Positive Psychology — Even Gloomy People Can Be Contented
Ken M. Sheldon is Academic Supervisor at the HSE International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation. He talked to HSE English News about his collaboration with HSE and about working in an international environment.
— You are a professional on motivation. So, what were your motives in joining HSE last year?
— I would be dishonest if I didn’t say that the money was part of the attraction! But I am glad to say that it has been a real pleasure getting to know the researchers at the lab, and that I am very happy with the progress of our many different projects. I suspected this would occur, which was my main motivation: to develop interesting new research questions, and answer them.
— How would you describe the current project you're working on?
— We are currently writing up a lot of data that we collected last year, at multiple locations in Russia and the U.S. We completed and submitted one paper on freedom and responsibility, and will soon be completing and submitting three other papers.
— How is it going in terms of working in international environment, in multicultural office?
— Very well. My main complaint concerns the devaluation of the Rouble! We have had a few communication difficulties in the lab, but not many, and nothing serious.
— You've been interested in factors which help people to be sustainably happy for quite a long time. What is your background? Could you be a psychoanalyst now after all these years in scientific research?
— This is a question we are not addressing directly in our Russian projects, although it is in the background. We have some relevant data so maybe we will get to that. No, I could not be a psychoanalyst, that takes years of specialized training, and is not a research kind of job.
— What are your professional plans and goals for 2015-2016?
— Keep doing what we’re doing! I will spend more time in Moscow next summer, where we will further develop our articles together.
— Have you worked out your own secret for happiness? What would you recommend to achieve a positive attitude to life?
— It is trite: Do what you love, and this will keep the positive experiences coming in, that are required to maintain us in the upper half of our potential “set range” for happiness. Even a gloomy person (by temperament) can at least be contented, if he or she can do this.
Anna Chernyakhovskaya, specially for HSE News service
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