VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS)

Classification of strengths Wisdom and Knowledge: creativity, curiosity, judgment, love of learning, perspective Courage: bravery, perseverance, honesty, zest Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence Justice: teamwork, fairness, leadership Temperance: forgiveness, humility, prudence, self-regulation Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality[3] The VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS), formerly known as the “Values in Action […]

Classification of strengths

  1. Wisdom and Knowledge: creativity, curiosity, judgment, love of learning, perspective
  2. Courage: bravery, perseverance, honesty, zest
  3. Humanity: love, kindness, social intelligence
  4. Justice: teamwork, fairness, leadership
  5. Temperance: forgiveness, humility, prudence, self-regulation
  6. Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality[3]

The VIA Inventory of Strengths (VIA-IS), formerly known as the “Values in Action Inventory,” is a psychological assessment measure designed to identify an individual’s profile of character strengths. It was created by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman, well-known researchers in the field of positive psychology, in order to operationalize theirCharacter Strengths and Virtues Handbook (CSV).[1] The CSV is the positive psychology counterpart to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) used in traditional psychology.[1] Unlike the DSM, which scientifically categorizes human deficits and disorders, the CSV classifies positive human strengths.[2] Moreover, the CSV is centered on helping people recognize and build upon their strengths. This aligned with the overall goal of the positive psychology movement, which aims to make people’s lives more fulfilling, rather than simply treating mental illness.[2] Notably, the VIA-IS is the tool by which people can identify their own positive strengths and learn how to capitalize on them.[2]

As a relatively new field of research, positive psychology lacked a common vocabulary for discussing measurable positive traits before 2004.[1] Traditional psychology benefited from the creation of DSM, as it provided researchers and clinicians with the same set of language from which they could talk about the negative. As a first step in remedying this disparity between tradition and positive psychology, Peterson and Seligman set out to identify, organize and measure character.

Peterson & Seligman began by defining the notion of character as traits that are possessed by an individual and are stable over time, but can still be impacted by setting and thus are subject to change.[1] The researchers then started the process of identifying character strengths and virtues by brainstorming with a group of noted positive psychology scholars. Then, Peterson & Seligman examined ancient cultures (including their religions, politics, education and philosophies) for information about how people in the past construed human virtue. The researchers looked for virtues that were present across cultures and time. Six core virtues emerged from their analysis: courage, justice, humanity, temperance, transcendence and wisdom.

Next, Peterson and Seligman proposed a model of classification which includes horizontal and vertical components. The hierarchical system is modeled after the Linnaean classification of species, which ranges from a specific species to more general and broad categories. The scientists stated the six core values are the broadest category and are, “core characteristics valued by moral philosophers and religious thinkers” (p. 13).[1] Peterson and Seligman then moved down the hierarchy to identifying character strengths, which are, “the psychological processes or mechanisms that define the virtues” (p. 13).[1]

The researchers began the process of identifying individual character strengths by brainstorming with a group of noted positive psychology scholars.[1] This exercise generated a list of human strengths, which were helpful when consulting with Gallup Organization. Peterson and Seligman then performed an exhaustive literature search for work that directly addresses good character in the domains of, “psychiatry, youth development, philosophy and psychology” (p. 15). Some individuals who influenced Peterson and Seligman’s choice of strengths include: Abraham Maslow, Erik Erikson, Ellen Greenberger, Marie Jahoda, Carol Ryff, Michael Cawley, Howard Gardner, Shalom Schwartz. In an effort to leave no stone unturned, the researchers also looked for virtue-laden messages in popular culture. For example, the researchers examined Hallmark greeting cards, personal ads, graffiti, bumper stickers and profiles of Pokémon characters.

After identifying dozens of ‘candidate strengths’, the researchers needed to find a way to further refine their list. Therefore, Peterson & Seligman developed a list of 10 criteria (e.g., strengths must contribute to a sense of a fulfilling life, must be intrinsically valuable) to help them select the final 24 strengths for the CSV (see CSV for complete list of criteria). Approximately half of the strengths included in the CSV meet all 10 criteria, and half do not.[1] By looking for similarities between candidate strengths, the researchers distributed 24 character strengths between six virtue categories. Only after creating this a priori organization of traits, the researchers performed, “an exploratory factor analysis of scale scores using varimax rotation,” (p. 632) from which five factors emerged.[1] Peterson & Seligman state that they are not as concerned with how the 24 strengths are grouped into virtue clusters because, in the end, these traits are mixed together to form the character of a person.

