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Dr Martin EP Seligman's Authentic Happiness Test

Happiness is the objective of human life. All branches of study have ultimately aimed at making the world a happier place. Religion says that eternal happiness is found in God and psychology says that happiness is a state of mind. Happiness is different from excitement which is momentary and leaves a person devoid of energy after the phase has passed. Happiness is, on the other hand, something far more subtle and difficult to understand. The centuries following Newton have been relying on experimental evidence for any field of study. Happiness too has come to that point now. Dr. Martin EP Seligman is the founder and director of Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. This new branch focuses on the empirical study of emotions like happiness and positive emotions. Dr. Martin’s research proves that one can be happy no matter what one’s circumstances are.

There are a number of tests that intend to help one attain authentic happiness. Some of the most prominent tests are VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire, Authentic Happiness Inventory Questionnaire, CES-D questionnaire, Fordyce Emotions Questionnaire, General Happiness Questionnaire, and PANAS (positive and negative affect schedule) questionnaire.

VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire is based on the concept that there are 24 signature strengths in a person. They are classified into the following categories, wisdom, courage, humanity and love, temperance, and transcendence. Wisdom is comprised of curiosity, love of learning, ingenuity, judgment, perspective, and social intelligence. Courage consists of valor, integrity, and perseverance. Humanity and love are formed of kindness, justice, fairness, leadership, and love. Self-control, humility, and prudence form temperance. Gratitude, spirituality, hope, forgiveness, zest, playfulness, and appreciation of beauty are the features of transcendence. This questionnaire is comprised of 240 questions.

A sample of the questions is:
• I find the world a very interesting place.
Very Much Like Me
Like Me
Unlike Me
Very Much Unlike Me

These questions help a person reflect on oneself and enter into a state of self-contemplation. Hence they lead to a greater self-understanding. A similar test is designed for children also. Authentic happiness Inventory Questionnaire comprises of 70 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. It is used to measure the overall happiness of a person. These questions are more self-reflexive than in the VIA questionnaire. The CES-D questionnaire is used to measure the symptoms of depression and Fordyce emotions questionnaire measure the level of current happiness. General happiness questionnaire is used to assess enduring happiness. The PANAS is a 20-item questionnaire that assesses the "emotional style" a person uses to cope with life/world events.

In a sample test a person scored 2.79 in a scale of 1.00 to 5.00, where 1 is unhappiness and 5 is happiness. The comparison of the result with that of other test takers would be that this person has scored as high as or higher than 36% of all web users, 35% of the particular gender, 37% of that age group, 36% of the occupation group, 28% of that level of education and 44% of that zip code. The problem with a test result such as this is that it does not give the person any clue about what he/she can do about increasing the happiness level. Also, comparison with other takers of the test can do little to improve one’s own state of affairs. These tests are good tools to aid in the process of self-improvement but they cannot be used by themselves.

Comments Listing
Posted: 31/01/2012 03:01:46

looking forward to finding out my signature strenghts

Posted: 21/08/2011 02:21:34

why can't this be blank?

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