Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Capstone Projects


Jer CliftonFollow

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Working Paper

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Beliefs matter. This paper examines the “biggest” of all possible beliefs, universal assessments (UAs), which consist of our “take” on the whole universe. UAs are a subset of worldview, which is in turn a subset of schema. After discussing the development of Weltanschauung in continental philosophy and the capacity of schemas to generate expectancy, three previously researched UAs are identified (universal benevolence or safety, universal meaningfulness, and belief in a just world). All have been shown to influence life outcomes, but three is only a beginning. Moreover, the focus of research thus far has been on alleviating the ‘miserable life,’ so we do not yet know which UAs lead to the ‘good life.’ A speculative analysis is conducted which identifies thirteen UA continuum opposite pairs that might influence the ‘good life,’ defined here as the development of strengths and positive emotions. The thirteen pairs include is the universe good/bad, beautiful/ugly, malleable/unchangeable, improving/declining, safe/dangerous, just/unjust, comprehensible/incomprehensible, subject-centric/not subject-centric, and intentional/mindless, as well as should it be accepted/changed, explored/avoided, and experienced with others/alone? This list, though only preliminary and based on the intuitions of the author, can be a point of departure for what comes next. A call is made for a coordinated and systematic UA classification program that would catalyze future research.


universal assessments, assumptive world, positive psychology, the good life, the universe, beliefs, worldview, Weltanschauung, schema

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Date Posted: 21 August 2013