The present study aims to present paradigm shifts from the authentic happiness theory (2002) to the well-being theory (2011), both developed in Positive Psychology by Martin Seligman. The well-being theory adds fulfillment and interpersonal relationships to the elements already included in the first theory (positive emotions, engagement and meaning), highlighting that well-being does not depend only on individual aspects but on issues related to context and interpersonal relationships. Whereas authentic happiness seeks life satisfaction, well-being aspires to flourishing - a more complex and dynamic construct. Well-being theory opens the possibility of developing public policies related to promotion of quality of life without ruling out the need for constant review of such approach.
Considered to be a recent approach, Positive Psycho-logy is developing rapidly, especially considering that its propagation and discussion in academic circles date back slightly over a decade. In addition to the constant development of this perspective, the possibility of systematizing the already consolidated production in the field is opened to gain knowledge on the gaps and potential for new studies. It is in this direction that the theoretical foundations that underlie Positive Psychology have advanced along this short trajectory. The authentic happiness movement, formulated in 2002, is currently being questioned, thereby allowing the ascendance of the well-being movement, formulated in 2011. Both movements were developed by Seligman from several empirical studies with the participation of researchers from all over the world. The transition from a movement to another is automatic and exclusionary but must be understood as an ongoing paradigm shift. Thus, understanding this process is critical to align the Positive Psychology goals to those of a psychological science permanently committed to social change and the human well-being.
Therefore, the objective of this study is to discuss the paradigm changes from the authentic happiness movement to the well-being one under the Positive Psychology perspective. To this end, this study begins with a presentation of the leading researcher on Positive Psychology, Martin E. P. Seligman, seeking to identify how his biography reflected or allowed such changes.
To summarize, authentic happiness assumes that Positive Psychology relates with happiness in three aspects: positive emotion, engagement and meaning. The measurement of happiness could be conducted from measuring tools that assess life satisfaction, the goal of Positive Psychology being to increase the level of life satisfaction. What strategies can contribute to increase satisfaction What interventions are most effective in achieving this goal What lifestyles promote this transformation These questions were initially raised in an intervention plan based on authentic happiness. However, this position began to be questioned by Seligman from the results of his research throughout the first decade of this century.
Among the so-called deficiencies of this first Positive Psychology movement, Seligman (2011) noted that authentic happiness aims to redefine what happiness is in an arbitrary way. As to engagement and meaning, the notions are related to how the human being feel but are not part of what is conceived as happiness. Another criticism refers to the main measure of authentic happiness, which is the level of life satisfaction. According to studies recovered by Seligman (2011), mood could explain 70% of this index, while judgment of subjects' lives corresponds to 30%. This perspective considers mood as the greatest predictor of happiness, which would lead to consider happiness as something transient and situational. An introverted person, for example, tends to be considered less happy than an extroverted one, which would not take into account the respondent perception or judgment about his emotions but only his moods. Also according to Seligman (2011), life satisfaction does not consider how much meaning there is or how much people are committed to their work and how much they engage with the people they love. As a possible measurement of mood, life satisfaction is extremely variable and is therefore a situational measurement. Based on these criticisms, Seligman and other researchers began to review the construct of authentic happiness, developing a second movement, known as well-being, which will be described next.
A new definition of Positive Psychology is proposed, defining Positive Psychology as the science that investigates well-being. According to this new proposition, well-being may be measured in relation to five factors: positive emotion, engagement, meaning, positive relationships and accomplishment. Positive emotion continues to be the main element in determining health, as well as authentic happiness, but because they are considered subjective measurements, happiness and life satisfaction become factors relevant to the well-being theory, although they cannot sustain well-being by themselves. Thus, the importance attributed to positive emotion is reduced. According to Seligman (2004), positive emotions can be related to past, present or future events. Those emotions related to the future include optimism, faith and hope. Emotions that pertain to the present encompass calm, plenitude, joy, ecstasy, excitement and pleasure. Linked to the past are feelings of satisfaction, contentment, accomplishment, pride and serenity. These three types of positive emotions related to time are not necessarily related to each other and can be measured individually using specific scales.
As highlighted by Seligman (2011), authentic happiness attests that people make choices estimating how much happiness (satisfaction in life) they can achieve, choosing the paths that maximize the satisfaction. This maximization operation depends solely on the individual, i.e., satisfaction is an individual measurement, regardless of interactions and interpersonal relationships established. This operation is the first point where the well-being theory shows advances, as it incorporates the need for social relationships for development and the feeling of being happy and accomplished. In other words, social relationships have greater importance, overtaking the consideration of well-being as something solely individual. This point is closely related to the findings of many available studies, including those conducted by Lee, Seccombe and Shehan (1991) investigating married couples and by Diener and Seligman (2003) examining young people considered to be happy, to mention only two examples. Obviously, such consideration includes the possibility of designing intervention programs aiming at a collective well-being, supported by public policies.
Another significant change in the transition of these movements is that in authentic happiness, the standard of measurement is satisfaction with life, and its goal is to increase it. As to well-being, the standard of measurement is comprised of positive emotion, engagement, meaning, positive relationships and accomplishment, and the goal is to increase flourishing through potentialization of these elements. According to Seligman (2011), to flourish, an individual must have all characteristics considered essential (positive emotions, engagement, interest, meaning and purpose) and at least three of the six additional characteristics (self-esteem, optimism, resilience, vitality, self-determination and positive relationships). Such characteristics can be developed and constantly improved through training and specific interventions, which makes well-being a construct that can be achieved and constantly encouraged, as opposed to deterministic perspectives. The long-term challenge is to create strategies such that not only people but also institutions and countries can flourish, improving the quality of life and well-being of all to distribute the benefits of the joint effort more equally.
When drawing a parallel between these two movements, it is noted that the second movement not only proves to be more complex but also equates to a greater number of elements that must be analyzed in the understanding of what leads to well-being. The sense of accomplishment and establishment of positive relationships are added to the old tripod of authentic happiness, revealing the need for a judgment that overtakes the personal or individual dimension but considers the other(s) that is (are) in their surroundings or is (are) part of their life. This new theoretical framework clearly should be investigated in greater depth with the complex task of thinking about its possible long-term repercussions in the Positive Psychology studies. Although other theoretical postulations are in progress, guided by other researchers in the field, the scope of this new movement brought by Seligman is considered relevant and promising.
Abstract:In recent years, more and more ICH (intangible cultural heritage) has been introduced into scenic areas. As the creators and disseminators of ICH, inheritors are invited to teach ICH skills in these areas. According to the PERMA model (positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and achievement), we conducted several interviews with the inheritors of ICH in scenic areas to explore their authentic happiness in terms of the modes by which they inherited and propagated ICH (as individuals, in studios or in companies) and the factors influencing authentic happiness. The findings show that: (1) in general, ICH inheritors reported high levels of authentic happiness in all five dimensions of the PERMA model; (2), for engagement with work, interpersonal relationships, perception of meaning and sense of achievement, the ways in which the inheritors experienced these four dimensions differed greatly depending on the inheritance mode; (3) the main factors affecting the authentic happiness of the inheritors were personal