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:

Master of Applied Positive Psychology at Penn: This is what you´ll get

In my LinkedIn Profile, I call myself a Penn MAPPster ever since getting the OK on my final assignment, the so-called Capstone Project in August 2014 – but my official certificate took about a year to cross the Atlantic Ocean. This is what it looks like:

Penn MAPP - Nico Rose

If you are thinking about obtaining a degree in Positive Psychology, here you can find a great list of educational opportunities for different wallets, time frames, and levels of aspiration. I can only tell you about the MAPP program at Penn. I think these 10 articles best sum up my deep dive into Positive Psychology in Philadelphia. Enjoy! 

  1. Pennsylvania, here I come
  2. Another Day in Positive Psychology Paradise
  3. Welcome to Hogwarts
  4. 2051: Positive Psychology, Optimism, and the Florentine Moment in Time
  5. Positive Psychology and MAPP at Penn: Doing that Namedropping Thing
  6. My Year in MAPP: A 5-Step Course in the fine Art of Being Un-German
  7. Godspeed to MAPP 9! I Love Myself so Much More Because of You
  8. How to rock your Ivy League Master in Positive Psychology: a 10-Point Action Plan
  9. “All in on Love” and other beautiful Stories
  10. Positive Psychology has Changed the Way I Live, Lead, and Love

Positive Psychology has Changed the Way I Live, Lead, and Love

Martin Seligman & Nico RoseFacebook has been gentle enough to remind of the fact that my graduation from Penn took place a year ago. If you´d like to know what were my take-aways right at the end of the MAPP program, please read this post: My Mind´s MAP(P).

Looking back with a bit of temporal, spatial, and mental distance, I am able to say that this experience has changed my life in basically all of its important facets. I am not going to tell that I am a “totally different person” or something like that – because it´s not true. But my deep-dive into Positive Psychology has transformed – to some extent – the way I live, lead and love on a very tangible level. I just do some things differently by being more open.

I hope to continue on this path of increasing openness – and I hope I can continue sharing my experience and knowledge with you… 
Penn Graduation 2014  

Can Twitter kill you? Probably not – but you should monitor what you tweet over time

Twitter Heart StudyThere are lots of anecdotes that portray how a careless social media post has destroyed a reputation, a career, or a romantic relationship. But can tweeting actually kill you?

Probably not. But your Twitter account may at least have a say on your risk for developing heart disease. In a study published in the renowned journal “Psychological Science”, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (among them MAPP alum Johannes Eichstaedt, MAPP lecturer Peggy Kern, and Martin Seligman himself) have shown that Twitter can serve as a dashboard indicator of a community’s psychological well-being and can predict rates of heart disease.

They found that frequent expressions of negative emotions such as anger, stress and fatigue in a county’s tweets were associated with higher heart disease risk. On the other hand, positive emotions like excitement and optimism were associated with lower risk. Having seen correlations between language and emotional states in previous study using Facebook posts, the researchers now examined if they could detect connections between those emotional states and physical outcomes rooted in them.

Drawing on a set of public tweets made between 2009 and 2010, they used established emotional dictionaries to analyze a random sample of tweets from individuals who had made their locations available. There were enough tweets and health data from about 1,300 counties, which contain 88 percent of the USA´s  population.

Eichstaedt et al. found that negative emotional language and topics, such as words like “hate” remained strongly correlated with heart disease mortality, even after variables like income and education were taken into account. Positive emotional language showed the opposite correlation, suggesting that optimism and positive experiences, words like “wonderful” or “friends,” may be protective against heart disease. In the future, this data could be used to marshal evidence of the effectiveness of public-health interventions on the community level, or serve as valuable input in the process of planning locations for new medical facilities.

While the study does not make any claims about the heart disease risk of individuals, I still suggest monitoring your Twitter timeline from time to time for prophylactic reasons. E.g., you can use the website www.tweetstats.com to obtain a free and easy overview of your tweeting behavior, for instance, a word cloud displaying your most frequently used words and hash tags.

 

This post kindly uses some passages from the Penn News service.

“All in on Love” and other beautiful Stories…

I guess I´m suffering from MAPP deprivation. The Penn graduation ceremony seems like a long time ago – even though it´s only been three months since then. And now that I´ve handed in my master thesis I´m free to do whatever I want. But the truth is: I miss my stays in Philadelphia. And I miss my MAPP classmates.

Time to engage in some reminiscence. Below, you´ll find a collage from graduation weekend (click to enlarge; from left to right and clockwise: Martin Seligman, co-founder of Positive Psychology and me; standing out from the crowd; James Pawelski, academic director of the MAPP program at Penn, and me; a view of Penn´s stadium during commencement; commencement brochure etc.; reuniting with Linda Matesevac, my psychology teacher from 19 years ago; the “Walk of Honor” on Penn´s Locust Walk; middle: me and some MAPP cohort members).

Nico Rose - MAPP - Penn Graduation

And you should definitely check out Penn President Amy Gutman´s salutation – and the fabulous commencement speech given by Penn alumnus and Soul & R´n´B star John Legend (“All in on Love”; here´s the full text). Enjoy!

