August 12, 1942 |
Albany, New York
|Education||Ph.D. in psychology at University of Pennsylvania|
|Alma mater||Princeton University|
|Known for||positive psychology
Martin E. P. "Marty" Seligman (born August 12, 1942) is an American psychologist, educator, and author of self-help books. His theory of learned helplessness is popular among scientific and clinical psychologists.
Seligman is the Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Psychology. He was previously the Director of the Clinical Training Program in the department. He is the director of the university's Positive Psychology Center. Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association for 1998. He is the founding editor-in-chief of Prevention and Treatment Magazine (the APA electronic journal) and is on the board of advisers of Parents magazine.
Seligman has written about positive psychology topics such as The Optimistic Child, Child's Play, Learned Optimism, Authentic Happiness, and Flourish.
Early life and education
Seligman was born in Albany, New York. He was educated at a public school and at The Albany Academy. He earned a bachelors degree in philosophy at Princeton University in 1964, graduating Summa Cum Laude. During his senior year, Seligman had to choose between three offers from various universities. They included a scholarship to study analytic philosophy at Oxford University, animal experimental psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and finally an offer to join Penn's bridge team. Seligman chose to attend the University of Pennsylvania to study psychology. He earned his Ph.D. in psychology at University of Pennsylvania in 1967.
Seligman's foundational experiments and theory of "learned helplessness" began at University of Pennsylvania in 1967, as an extension of his interest in depression. Quite by accident, Seligman and colleagues discovered that the conditioning of dogs led to outcomes that were opposite to the predictions of B.F. Skinner's behaviorism, then a leading psychological theory. Seligman's learned helpnessness experiments have been criticized for their deliberate mistreatment of animals, specifically for inflicting electrical shocks upon dogs at random intervals, until the dogs reached a helpless state in which they did not escape the shocks even when given the opportunity to do so.  It has been asserted that under current ethical standards for humane treatment of animals, Seligman's learned helpnessness experiments could not be performed today. 
Seligman developed the theory further, finding learned helplessness to be a psychological condition in which a human being or an animal has learned to act or behave helplessly in a particular situation — usually after experiencing some inability to avoid an adverse situation — even when it actually has the power to change its unpleasant or even harmful circumstance. Seligman saw a similarity with severely depressed patients, and argued that clinical depression and related mental illnesses result in part from a perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation. In later years, alongside Abramson, Seligman reformulated his theory of learned helplessness to include attributional style.
According to author Jane Mayer, Seligman gave a talk at the Navy SERE school in San Diego in 2002, which he said was a three-hour talk on helping US soldiers to resist torture, based on his understanding of learned helplessness.
Seligman worked with Christopher Peterson to create what they describe as a 'positive' counterpart to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). While the DSM focuses on what can go wrong, Character Strengths and Virtues is designed to look at what can go right. In their research they looked across cultures and across millennia to attempt to distill a manageable list of virtues that have been highly valued from ancient China and India, through Greece and Rome, to contemporary Western cultures. Their list includes six character strengths: wisdom/knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Each of these has three to five sub-entries; for instance, temperance includes forgiveness, humility, prudence, and self-regulation. The authors do not believe that there is a hierarchy for the six virtues; no one is more fundamental than or a precursor to the others.
In July 2011, Seligman encouraged David Cameron to look into well-being as well as financial wealth in ways of assessing the prosperity of a nation. On July 6, 2011, he[who?] appeared on Newsnight and was interviewed by Jeremy Paxman about his ideas and his interest in the concept of well-being.
- Positive emotion — tunable by writing down, every day at bed time, three things that went well, and why
- Engagement — tunable by preferentially using one's highest strengths to perform the tasks which one would perform anyway
- Relationships — tunable, but not in a way that can be explained briefly; listen to timestamp 15:12 and following of the audio
- Meaning — belonging to and serving something bigger than one's self
- Achievement — determination is known to count for more than IQ
The Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania was established under the leadership of Seligman as the first educational initiative of the Positive Psychology Center in 2003.
He has seven children, four grandchildren, and three dogs. Seligman and his second wife, Mandy, live in a three-story mansion once occupied by Eugene Ormandy. They home-school three of their five children.
