Class Notes 04/27

In today’s class we spoke about very important and new topics about the Self-help genre

  • Context of large influences that impact the self help movement
  • Ways in which the self-help genre is embedded in cultural and educational movements.
  • Key terms within self help

Our research project is coming up and Professor Belli spoke about the broader sense of the terrain that’s possible within our research project.

When choosing a topic we should

  • Choose a topic we are personally interested in
  • Research additional information on this topic
  • Try to Narrow down your topic to a small slice and really go in depth

Professor Belli will help us through the research project as well as aid us in refining our topics.

New topics within self-help that may spark and interest for our research projects

Ethics of Self-Help

The Guardian

Self-Help and the Medical/Health Industry


Positive Psychology


APA: American Psychological Association

Martin Seligman the president of the APA since 1999 and the father of positive psychology.

Positive psychology is the scientific study of what makes life most worth living. It studies “positive subjective experience, positive individual traits, and positive institutions … it aims to improve quality of life.” Positive psychology focuses on both individual and societal well-being.

Positive Psychologist choose to focus on strengths rather than remediation.

Remediation is the act of remedying or correcting something that has been corrupted or that is deficient.

GMP: Gross National Product

GDP: Gross Domestic Product (measures both positive and negative product factors)

GHP: Measures well being and happiness.

The country of Bhutan, a Buddhist kingdom on the Himalayas’ eastern edge, is known for its monasteries, fortresses (or dzongs) and dramatic landscapes that range from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys. Bhutan has adopted a policy of GHP since 1974.

Positive Psychology and Self Help have a tense relationship. Positive psychologist like the distance themselves from being associated with the self help genre. Positive psychologist advertise that they have a strengths based approach. They believe they are separate from the self help genre because they are backed up by science.

Sites to find what your strengths are:

Books on Positive Psychology

Grit: In psychology, grit is a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s perseverance of effort combined with the passion for a particular long-term goal or end state.

Perseverance: persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Resilience: the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.

The Quantified Self Movement

Quantification: the expression or measurement of the quantity of something.

Quantitative: relating to, measuring, or measured by the quantity of something rather than its quality.

Qualitative: relating to, measuring, or measured by the quality of something rather than its quantity.

Social sciences tend to focus on qualitative.

The quantified self refers both to the cultural phenomenon of self-tracking with technology and to a community of users and makers of self-tracking tools who share an interest in “self-knowledge through numbers.

Life Logging: A  is a personal record of one’s daily life in a varying amount of detail, for a variety of purposes. The record contains a comprehensive dataset of a human’s activities.

Biometric Data: Biometrics are physical or behavioral human characteristics to that can be used to digitally identify a person to grant access to systems, devices or data. Examples of these biometric identifiers are fingerprints, facial patterns, voice or typing cadence

Sentiment Analysis: Sentiment analysis is the use of natural language processing, text analysis, computational linguistics, and biometrics to systematically identify, extract, quantify, and study affective states and subjective information

Due for next class 04/29

Create a new post under “Research Project”

Write a preliminary proposal about the topic your research project will be on.


  • Decide the focus of your project
  • Thing about the manageableness of the project
  • Pick a topic that you personally find interesting
  • Get an overview of your project
  • Share links and citations
  • Dont title your blog post “Research Project” have the title connect to your topic.


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