Only 3 studies have checked the factor structure of the CSV, on which the VIA-IS is based.[1][9][10]

Using a second order factor analysis, Macdonald & colleagues (2008) found that the 24 strengths did not fit into the 6 higher order virtues model proposed in the CSV. None of the clusters of characters strengths that they found resembled the structure of the 6 virtue clusters of strengths. The researchers noted that many of the VIA character strengths cross-loaded onto multiple factors. Rather, the strengths were best represented by a one and four factor model. A one factor model would mean that the strengths are best accounted for by, “one overarching factor,” such as a global trait of character (p. 797).[9] A four factor model more closely resembles the ‘Big Five’ model of personality. The character strengths in the four factor model could be organized into the following four groups: Niceness, Positivity, Intellect and Conscientiousness.

Peterson and Seligman (2004) conducted a factor analysis and found that a five factor model, rather than their 6 hierarchical virtues model, best organized the strengths. Their study, however, did not include five of the character strengths in the results of their analysis. The researchers most likely did this because their results were plagued by the problem of strengths cross-loading on to multiple factors, similar to what occurred in Macdonald and colleagues (2008) study.[10] Clearly, empirical evidence casts doubt on the link proposed by Peterson & Seligman (2004) between the 24 strengths and associated 6 higher order virtues.

Brdar & Kashdan (2009) used more precise statistical tools to build upon the findings of the two earlier studies. They found that a four factor model (Interpersonal Strengths, Vitality, Fortitude and Cautiousness) explained 60% of the variance. One large, overarching factor explained 50% of the variance. The four factors found by Brdar and Kashdan (2009) are similar to the four factors found by Macdonald and colleagues (2008). Once again, the Brdar and Kashdan found that the 24 strengths did not fall into the 6 higher order virtues proposed by Peterson and Seligman (2004). The correlations found between many of the strengths demonstrates that each strength is not distinct, which contradicts the claims made by the creators of the VIA-IS.

Caution should be taken in interpreting the results from these three studies as their samples differ in age and country of origin.[10]

Cubans surf the web

This Workaround Lets 2.6 Million Cubans Surf the Web Written by J.M. PORUP December 2, 2015 // 08:00 AM EST More and more Cubans are getting access to the internet, thanks to government Wi-Fi hotspots and a loosening of trade restrictions with the US. However, many locals still don’t have access to the web or … Continue reading “Cubans surf the web”

This Workaround Lets 2.6 Million Cubans Surf the Web

Written by

J.M. PORUP

More and more Cubans are getting access to the internet, thanks to government Wi-Fi hotspots and a loosening of trade restrictions with the US. However, many locals still don’t have access to the web or can’t afford it.

That’s why not-for-profit Miami startup Apretaste set up a system to allow Cubans to browse the web via email, which more people have access to. Only about 400,000 Cubans can freely browse the web, according to Apretaste, but 2.6 million have access to email.

The Osborne-Parnes Creative Problem Solving Process

  CPS Model Notes from Gary Davis’s Creativity is Forever – 1998 Kendall Hunt The strategy originally was formulated by Alex Osborn (1963), creator of brainstorming, founder of the Creative Education Foundation (CEF) and co-founder of a highly successful New York advertising agency. Sidney Parnes, a bright and creative person who followed Osborn as President […]

 

CPS Model

Notes from Gary Davis’s Creativity is Forever – 1998 Kendall Hunt

The strategy originally was formulated by Alex Osborn (1963), creator of brainstorming, founder of the Creative Education Foundation (CEF) and co-founder of a highly successful New York advertising agency.

Sidney Parnes, a bright and creative person who followed Osborn as President of CEF, invested nearly 40 years teaching creativity workshops and course and thinking about the creative process.

The model is usually presented as five steps, but sometimes a preliminary step is added called mess-finding which involves locating a challenge or problem to which to apply the model.

The total six stages are:

  1. Mess-finding (Objective Finding)
  2. Fact-finding
  3. Problem-Finding
  4. Idea-finding
  5. Solution finding (Idea evaluation)
  6. Acceptance-finding (Idea implementation)

The steps guide the creative process. They tell you what to do at each immediate step in orde to eventually produce one or more creative, workable solutions. A unique feature is that each step first involves aDivergent thinking phase in which one generates lots of ideas (facts, problem definitions, ideas, evaluation criteria, implementation strategies), and then a convergent phase in which only the most promising ideas are selected for further exploration.

