Welcome to an introductory course in Positive Psychology. I'm going to tell the past, the present, and the future of Positive Psychology. And I'm going to do it through my own eyes, since I played a role in its creation. So, I'm going to tell it to you as it happened to me. I did not start out as a Positive Psychologist at all. In fact, quite the opposite. Let me try to paint the picture of what psychology looked like when I entered it in 1964. It was a battle between two warring factions. On the one hand psychoanalysis, on the other hand behaviourism. And in spite of the vast differences between these two schools, they had a great deal in common. Shared premises. The first was that what psychology was about was misery, and conflict. And what good psychology would do, would be to reduce misery, and to reduce conflict. First, that was their first premise. And both views held it. Secondly, they are both highly deterministic. They both believed that your past history, particularly your childhood, determined your future. Highly deterministic views. The third premise that they shared was that consciousness. What went through your head was really not of much interest. In the case of behaviorism, it didn't exist. In the case of psychoanalysis, what drove what goes through your head was the roiling emotions underneath. Cognition was the foam on the wave of the emotional life. So there was no reason to take cognition or consciousness seriously. And importantly, for both psychoanalysis and behaviourism, there was no such thing as virtue. No such thing as a good life. No such thing as happiness. No such thing as a future. The future was merely determined by the past. With the domination of psychoanalysis and behaviourism in the 1960s, and their shared premises, there were blind spots. Major blindspots. Issues that psychology couldn't touch. Issues that if you raised them, people looked at you as if you were from a different planet. And here's what the blind spots were for psychology 50 years ago. The first was the notion of well being, the notion of happiness, the notion that there could be a life above zero made no sense at all. Questions were about how to reduce misery, not how to get above zero. Question didn't make any sense. The second great blind spot was notions like how do people choose? How do people make decisions? How do people have preferences? Do human beings have freewill? Made no sense at all within psychoanalysis or within behaviourism. Third, consciousness was excluded. There was no psychology of thought. What went through your head, and what its effects were. And fourth, notions of human virtue of having good character, of looking forward into the future made no sense at all. What happened over the next 50 years in psychology, was psychology rejected the basic premises of psychoanalysis, and of behaviorism and opened up to these four questions. Questions of happiness, of freewill, of consciousness, of virtue. And that's what this course will be about. The literature is unanimous on this. Bad is stronger than good. If you match bad and good together, human beings and animals run to do something about what's bad. If you have a severe toothache, that simply overrides any good conversation. Overrides almost everything. There's a crying baby in the next room, you can't make love. The squeaky wheel gets the oil all the time. In the laboratory, if you come to my laboratory and I give you 10 cognitive problems, and you get nine right, and you get one wrong, what do you remember? You remember the one you got wrong. What's going on here? Why? Well, for one thing, we are bad weather animals. The most recent geological epoch that we lived through, the Pleistocene was the Ice Ages. Famine, flood, ice, drought, more ice. Now, imagine a primate mentality that thought, "what a lovely day today out there? I bet tomorrow is going to be really lovely as well." That mentality got crushed by the ice. The mentality that survived the brains that you have, are bad weather brains. They're brains that say "looks like a nice day out there, but tomorrow the ice is coming." And those are the brains you have. And that is the way indeed you process, automatically, information about a good world. Depression, anger, paranoia have served us very well. In the Ice Ages, it was a very good idea to think that bad stuff was coming. But consider the possibility that human progress actually exists. Bulky as it is, and that prosperity, a good world, living well, not having a tragedy every day is a normal form of life. If you have the Ice Age mentality, you are incapable of enjoying the prosperity that you have worked so hard to have. So, if you actually live in a more benign world, and you want to enjoy the world you live in, you have to break the hammerlock of the negative. What needs teaching, what needs a course, what needs education, what needs nurturance, support, and justification is not pessimism, but an optimistic view of the world. And that is the view I hope to convey over the next few hours.