Positive Psychology aims to understand and build the emotions, and the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. Positive Psychology has three central concerns: positive experiences, positive individual traits, and positive institutions. Understanding positive emotions consists in the study of contentment with the past, pleasure in the present, and hope for the future. Understanding positive individual traits consists in the study of the strengths and virtues: the capacity to love, valor, altruism, grit, creativity, curiosity, integrity, moderation, self-control, spirituality and humor. Understanding positive institutions consists in the study of the strong families, communities, corporations and the virtues that nourish them such as justice, responsibility, civility, work ethic, leadership, teamwork, purpose, and tolerance.
A number of faculty with research interests in positive psychology are affiliated with the Positive Psychology Center (PPC), which is directed by Martin E.P. Seligman. Major research initiatives at the PPC include the creation and validation of positive interventions, the fostering of high talent, the creation of national well being accounts, and the teaching of optimism as a means of preventing depression. Other faculty with interests in positive psychology are listed below.