PSY353: Apply relevant positive psychology theories and principles to appraise the science of behavioural change. Positive Psychology assignment
Module / Subject / School:
PSY353 Positive Psychology
Singapore University of Social Sciences
Part A: Academic Report (70 marks)
Review the 40-minute podcast video “The Science of Change” by Dr Laurie Santos from the Happiness Lab (Yale University, United States of America) and Dr Maya Shankar who is an expert on behavioural change.
Essential Information for Review
In the podcast, Dr Santos highlighted that we tend to underestimate our psychological resilience in dealing with life challenges. The suggestion is that with cognitive reframing, journaling, and making sense of our life experiences with narratives, we will be able to change, grow, and achieve happiness. Resilience is the positive psychological capacity to rebound or bounce back from adversity, uncertainty, conflict or failure (Luthans, 2002). Haglund et al. (2007) added that resilience is the ability to adapt and maintain psychological well-being in the face of adversity. Resilience is therefore a set of skills that can be learned. The skill-building often comes from exposure to difficult or challenging times. How we manage the challenges in our life depends on our resilience toolbox. For some people, the toolbox is filled with drugs; for others it can be drinking, overeating, gambling or shopping. These are not the tools to promote resilience and subjective well-being.
Dr Maya Shankar proposed that we adopt an exploratory framework of mind to deal with change and achieve happiness. She emphasised that humans are built for change and growth. According to Dweck (2009, 2007), people who have the capacity to change and are more adaptive to new challenges, have a growth mindset. They believe that well-being can be achieved through increased effort and skills development. In contrast, a person with a fixed mindset believes that their abilities are fixed traits and unchangeable (Yeager & Dweck, 2012). Thus, students with a fixed mindset, for example, tend to avoid challenges, quit when they encounter challenge, and ultimately achieve less academic success. Conversely, students with a growth mindset are more likely to take on challenging tasks by trying new strategies or increasing effort, ultimately achieving greater academic success (Smiley et al., 2016).
A growth mindset has many benefits such as striving for more stretching goals, higher motivation and passion for learning, enhanced cognitive development across a broader range of tasks, lower stress and anxiety, better work relationships, and higher performance levels. People with a growth mindset tend be grateful for their personal achievements and growth. They know that they can change over time, and therefore they are more open to reflecting, learning, and growing from challenges. The setbacks are less threatening, and they are more willing to embrace life’s challenges as a learning opportunity to learn and grow throughout life.
Academic Report Question
Apply relevant positive psychology theories and principles to appraise the science of behavioural change. Demonstrate how you can develop psychological resilience through a growth mindset, positive reframing, and self-determination in positive emotions to navigate change and uncertainty.
To fully respond to the question, your report must:
1. Evaluate the importance of a positive and growth mindset in an engaged and meaningful life.
2. Analyse the science of positive cognitive reframing in behavioural change.
3. Examine the concept that our personality trait is malleable.
4. Propose THREE ways on how mastery and autonomy in positive emotions can help to navigate change and uncertainty.
To answer the question fully, you are required to include the following sections in your report:
Title (< 10 words)
The title should highlight the essence of the academic report in less than 10 words.
Introduction (300 words)
This section provide a summary of relevant extant literature and briefly explain the rationale for a growth mindset in subjective well-being.
Discussion (500 words)
Critically and carefully consider the relationship among moderators in a growth mindset such as (1) resilience, (2) self-determination, and (3) positive emotions.
Recommendations (300 words)
Use psychological principles to propose how we can effectively achieve subjective wellbeing through a growth mindset.
Part B: Reflection (20 marks)
Transformative Life Experiences
Transformative experiences are gaining increasing attention in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy. Transformative life experiences are experiences that fundamentally challenge and alter a person’s beliefs and values, affecting how we understand ourselves and
our perspective of our life. A transformative experience empowers us to transcend our limitations and wakes us up to who we are. Some life experiences can generate profound and long-lasting shifts in core beliefs and attitudes that shape our individual growth and psychological well-being.
Reflect on your past two transformative life experiences and evaluate how you have managed to navigate these experiences to improve your subjective well-being. Apply psychological principles of positive psychology to support your answer.
Reflection (300 words)
Reflect on the importance of transformative experiences and apply two of your signature strengths to manage the experiences.
What we score:
Our Writer’s Comment
This assignment tests students on their understanding of psychological theories and principles.
Based on the assignment requirements provided, here are some comments to help students score well on this assignment:
Part A: Academic Report
- Emphasize the importance of a positive and growth mindset: In your report, it’s crucial to evaluate and highlight the significance of having a positive and growth mindset in leading an engaged and meaningful life. Explore how individuals with a growth mindset are more adaptable to new challenges and believe that effort and skill development can lead to well-being. Discuss the benefits of a growth mindset, such as striving for stretching goals, higher motivation and passion for learning, enhanced cognitive development, lower stress and anxiety levels, better work relationships, and higher performance levels.
- Analyze positive cognitive reframing in behavioral change: Examine the science behind positive cognitive reframing and its role in facilitating behavioral change. Discuss how reframing our perspectives and interpretations of challenging situations can help us navigate change and uncertainty more effectively. Analyze relevant positive psychology theories and principles that support the concept of cognitive reframing as a tool for personal growth and well-being.
- Discuss the malleability of personality traits: Explore the concept that our personality traits are malleable rather than fixed. Evaluate the research and theories that support the idea that individuals can develop and change their personality traits over time. Discuss how this understanding can contribute to personal growth and navigating transformative experiences. Provide examples and evidence to support your analysis.
- Propose ways to use mastery and autonomy in positive emotions: Identify and propose three ways in which mastery and autonomy in positive emotions can help individuals navigate change and uncertainty. Discuss how developing a sense of mastery over positive emotions can contribute to resilience and well-being. Also, explore how having autonomy in experiencing positive emotions can empower individuals to cope with challenges and embrace opportunities for growth.
Additional guidance: Ensure that your report includes a clear and concise title that captures the essence of your academic report in fewer than 10 words. In the introduction section, provide a summary of the relevant literature and explain the rationale for emphasizing a growth mindset in subjective well-being. In the discussion section, critically analyze the relationship between a growth mindset, resilience, self-determination, and positive emotions. In the recommendations section, use psychological principles to propose effective strategies for achieving subjective well-being through a growth mindset.
Part B: Reflection
- Reflect on transformative life experiences: Reflect on two transformative life experiences from your past and evaluate how you managed to navigate these experiences to improve your subjective well-being. Discuss the profound shifts in your beliefs and values that occurred as a result of these experiences. Emphasize how these transformative experiences have shaped your individual growth and psychological well-being.
- Apply psychological principles and signature strengths: Apply psychological principles from positive psychology to support your reflections. Specifically, identify and apply two of your signature strengths to manage the transformative experiences. Discuss how these strengths helped you navigate the challenges and enhance your subjective well-being. Use examples and personal anecdotes to illustrate your points.
Additional guidance: In the reflection section, emphasize the importance of transformative experiences and their impact on personal growth and well-being. Connect your experiences to relevant psychological principles from positive psychology. Show how your signature strengths played a role in managing these experiences and fostering your subjective well-being.
By following these guidelines, conducting thorough research, and applying critical analysis supported by relevant psychological principles, you can significantly enhance your chances of scoring well on this assignment.
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