Martin E. P. Seligman is the director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Martin Seligman was the 13th most frequently cited psychologist in introductory psychology textbooks throughout the 20th century (source: Haggbloom et al.). In this Ted event, Martin Seligman talks about psychology. As it moves beyond a focus on disease, what can modern psychology help us to become?

From his presentation:” When I was president of the American Psychological Association they tried to media-train me, and an encounter I had with CNN summarizes what I’m going to be talking about today, which is the “11th reason to be optimistic.” The editor of Discover told us 10 of them, I’m going to give you the 11th.

So they came to me, CNN, and they said, “Professor Seligman, would you tell us about the state of psychology today? We’d like to interview you about that.” And I said, “Great.” And she said, “But this is CNN, so you only get a sound bite.” So I said, “Well, how many words do I get?” And she said, “Well, one.”


And cameras rolled, and she said, “Professor Seligman, what is the state of psychology today?” “Good.”


“Cut. Cut. That won’t do. We’d really better give you a longer sound bite.” “Well, how many words do I get this time?” “I think, well, you get two. Doctor Seligman, what is the state of psychology today?” “Not good.”


“Look, Doctor Seligman, we can see you’re really not comfortable in this medium. We’d better give you a real sound bite. This time you can have three words. Professor Seligman, what is the state of psychology today?” “Not good enough.”

And that’s what Martin Seligman talks about here.

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2 Comments for this entry

  • arsalan haider says:

    dear sir, i m a student of psychology and now studying of positive psychology and having difficulty so ned of help

  • Frank says:

    Dear Arsalan, thanks for your message. May you please articulate in more details about what you need help for? Thanks,


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