Boosting Meaning in Life by visiting Golden Gate Bridge

I’m writing this while sitting in a whirlpool in Stanford Park Hotel, Palo Alto. I’m on an extended business trip to the U.S. which has taken me from Philadelphia (where I got to attend the 10 year anniversary of the MAPP program at Penn) to Boston, then New York, and now the San Francisco area.

Today is a day off and I took the time to do some classic SF sightseeing – since this is my first time ever on the West Coast: I visited the Twin Peaks, Fishermen’s Wharf, and Lombard Street. But first and foremost, I was eager to see the Golden Gate Bridge.

Nico Rose - Golden Gate

Ever since doing that, I have a warm feeling in my heart and my guts – and after looking at some research, I’m pretty sure I know why this is the case.

Growing up in Germany in the early 80s, I used to watch all those classic TV series like “Hart to Hart”, “The Fall Guy”, or “The A-Team”. Ever since, just being in the U.S., walking around and looking at the skyscrapers, yellow cabs, and the ambulances just is a cool thing to do for me (as it probably is for most Germans).

But at the end of the day, I guess there is no other sight that is able to carry the same quality of “longing to be in the USA” as Golden Gate – probably, because it is also the longest way to go from my home. For me, it’s a classic case of reveling in nostalgia, it conveys a sense of excitement, insouciance, and spending time with my beloved grandparents (who all have passed away long ago).

As stated before, I found a piece of research that is able to show reveling in nostalgia may be a viable pathway for boosting the presence of meaning in life. Here is what the researchers have to say:

The present research tested the proposition that nostalgia serves an existential function by bolstering a sense of meaning in life. Study 1 found that nostalgia was positively associated with a sense of meaning in life. Study 2 experimentally demonstrated that nostalgia increases a sense of meaning in life. In both studies, the link between nostalgia and increased meaning in life was mediated by feelings of social connectedness.

So thank you Empire State Building, thank you yellow cabs, thank you Golden Gate Bridge, for bringing back colt Colt Seavers, Hannibal Smith – and first and foremost, grandma and grandpa! Love you…

Positive Psychology and Me: Confessions of a Science Fanboy

So on most other days, I´m trying to write super-smart and meaningful stuff here, educating people about the science of Positive Psychology. This is not one these posts. The purpose of this one really is to show off. There, I said it…

I´m just beyond grateful for having had the chance to attend this year´s MAPP Summit which, at the same time, was a 10 years anniversary celebration for this special program at University of Pennsylvania. As usual, the rooms were packed with beautiful people from all walks of life who share the passion for all things Positive Psychology – and top-notch researchers in the field of Positive Psychology and adjacent.

For some folks, it´s a big thing to get a selfie with, let´s say, Beyoncé. But I´m a professing “Science Fanboy” – so the rest of the article is just a bunch of photos along the lines of “me with some super-smart/super-important person”. It´s the visual equivalent of a blog post I wrote last year when I graduated from the program: Positive Psychology and MAPP at Penn: Doing that Namedropping Thing. So if you are crazy about Positive Psychology and you feel a bit jealous after seeing this, it´s because you probably should be… 😉

Nico Rose - Martin Seligman

Seligman Selfie No. 1

Nico_Rose_Barry_Schwartz

Prof. Barry Schwartz of Swarthmore, author of “The Paradox of Choice” (among many other books)

Edward Deci and Nico Rose

Prof. Edward Deci of Rocester, Co-Founder of Self-Determination Theory

Nico Rose - MAPPsters

Sharing a laugh with past and future MAPPsters

Nico Rose - Martin Seligman

Seligman Selfie No. 2

Nico Rose - Angela Duckworth - Adam Grant

Two very brilliant and kind people: Angela Duckworth (who´s most notable for her research on Grit, and Adam Grant, author of “Give & Take”. By the way, both will have new books out in 2016.

I had to leave a bit early, therefore I didn´t get the chance to take a photo with Kelly McGonigal who also presented at the MAPP Summit – but I guess there will be a time for that in the future…

Learning about Self-Determination Theory from its Co-Founder, Edward Deci

Edward Deci and Nico RoseIf you´ve visited Mappalicious in the past, you´ll have noticed that I´m a big fan of Self-Determination Theory that was developed by Edward Deci and Richard Ryan. It shares a lot of common ground with several areas of Positive Psychology but has developed as a stand-alone body of research since the early 1980s.

Being so enthusiastic about the topic, I was absolutely thrilled to learn that Edward Deci would be a presenter at this year´s Penn MAPP Summit. Dr. Deci was so kind to take a photo with me. I´ve twittered all throughout his lecture – so here´s a sort of best-of Self-Determination Theory in Deci´s own words and charts. Enjoy!

A Celebration in 12 Tweets: 10 Years of Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) at Penn

What a wonderful day! I haven´t been to Philadelphia ever since my graduation from Penn in August 2014. But now I´m back. This weekend, Martin Seligman´s Positive Psychology Center hosts the annual MAPP Summit. On this occasion, the current MAPP cohort gets to meet their predecessors. How? It´s a top-notch Positive Psychology conference combined with an alumni meeting of the previous MAPP cohorts.

The alumni gathering, the so-called MAPP Fete, had a special reason to celebrate. 2015 marks the year of the 10th anniversary of the MAPP program at Penn (and cohort 11 is well on it´s way). While Martin Seligman himself addressed us during the lunch hour, the greater part of the day was reserved for “Ignite Presentations”, 5-minute “Pecha Kucha”-style talks given by 17 of our distinguished alumni. Several of us tweeted using the hash tag #10YearsofMAPP. Here´s my little Twitter round-up of that beautiful day:

Recent Nobel Laureate Angus Deaton talks about Happiness [Video]

Yesterday, I wrote a post introducing the fact that recent Nobel Laureate in economics, Angus Deaton, has also accumulated a considerable body of research in the area of subjective wellbeing. If you´d like to have him explain his research to you in person – here you go:

Angus Deaton, the Nobel Prize, and Positive Psychology

Angus DeatonYesterday, the 2015 Nobel Prize for economics was awarded to British-American researcher Angus Deaton. While he received that honor for “for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare” – Deaton also conducted a lot of research (mostly later in his career) that is heavily related to Positive Psychology.

By way of example, he was involved in research on the relationship of:

Congratulations!