Study2011
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Study2011 Presentation Transcript

  • 1. CAN A POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY INTERVENTION IMPROVE COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE? Ella Duvall August, 2011
  • 2. Positive psychology…
    • Wellbeing, happiness and flourishing
    • Emerging field, in the last 10 years
    • Is there a point to researching happiness? …yes, the causal effect works both ways! (Lyubomirski et al, 2005)
    • How can we achieve more positive states ? (Seligman et al, 2005) - using signature strengths in new ways - three good things
  • 3. The present research study…
    • Positive psychology in education
      • To improve wellbeing
      • To prevent against depression
    • Can a positive psychology intervention also improve our cognitive performance?
    • Hypothesis: participants cognitive performance will improve with practice and familiarity but the improvement will be greater for participants of a positive psychology intervention
  • 4. Using signature strengths in new ways (USSNW)..
    • Your signature strengths are particular strengths of character that you will bring you abundant gratification and authentic happiness when exercised.
    • E.g. love of learning, bravery and valor, gratitude
  • 5. Using signature strengths in new ways (USSNW)..
    • Values in Action Inventory of Strengths ( Peterson & Seligman, 2004 )
    • Exercise your strengths in new ways or new areas of your life for one week
    • E.g. writing a letter of forgiveness
    • Found to decrease depressive
    • symptoms and increase
    • happiness for up to six
    • months (Seligman et al, 2005)
  • 6. Letter transformation task
    • 4 letters in a sequence
    • Transform all letters by 4
    • a b c d e f g h I j…
    • L J A S
    • ‘ transformed by 4’ equals
    • P N E W
    (Rajman, Hamilton & Hockey ,1977)
  • 7. Letter transformation task
    • Access of long term memory to locate the appropriate starting place in the alphabetical sequence
    • Transformation of each letter
    • Rehearsal and storage of the accumulating answer
  • 8. Method
  • 9. Preliminary Findings N20 Participants who took part in the USSNW intervention show a greater mean improvement in correct responses in the task compared to participants in the control.
  • 10. What do these findings mean?
    • Descriptive statistics with this small sample support our hypothesis
    • However, this has not been supported statistically and the power to test this needs to be improved by the larger sample
  • 11.
    • Are other positive interventions similarly effective?
    • For how long for?
    • Longitudinal placebo controlled design
    • Cognitive performance in school
    What’s next?
  • 12.
    • To conclude:- positive psychology is making an impact in psychology showing that wellbeing is a valuable human endeavor; happiness plays a causal role in many so kinds of desirable life outcomes. Governments are starting to recognise the importance of wellbeing and improved performance would certainly appeal to their current economy-driven objectives. However research findings showing that cognitive function is affected by a positive mind has not yet been bought to fruition.
  • 13. References
    • Seligman et al, (2005). Positive Psychology Progress: Empirical Validation of Interventions, American Psychologist, 60, 5, 410-421
    • Lyubomirski et al, (2005). The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success? American Psychological Association, 313, 6
    • Peterson & Seligman, (2004 ) . Character strengths and virtues: A classification and handbook.NewYork: Oxford University Press/Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
    Acknowledgements Professor Chris Barker