Press, 1998)
  • – (1993). What You Can Change and What You Can: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement . New York: Knopf. ISBN  0-679-41024-4 . (Paperback reprint edition, Ballantine Books, 1995, ISBN 0-449-90971-9 )
  • – (1996). The Optimistic Child: Proven Program to Safeguard Children from Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience . New York: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN  0091831199 . (Paperback edition, Harper paperbacks, 1996, ISBN 0-06-097709-4 )
  • – (2002). Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment . New York: Free Press. ISBN  0-7432-2297-0 . (Paperback edition, Free Press, 2004, ISBN 0-7432-2298-9 )
  • – (Spring 2004). “Can Happiness be Taught?” . Daedalus . 133 (2): 80-87. doi : 10.1162 / 001152604323049424 .
  • Peterson, Christopher ; Seligman, Martin EP (2004). Character Strengths and Virtues . Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN  0195167015 .
  • – (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being . New York: Free Press. ISBN  978-1-4391-9075-3 .


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b Positive Psychology Center , University of Pennsylvania .
  2. Jump up^ Bower, Gordon H. (1981). The psychology of learning and motivation, advances in research and theory . Academic Press, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 30. ISBN  9780125433150 . “The most popular theoretical interpretation of the learned helplessness phenomenon to date therein or Seligman (1975) and Maier and Seligman (1976).”
  3. Jump up^ Haggbloom, Steven J .; Warnick, Jason E .; Jones, Vinessa K .; Yarbrough, Gary L .; Russell Tenea M .; Borecky Chris M .; McGahhey, Reagan; et al. (2002). “The 100 must eminent psychologists of the 20th century” . Review of General Psychology . 6 (2): 139-152. doi : 10.1037 / 1089-2680.6.2.139 .
  4. Jump up^ “A Brief Biography of Psychologist Martin Seligman” . .
  5. Jump up^ “Former APA President ” . American Psychological Association.
  6. Jump up^ “Martin Seligman, Ph.D.” .
  7. Jump up^ “Honorary doctorates” . Uppsala University, Sweden.
  8. Jump up^ Seligman, MEP; Maier, SF (1967). “Failure to escape traumatic shock”. Journal of Experimental Psychology . 74 (1): 1-9. doi : 10.1037 / h0024514 . PMID  6032570 . ; Overmier, JB; Seligman, MEP (1967). “Effects of inescapable shock upon subsequent escape and avoidance responding.” Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology . 63 (1): 28-33. doi : 10.1037 / h0024166 . PMID  6029715 .
  9. Jump up^ Seligman, MEP (1975). Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death . San Francisco: WH Freeman. ISBN  0-7167-2328-X .
  10. Jump up^ Abramson, LY; Seligman, MEP; Teasdale, JD (1978). “Learned helplessness in humans: Critique and reformulation”. Journal of Abnormal Psychology . 87 (1): 49-74. doi : 10.1037 / 0021-843X.87.1.49 . PMID  649,856 .
  11. Jump up^ Horton, Scott (14 July 2008). “Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of The Dark Side” . Harper’s Magazine . Retrieved 2009-02-04 . Seligman zegt his talk was focused on how to help US soldiers resist torture – not on how to breakdown resistance in detainees. … Mitchell has denied dat deze theories guided his and the CIA’s use
  12. Jump up^ Linley, PA; Maltby, J .; Wood, AM; Joseph S .; Harrington, S .; Peterson, C .; Park, N .; Seligman, MEP (2007). “Character strengths in the United Kingdom: The VIA Inventory of strengths” (PDF) . Personality and Individual Differences . 43 (2): 341-351. doi : 10.1016 / j.paid.2006.12.004 .
  13. ^ Jump up to:a b Seligman, Martin (2011). Flourish . New York: Free Press. pp. 16-20. ISBN  9781439190760 .
  14. Jump up^ “MAPP program” . University of Pennsylvania . Retrieved 10 April 2014 .
  15. Jump up^ Francis, Henry G., Editor-in-Chief; Truscott, Alan F., Executive Editor ; Francis, Dorthy A., Editor, Sixth Edition (2001). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (6th ed.). Memphis, TN: American Contract Bridge League. p. 732. ISBN  0-943855-44-6 . OCLC  49606900 .
  16. Jump up^ Burling, Stacey (30 May 2010). “The power of a positive thinker” . . The Inquirer – Interstate General Media . Retrieved 1 April 2014 .
  17. Jump up^ Hirtz, Rob (January 1999). “Martin Seligman’s Journey: from Learned Helplessness Learned to Happiness” . The Pennsylvania Gazette . The University of Pennsylvania.