Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects

Document Type

Working Paper

Date of this Version



Existing environmental problems, such as climate change and species extinction, are partially the result of human behavior. Attempts to motivate people to reduce and alter consumption behaviors have primarily relied on the summoning of negative emotions. The author elaborates a comprehensive theory, supported by empirical evidence, showing how positive emotions can be more effective at inspiring environmentally responsible behaviors. B. L. Fredrickson’s (1998, 2001) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions is used to demonstrate how cultivated positive emotions can, expand people’s awareness that they are a connected part of the Earth’s living system, increase their capacity to creatively and effectively address environmental problems, and help them recognize that well-being and environmental health go hand in hand.


positive emotion, environmentally responsible behavior, broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, self-determination theory, intrinsic motivation, self-regulation, flow, well-being



Date Posted: 10 September 2009

This document has been peer reviewed.