Positive Psychology Center Receives NEA Grant

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The Positive Psychology Center, in a partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and researchers at other universities, has been named a National Endowment for the Arts Research Lab. The national network of labs is dedicated to investigating the impact of the arts through the social and behavioral sciences.

The Positive Psychology Center received a $150,000 grant, renewable for up to five years, for its Humanities and Human Flourishing Lab, directed by James Pawelski. For over five years, the lab has studied how engaging in the arts and humanities can bring well-being to individuals and communities. In this latest initiative supported by the NEA, the lab examines the relationship between immersive visual arts experiences and psychological well-being among university students. Prompting participants to view artworks with a mindful approach, the project will assess the influence of regular museum-viewing experiences on students’ immediate and ongoing levels of social and emotional “flourishing” by using a multi-method research design.

"We are delighted to be designated an NEA Research Lab," says James Pawelski, Professor of Practice in the Positive Psychology Center. "This support will allow us to continue our scientific inquiries into the well-being effects of engagement with the arts and humanities and will make possible a partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Our findings will enable us to make evidence-based recommendations to art museums and their visitors on how to optimize the well-being effects of museum visits."

NEA Research Labs are housed at universities and made up of transdisciplinary teams of researchers that explore the arts in one of three topic areas; health and social/emotional well-being; creativity, cognition, and learning; and entrepreneurship and innovation.

To learn more about the Humanities and Human Flourishing Project, please visit www.humanitiesandhumanflourishing.org.

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