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Christopher Peterson (psychologist)

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Christopher Peterson (February 18, 1950 – October 9, 2012)[1] was the Arthur F. Thurnau professor of psychology and organizational studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan and the former chair of the clinical psychology area. He was science director of the VIA Institute on Character, and co-author of Character Strengths and Virtues for the classification of character strengths.[2][3] He was a member of the Positive Psychology Steering Committee and the International Positive Psychology Association board of directors, a senior fellow at the Positive Psychology Center and a lecturer for the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a co-editor of Applied Psychology: Health and Well-being and the Positive Psychology Book Series Editor for Oxford University Press.[4]

He is noted for his work in the study of optimism, health, character, well-being and one of the founders of positive psychology.[5][6] He has published over 300 academic publications. In 2003 the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) named him among the 100 most frequently cited psychologists in the past 20 years.[7] In 2010, Dr. Peterson won the 2010 Golden Apple Award for Outstanding Teaching – the most prestigious teaching award at the University of Michigan.[8]

Classification of psychological disorders[edit]

Disorders of Wisdom and Knowledge[edit]

Strength Absence Opposite Exaggeration
Creativity[9] Conformity[9] Triteness[9] Eccentricity[9]
Curiosity/Interest[9] Disinterest[9] Boredom[9] Morbid curiosity/Nosiness[9]
Judgment/Critical thinking[9] Unreflectiveness[9] Gullibility[9] Cynicism[9]
Love of learning[9] Complacency[9] Orthodoxy[9] Know-it-all-ism[9]
Perspective[9] Shallowness[9] Foolishness[9] None[9]

Disorders of Courage[edit]

Strength Absence Opposite Exaggeration
Bravery[9] Fright/Chicken Little-ism[9] Cowardice[9] Foolhardiness[9]
Persistence[9] Laziness[9] Helplessness[9] Obsessiveness[9]
Authenticity/Honesty[9] Phoniness[9] Deceipt[9] Righteousness[9]
Vitality[9] Restraint[9] Lifelessness[9] Hyperactivity[9]

Disorders of Love[edit]

Strength Absence Opposite Exaggeration
Intimacy[9] Isolation/Autism[9] Loneliness/Avoidance of commitment[9] Emotional promiscuity[9]
Kindness[9] Indifference[9] Cruelty/Mean-spiritedness[9] Intrusiveness[9]
Social Intelligence[9] Obtuseness/Cluelessness[9] Self-deception[9] Psychobabble[9]

Disorders of Justice[edit]

Strength Absence Opposite Exaggeration
Citizenship[9] Selfishness[9] Narcissism[9] Chauvinism[9]
Fairness[9] Partisanship[9] Prejudice[9] Detachment[9]
Leadership[9] Compliance[9] Disruptiveness/Sabotage[9] Despotism[9]

Disorders of Temperance[edit]

Strength Absence Opposite Exaggeration
Forgiveness/Mercy[9] Mercilessness[9] Vengefulness[9] Permissiveness[9]
Humility/Modesty[9] Footless Self-esteem[9] Arrogance[9] Self-deprecation[9]
Prudence[9] Sensation seeking[9] Recklessness[9] Prudishness/Stuffiness[9]
Self-regulation[9] Self-indulgence[9] Impulsivity[9] Inhibition[9]

Disorders of Transcendence[edit]

Strength Absence Opposite Exaggeration
Appreciation of beauty/Excellence[9] Oblivion[9] Schadenfreude-ism[9] Snobbery[9]
Gratitude[9] Rugged individualism[9] Entitlement[9] Ingratiation[9]
Hope[9] Present orientation[9] Pessimism/Despair[9] Pollyannaism[9]
Humor[9] Humorlessness[9] Dourness[9] Buffoonery[9]
Spirituality[9] Anomie[9] Alienation[9] Fanaticism[9]

Bibliography includes[edit]

  • Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification, by Christopher Peterson & Martin E.P. Seligman
  • Peterson, C., & Seligman, M.E.P. (2002). The VIA classification of strengths. Cincinnati: Values in Action Institute
  • A Primer in Positive Psychology, by Christopher Peterson (Textbook). 2006
  • Peterson, C., Maier, S.F., & Seligman, M.E.P. (1993). Learned helplessness: A theory for the age of personal control. New York: Oxford.
  • Peterson, C., & Bossio, L.M. (1991). Health and optimism. New York: Free Press.
  • Peterson, Christopher; Seif, Aliakbar; Jahangiri, Hamideh (2020). Psychology The Past To Present (2 Volumes), volume 1 [10] volume 2 [11] Scholars’ Press.


  1. ^ Park, Nansook; Oates, Sarah; Schwarzer, Ralf (2013-03-04). "Obituaries: Christopher Peterson "Other People Matter": 1950–2012" (PDF). Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. 5 (1): 1–4. doi:10.1111/aphw.12007. hdl:2027.42/96673. PMID 23457083.
  2. ^ Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. New York: Oxford University Press/Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  3. ^ Tartakovsky, Margarita (2011-01-05). "Measuring Your Character Strengths". psychcentral.com. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  4. ^ Applied positive psychology: improving everyday life, health, schools, work, and society. Stewart Ian Donaldson, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Jeanne Nakamura. New York, NY: Psychology Press. 2011. ISBN 978-0-203-81890-9. OCLC 713015173.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ Peterson, Christopher (2006). A Primer in Positive Psychology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ "VIA Institute on Character". Retrieved 2008-04-12.
  7. ^ Wong, Paul T. P. The human quest for meaning: theories, research, and applications (2nd ed.). New York. ISBN 1-136-50810-4. OCLC 787851351.
  8. ^ "Psychology Prof. Christopher Peterson receives Golden Apple Award". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc cd ce cf cg ch ci cj ck cl cm cn co cp cq cr Peterson, Christopher (2006). "The Values in Action (VIA) Classification of Strengths". In Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly; Csikszentmihalyi, Isabella Selega (eds.). A Life Worth Living: Contributions of Positive Psychology. Series in Positive Psychology. Oxford University Press. p. 39. ISBN 0-19-517679-0.
  10. ^ Peterson, Christopher; Seif, Aliakbar; Jahangiri, Hamideh (2020). Psychology The Past To Present Volume I. Scholar's Press. ISBN 978-613-8-94176-7.
  11. ^ Peterson, Christopher; Seif, Aliakbar; Jahangiri, Hamideh (2020). Psychology The Past To Present Volume II. Scholar's Press. ISBN 978-613-8-94190-3.