Martin E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., works on learned helplessness, on depression, on optimism and pessimism, and on positive psychology. He is currently Zellerbach Family Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania as well as Director of the Positive Psychology Center. He is well known in academic and clinical circles and is a best-selling author.
His bibliography includes more than 24 books and 250 articles on motivation and personality. Among his better-known works are Learned Optimism(Knopf, 1991), What You Can Change & What You Can’t(Knopf, 1993), The Optimistic Child (Houghton Mifflin, 1995), Learned Helplessness (Freeman, 1975, 1993) and Abnormal Psychology (Norton, 1982, 1988, 1995, with David Rosenhan). He is the recipient of two Distinguished Scientific Contribution awards from the American Psychological Association, the Laurel Award of the American Association for Applied Psychology and Prevention, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society for Research in Psychopathology. He holds an honorary Ph.D. from Uppsala, Sweden and Doctor of Humane Letters from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. Dr. Seligman received both the American Psychological Society’s William James Fellow Award (for contribution to basic science) and the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award (for the application of psychological knowledge).
His books have been translated into more than sixteen languages and have been best sellers both in America and abroad. His work has been featured on the front page of the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, the Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Parents, Fortune, Family Circle, and many other popular magazines. He has been a spokesman for the science and practice of psychology on numerous television and radio shows. He has written columns on such far-flung topics as education, violence, and therapy. He has lectured around the world to educators, industry, parents, and mental health professionals.
In 1996 Dr. Seligman was elected President of the American Psychological Association, by the largest vote in modern history. His primary aim as APA President was to join practice and science together so both might flourish, a goal that has dominated his own life as a psychologist. His major initiatives concerned the prevention of ethnopolitical warfare and the study of Positive Psychology.
Since 2000 his main mission has been the promotion of the field of Positive Psychology. This discipline includes the study of positive emotion, positive character traits, and positive institutions. As the science behind these becomes more firmly grounded, Dr. Seligman is now turning his attention to training Positive Psychologists, individuals whose practice will make the world a happier place, in a way that parallels clinical psychologists having made the world a less unhappy place.