The Act of Creation

The Act of Creation is a 1964 book by Arthur Koestler. It is a study of the processes of discovery, invention, imagination and creativity in humour, science, and the arts. It lays out Koestler’s attempt to develop an elaborate general theory of human creativity. From describing and comparing many different examples of invention and discovery, Koestler concludes […]

The Act of Creation is a 1964 book by Arthur Koestler. It is a study of the processes of discovery, invention, imagination and creativity in humour, science, and the arts. It lays out Koestler’s attempt to develop an elaborate general theory of human creativity.

From describing and comparing many different examples of invention and discovery, Koestler concludes that they all share a common pattern which he terms “bisociation” – a blending of elements drawn from two previously unrelated matrices of thought into a new matrix of meaning by way of a process involving comparison, abstraction and categorisation, analogies and metaphors. He regards many different mental phenomena based on comparison (such as analogies, metaphors, parables, allegories, jokes, identification, role-playing, acting, personification, anthropomorphism etc.), as special cases of “bisociation”.

The concept of bisociation has been adopted, generalised and formalised by cognitive linguists Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, who developed it into conceptual blending theory

Conceptual blending, also called conceptual integration or view application, is a theory of cognition developed by Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner. According to this theory, elements and vital relations from diverse scenarios are “blended” in a subconscious process, which is assumed to be ubiquitous to everyday thought and language.

The development of this theory began in 1993 and a representative early formulation is found in the online article Conceptual Integration and Formal Expression. Turner and Fauconnier cite Arthur Koestler´s 1964 book The Act of Creation as an early forerunner of conceptual blending: Koestler had identified a common pattern in creative achievements in the arts, sciences and humor that he had termed “bisociation of matrices.”[1] A newer version of blending theory, with somewhat different terminology, was presented in their book The Way We Think.

 

focus and creativity

Why Being Sleepy and Drunk Are Great for Creativity By Jonah Lehrer 02.09.12 Here’s a brain teaser: Your task is to move a single line so that the false arithmetic statement below becomes true. IV = III + III Did you get it? In this case, the solution is rather obvious – you should move the […]

Why Being Sleepy and Drunk Are Great for Creativity

Here’s a brain teaser: Your task is to move a single line so that the false arithmetic statement below becomes true.

IV = III + III

Did you get it? In this case, the solution is rather obvious – you should move the first “I” to the right side of the “V,” so that the statement now reads: VI = III + III. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of people (92 percent) quickly solve this problem, as it requires a standard problem-solving approach in which only the answer is altered. What’s perhaps a bit more surprising is that nearly 90 percent of patients with brain damage to the prefrontal lobes — this leaves them with severe attentional deficits, unable to control their mental spotlight — are also able to find the answer.

Here’s a much more challenging equation to fix:

III = III + III

In this case, only 43 percent of normal subjects were able to solve the problem. Most stared at the Roman numerals for a few minutes and then surrendered. The patients who couldn’t pay attention, however, had an 82 percent success rate. What accounts for this bizarre result? Why does brain damage dramatically improve performance on a hard creative task? The explanation is rooted in the unexpected nature of the solution, which involves moving the vertical matchstick in the plus sign, transforming it into an equal sign. (The equation is now a simple tautology: III = III = III.) The reason this puzzle is so difficult, at least for people without brain damage, has to do with the standard constraints of math problems. Because we’re not used to thinking about the operator, most people quickly fix their attention on the roman numerals. But that’s a dead end. The patients with a severe cognitive deficit, in contrast, can’t restrict their search. They are forced by their brain injury to consider a much wider range of possible answers. And this is why they’re nearly twice as likely to have a breakthrough.

This helps explain a new study led by Mareike Wieth at Albion College. The scientists surveyed 428 undergrads about their circadian habits, asking them whether they were more productive and alert in the morning or evening. As expected, the overwhelming majority were night owls, which is why they studiously avoided 9 a.m. classes. Then, the scientists gave the students a series of problem-solving tasks. Half of these tasks were creative insight puzzles, in which the answer arrives suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere. The other half of the problems given to the students were standard analytic problems, such as long-division and pre-algebra equations. These questions don’t require insights. Instead, they benefit from ordinary focus, as people grind out the answer and check to make sure it’s right. The subjects were given four minutes to solve each problem. Half of them were tested early in the morning (8:30 a.m.) and half were tested in the late afternoon (around 5 p.m.). When people were tested during their “least optimal time of day” , they were significantly more effective at solving insight puzzles. (On one problem, their performance increased by nearly 50 percent.) Performance on the analytic problems, meanwhile, was unaffected by the clock.

The larger lesson is that those sleepy students, like a brain-damaged patient, benefit from the inability to focus. Their minds are drowsy and disorganized, humming with associations that they’d normally ignore. When we need an insight, of course, those stray associations are the source of the answer.

