Archive for July 9th, 2014

July 9, 2014

Broaden-and-build

positivity

The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions suggests that positive emotions such as enjoyment, happiness, and joy (and perhaps interest and anticipation) broaden one’s awareness and encourage novel, varied, and exploratory thoughts and actions. Over time, this broadened behavioral repertoire builds skills and resources.

For example, curiosity about a landscape becomes valuable navigational knowledge; pleasant interactions with a stranger become a supportive friendship; aimless physical play becomes exercise and physical excellence. This is in contrast to negative emotions, which prompt narrow, immediate survival-oriented behaviors. For example, the negative emotion of anxiety can lead to a fight-or-flight response concerned only with immediate safety.

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