Singapore University of Social Sciences

Positive Psychology

Positive Psychology (PSY353)


PSY353e Positive Psychology is an introduction to the issues in and scientific research on positive psychology, as well as an avenue for experiential learning, leading to a global understanding of human well-being. Positive Psychology is the study of how people thrive despite external obstacles and their own human frailties. This course explores concepts, issues, and processes that contribute to enhancing the quality of life, and presents scientific research highlighting the positive aspects of human nature – what leads to optimal human functioning, and how and why some humans thrive. Students will study theories about cognitive patterns and behaviours that facilitate human well- being, and practical applications on how to make life fulfilling. They will also be introduced to social psychological research and theories on well-being. They will be expected to apply some theories to their own lives, to reflect on them as part of the coursework, and to exercise their critical thinking abilities to form their own personal views on what constitutes a “good life.” By the end of the course, students should be able to understand and explain basic theories in positive psychology, and critically defend (or oppose) the cognitions and behaviours that serve to enhance or undermine optimal human growth. Course content will address the following questions: • What are the positive psychological mind-states and action sequences that promote flourishing lives, and how can we live life well? • What are the behaviours, cognitions and external factors that promote or undermine well-being?

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY JULY


  • Positive Psychology and well-being
  • The nature of well-being
  • Cross-cultural subjective well-being
  • Predictors of well-being
  • Positive traits – personality, self-esteem and optimism
  • Optimal experiences
  • Positive relationships
  • Wellness and well-being
  • Gratitude and appreciation
  • Apology and forgiveness
  • Compassion, empathy, altruism and volunteering
  • A positive future

Learning Outcome

  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the social psychological research and theories on well-being.
  • Examine the various social psychological research and theories and on well-being.
  • Analyse the cognitions, behaviors, and factors which enhance or undermine optimal human growth.
  • Evaluate the theories regarding the factors that influence well-being.
  • Apply positive psychology theories to your own lives.
  • Propose recommendations for improving well-being using the theories and findings from positive psychology.
  • Assess what constitutes well-being or a “good life” based on the empirical evidence in the literature.
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