Today has been the third day of MAPP immersion week – another day packed with truly extraordinary experiences. Today´s lectures took place at Wharton Business School. For the morning, Martin Seligman invited a guest lecturer, Chandra Sripada, who introduced us to concept of the Default Mode Network of our brain – which basically represents the specific and recurring pattern of activation in the brain that can be seen in fMRI studies when the brain is supposed to be doing “nothing at all” (which obviously isn´t the case). Being in the default mode seems to be connected to the mental task of prospection which involves future-oriented problem-solving, creating mental simulations of the world and the minds of other people, and daydreaming (among other things). I´m pretty sure that I´ll write more about prospection in the near future (
no pun intended) – but I am still “digesting” all of that input – so this will have to do for today,
Over lunchtime, we were invited over to the Positive Psychology Center at Penn to meet, greet and eat with Seligman´s research team.
For the afternoon, Marty invited Barbara Fredrickson, the world´s foremost researcher on positive emotions and their role in human flourishing. She developed the Broaden-and-Build theory of positive emotion which basically posits that the reason why we experience positive emotions is fundamentally different from the reason for the existence of negative emotions. While negative emotions such as anxiety provoke narrow(ing), immediate survival-oriented behaviors, positive emotions are supposed to broaden our awareness and inspire novel, exploratory, and creative thoughts and/or actions. In turn, this expanded behavioral repertoire builds our skills, resources, and resilience. All of that needs some further mental digestion as well. You can find one of Barbara´s books on the reference list.
The high point of the day was an invitation from Martin Seligman and his wife Mandy for food and drinks at their house in the outskirts of Philadelphia. I feel very honored since usually, he´s more likely to associate with top-tier researchers, political and military leaders – or the Dalai Lama. Thanks for that one, Marty…