The MAPP Capstone Folder at Penn´s Scholarly Commons Directory: Cutting-Edge Positive Psychology Knowledge for free

It´s almost over. What started out as a dream about 11 months ago, is now reality. I´m about one mouse-click away from becoming a full-blown Mappster. Mid-May, I had finished all my regular course requirements – and celebrated that intensely. By now, I`ve finished writing my so-called capstone project, an paper that can take on the form of a typical research paper, a book proposal, or even an outline for training concept etc. – as long as it´s backed by scientific research. I´ve decided to write a theoretical paper on the concept of self-permission which will be available online very soon. Over the last two hours, I´ve turned that paper into a conference poster and will send that over to Philly once I´m done with writing this post. When that is approved, I´m officially Dr. rer. pol. Dipl.-Psych. Nico Rose, MAPP. 🙂

By the way, if you are interested in novel ways of applying Positive Psychology to different domains of the “real life” (and also some cutting-edge research), you should definitely check out the MAPP folder of Penn´s Scholarly Commons directory. There, you´ll find +30 MAPP capstones from previous years – and it´ll grow as my fellow classmates and future Mappsters will upload their work over the upcoming weeks and years. My paper by the name of “Introducing Self-Permission: Theoretical Framework and Proposed Assessment” is already uploaded and will be available for download within the next days. Enjoy!

Penn - MAPP - Capstone Projects

How to rock your Ivy League Master in Positive Psychology: a 10-Point Action Plan

Penn LPS GraduationAfter each on-campus period of the MAPP 2013/14 program, we were asked to write a journal entry, mostly in order to reflect on important insights from the days before. After the final onsite in May, we were also asked to come up with a list of “eureka moments“, tiny bits of knowledge we would like to pass on to future Mappsters so as to help them to make the best of their experience at Penn.

So here´s my list. Please keep in mind that this is my list. The list of a German trying to balance a full-time management job, several sidelines, plus having a family, with successfully making it through a wonderful but very demanding master´s program that entails regular intercontinental flights. So the list of my beautiful classmates could look entirely different. But I would expect some overlap at least…

 

*That´s (typically, but not necessarily…) a person of the opposite sex you love almost as much as your actual significant other. Just without the sex thing.

** That´s a sophisticated term for “Why should I really read ‘The Death of Ivan Ilych’ when there´s several superb executive summaries on the www?

*** I mean really good ones. German, Suisse, or Belgium brands. Hershey´s fine – but it´s not the real deal.

2014 Penn MAPP Graduates

The No. 1 Secret to Standing Out from the Crowd at an Ivy League School…

Climb* on a chair! 🙂

Outstanding Pomp and Circumstance

Just came home from a fabulous Penn (MAPP) graduation and commencement weekend. Will post lots more on that shortly…

* A big thank you to my classmate Brandy Reece and her husband for the awesome photo. In that moment, I climbed on my chair to give a special shout-out to our program director James Pawelski who was passing by.

Thank a Teacher: Somebody influenced your Life? Let ´em know…

Has there been a special teacher, professor, or mentor that you would like to thank for positively influencing your life? If you´re still looking for the right moment – it might be here right now. Six seniors from Olin College, MA have created the website www.thank-a-teacher.org which lets you express your appreciation in public. The site has really taken off over the last days thanks to exposure on social media.

So below, you will find my thank-you-note to Linda Matesevac, who was my psychology teacher from 1994-95 when I was an exchange student at York Country Day School, Pennsylvania.

Nico Rose - York Country Day School

In Germany, psychology is not taught at high-schools. Entering my junior year, I had already (sort of) made up my mind to make it to law school. That changed dramatically over the year. Thanks to Linda, from 1998 on, I majored in psychology at the University of Muenster, Germany. 15 years later, I became part of the 9. cohort of the Master of Positive Psychology program at Penn. I am writing this on the morning of my graduation ceremony. Linda is going to be there – so we´ll meet for the first time in 19 years… 🙂

Thank a Teacher

Positive Psychology and MAPP at Penn: Doing that Namedropping Thing

Actually, I should be busy writing on my MAPP final papers right now. But then, taking short breaks is supposed to help your mind stay fresh, right?

By now, a lot of people that have read my blog also contacted me to ask about my MAPP experience. Obviously, it´s not that easy to tell a story of 10 months in a few sentences. Hey, that´s why I started this blog in the first place…* There´s also been some questions about the tuition – and to be honest, it´s not exactly a bargain. I could have not taken part without some generous support from my employer (or rather: my boss). But hey – Penn belongs to the Ivy League and that comes with a price tag.

If you´d like to know why I am convinced that it was worth each and every penny (and much more…), please read my blog front to back. Otherwise, you might be convinced by the sheer (work-)force of people that you’ll  have the pleasure and honor to learn from. So here is the name-dropping list. Please note that the guest lecturers and assistant instructors will vary from year to year (C = core faculty; G = guest lecturer; A = assistant instructor that has taught part of a class at some point):

That´s value for money…

*And to become super-duper famous, of course…