One last piece of evidence: A brand-new study by scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago compared performance on insight puzzles between sober and drunk students. (They were aiming for real intoxication, giving students enough booze to achieve a blood alcohol level of 0.075.) Once the students achieved “peak intoxication” the scientists gave them a battery of word problems – they’re known as remote associate tests – that are often solved in a moment of insight. According to the data, drunk students solved more of these word problems in less time. They also were much more likely to perceive their solutions as the result of a sudden insight. And the differences were dramatic: The alcohol made subjects nearly 30 percent more likely to find the unexpected solution.

Once again, the explanation for this effect returns us to the benefits of not being able to pay attention.

Bohrium

Uploaded on Aug 25, 2011 A new video about Bohrium, including footage from Darmstadt where the element was created and named. In 1922 Niels Bohr received the Nobel prize for his work on sussing out the structure of atoms. For his outright brilliance he was given a house next door to the Carlsberg brewing company, […]

Uploaded on Aug 25, 2011

A new video about Bohrium, including footage from Darmstadt where the element was created and named.


In 1922 Niels Bohr received the Nobel prize for his work on sussing out the structure of atoms. For his outright brilliance he was given a house next door to the Carlsberg brewing company, and had a pipeline running from the brewery into the house so that he could have a never-ending supply of fresh beer on tap.

There are several studies that indicate that being drunk can actually improve your creativity. That’s because it prevents your mind from being able to focus, so it more readily drifts from one connection to another, which can yield creative solutions to problems.

So was free beer the reason why Bohr was able to make great strides in developing quantum mechanics?

The Rise of the Creative Class

Published on Mar 26, 2013 More than ten years after the publication of his groundbreaking work of urban theory, “The Rise of the Creative Class,” Richard Florida is sticking to his assertion that the rising creative class is an engine of economic and cultural growth. Transcript – Richard Florida: The main message of my work […]

Published on Mar 26, 2013

More than ten years after the publication of his groundbreaking work of urban theory, “The Rise of the Creative Class,” Richard Florida is sticking to his assertion that the rising creative class is an engine of economic and cultural growth.

Transcript –

Richard Florida: The main message of my work over the past decade or more has been a fairly basic message and that’s that every single human being is creative. But then as with anything one has to put statistical parameters around what that means, and what I’ve found, is that in the United States and around the world our society is really divided into people who are principally paid to use their creativity at work and those who may be quite creative but they’re principally paid to use their physical labor or they’re involved in low-skill service work.

In any event, there are about 40 million Americans who are privileged to be members of what I call the creative class. There are people in science and technology. There are people who are entrepreneurs who work in research and development. They are architects, they’re designers; they work in arts and culture, the entertainment and media. And then the kind of classic knowledge based professionals that great management thinkers like Peter Drucker taught us about, people in business and management and healthcare and law and education.

Now right now in the United States its about 35 percent of the workforce but what’s interesting is through the terrible economic crisis we’ve had, while rates of unemployment for manufacturing workers went over 15 percent, and in some cases over 20 percent, for people who do low-skill service work like food preparation or personal care, that kind of work went well over ten percent. The rate of unemployment amongst the creative class never went higher than five percent. And we’re on track to generate another seven million of these jobs over the course of the next decade. And one thing that’s really interesting, when I first look at the creative class in the original version of the book in 2002, in the most advanced regions of the countries, places like San Francisco, or the Silicon Valley or Boulder, Colorado, or Austin, Texas, or Seattle or Boston, Raleigh-Durham, Washington, D.C. There might have been 35 or 40 percent.

Now in some of these regions, almost 50 percent of the workforce — we’re sitting in Manhattan today and in New York county, which is Manhattan, it’s nearly half of the workforce is already in this creative class and we have been able to look around the world and I added a whole new chapter on that in this book.

You know, in some countries like Singapore or in Sweden or in Norway or in Denmark, the Netherlands, already more than 45 to 50 percent of the workforce is doing this kind of creative class work. So in my view, it’s the growth force of our time and the real challenge ahead of us how do we get more and more people involved in creative class work using their minds, using their creativity, because it will afford them a better salary, it’ll improve productivity and it’ll hopefully begin to address the terrible inequality we face in our country.

Directed/Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

Design Thinking – Dead or alive?

Is Design Thinking Dead? Video from DMI

Design Thinking Is A Failed Experiment. So What’s Next? from FastCompany

Design thinking – a useful myth from Core77

Teaching Design Thinking for 2nd grade students  from Little Ed Tech