- — (1975). Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-0752-7. (Paperback reprint edition, W.H. Freeman, 1992, ISBN 0-7167-2328-X)
- — (1991). Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-671-01911-2. (Paperback reprint edition, Penguin Books, 1998; reissue edition, Free Press, 1998)
- — (1993). What You Can Change and What You Can't: The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement. New York: Knopf. ISBN 0-679-41024-4. (Paperback reprint edition, Ballantine Books, 1995, ISBN 0-449-90971-9
- — (1996). The Optimistic Child: Proven Program to Safeguard Children from Depression & Build Lifelong Resilience. New York: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0091831199. (Paperback edition, Harper Paperbacks, 1996, ISBN 0-06-097709-4
- — (2002). Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment. New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-2297-0. (Paperback edition, Free Press, 2004, ISBN 0-7432-2298-9)
- — (Spring 2004). "Can Happiness be Taught?". Daedalus 133 (2): 80–87. doi:10.1162/001152604323049424.
- Peterson, Christopher; Seligman, Martin E.P. (2004). Character Strengths and Virtues. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195167015.
- — (2011). Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being. New York: Free Press. ISBN 978-1-4391-9075-3.
- Bower, Gordon H. (1981). The psychology of learning and motivation: advances in research and theory. Academic Press, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. p. 30. ISBN 9780125433150. "The most popular theoretical interpretation of the learned helplessness phenomenon to date is that of Seligman (1975) and Maier and Seligman (1976)."
- Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania.
- List of APA Presidents
- Seligman, M.E.P.; Maier, S.F. (1967). "Failure to escape traumatic shock". Journal of Experimental Psychology 74 (1): 1–9. doi:10.1037/h0024514. PMID 6032570.; Overmier, J.B.; Seligman, M.E.P. (1967). "Effects of inescapable shock upon subsequent escape and avoidance responding". Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology 63 (1): 28–33. doi:10.1037/h0024166. PMID 6029715.
- Bekoff, Marc (5 January 2012). "Drowning Rats and Human Depression: Positive Psychology for Whom?". Psychology Today.
- Danko, Meredith (20 September 2013). "10 Famous Psychological Experiments That Could Never Happen Today". mental_floss.
- Seligman, M.E.P. (1975). Helplessness: On Depression, Development, and Death. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-2328-X.
- Abramson, L.Y.; Seligman, M.E.P.; Teasdale, JD (1978). "Learned helplessness in humans: Critique and reformulation". Journal of Abnormal Psychology 87 (1): 49–74. doi:10.1037/0021-843X.87.1.49. PMID 649856.
- Horton, Scott (14 July 2008). "Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of The Dark Side". Harper's Magazine. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
Seligman said his talk was focused on how to help U.S. soldiers resist torture — not on how to breakdown resistance in detainees. ... Mitchell has denied that these theories guided his and the CIA's use
- Linley, P.A.; Maltby, J.; Wood, A.M.; Joseph, S.; Harrington, S.; Peterson, C.; Park, N.; Seligman, M.E.P. (2007). "Character strengths in the United Kingdom: The VIA Inventory of strengths" (PDF). Personality and Individual Differences 43 (2): 341–351. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2006.12.004.
- Seligman, Martin E.P. (6 July 2011). "Flourish". Royal Society of Arts. audio, video
- "MAPP program". University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
- Francis, Henry G., Editor-in-Chief; Truscott, Alan F., Executive Editor; Francis, Dorthy A., Editor, Sixth Edition (2001). The Official Encyclopedia of Bridge (6th ed.). Memphis, TN: American Contract Bridge League. p. 732. ISBN 0-943855-44-6. OCLC 49606900.
- Burling, Stacey (30 May 2010). "The power of a positive thinker". philly.com. The Inquirer - Interstate General Media. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
- Hirtz, Rob (January 1999). "Martin Seligman's Journey: from Learned Helplessness to Learned Happiness". The Pennsylvania Gazette. The University of Pennsylvania.
- Authentic Happiness, Seligman's homepage at University of Pennsylvania
- "Eudaemonia, the Good Life: A Talk with Martin Seligman", an article wherein Seligman speaks extensively on the topic of eudaemonia
- "The Positive Psychology Center", a website devoted to positive psychology. Martin Seligman is director of the Positive Psychology Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
- Program description for Master of Applied Positive Psychology degree established by Seligman
- Martin E. P. Seligman's curriculum vitae at the University of Pennsylvania
- TED Talk: Why is psychology good?
- University of Pennsylvania's page on MAPP program