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Although many colleges remain locked down because of COVID-19, it is entirely possible to participate in this year’s exciting national research project!
Details are below.

Primary Focus – This study will explore the relationship between several positive psychology constructs. More specifically…

  • Do Gratitude and Appreciation differ, or are they the same? Although these two psychological constructs may overlap, it is possible that they represent different behaviors and thinking patterns. This study is designed to shed some light on this question.
  • There are many additional research questions that can be asked using the database that will result from this study.

What’s New This Year – Three new features are

  • The study incorporates a randomly assigned brief intervention.
  • Individualized feedback will be provided to participants.
  • A data analysis webinar will be conducted early spring to help members and advisors prepare and analyze the dataset.

General Timeline for Participating Chapters

  • Between now and December 15, 2020, get IRB approval, recruit at least 30 participants (more is better), then run your participants.
    • Chapters should apply for local IRB approval as soon as possible.
    • A copy of the IRB-approved study proposal form and approval letter from Irvine Valley College – click hereclick here too.
    • A PDF copy of the study questionnaire – click here
    • Recruit participants using the following recommended procedures
      • Instructor recruitment script – click here
      • Student (participant) recruitment script – click here
      • Participant tracking form – click here (Note: This is an example. Each chapter will need to make and manage their own version of this form. This form can be used to acquire student email addresses so you can send them a link to the study. The form can also be used to provide participant information to any instructors who agree to provide extra credit for their students to participate.)
    • Notify Psi Beta headquarters as soon as you are ready to begin administering the study to your participants.
      • Use this link – click here – to notify the national office.

      • Psi Beta’s national office will forward a link to the online study. You can then email the link to your participants.
      • Your name will be added to the “college name” item on the research questionnaire. This will make it easier to separate our your participants from the entire data set when you analyze the data in February.
  • Data gathering ends on December 16, 2020.
  • Webinar on data preparation and analysis – January 29, 2021.
More information on the study’s content. This study includes several “positive psychology” scales. Here’s a breakdown:

AppreciationAppreciation as a general construct involves cognitive processes (and may include emotional processes as well) whereby one recognizes the value or importance of a stimulus or event (see Storm & Storm, 1987), construes, appraises, or perceives the stimulus or event as positive or meaningful (see Weiner, 1985; see also Emmons & Crumpler, 2000; Emmons & McCullough, 2003), and possibly feels grateful or thankful in response to perceived benefits. Source: Dr. Kari Tucker, Irvine Valley College

Awe – Awe is the feeling we get in the presence of something vast that challenges our understanding of the world, like looking up at millions of stars in the night sky or marveling at the birth of a child. When people feel awe, they may use other words to describe the experience, such as wonder, amazement, surprise, or transcendence. The most common sources of awe are other people and nature, but awe can be elicited by many other experiences as well, such as music, art or architecture, religious experiences, the supernatural, or even one’s own accomplishments. The Awe scale items measured a disposition to experience awe. Source: Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

Connectedness – Connectedness is a subscale of the Awe instrument. The items you completed measure the extent to which you experience awe in connection with nature. – Source: Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

Gratitude – Robert Emmons, perhaps the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that gratitude has two key components, which he describes in a Greater Good essay, “Why Gratitude Is Good. Emmons writes, “it’s an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts, and benefits we’ve received.” In the second part of gratitude, he explains, “We recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves. … We acknowledge that other people—or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset—gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.” Source – Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

Happiness – In her 2007 book The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky elaborates, describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”

Optimism – For many psychologists, optimism reflects the belief that the outcomes of events or experiences will generally be positive. Optimists are likely to see the causes of failure or negative experiences as temporary rather than permanent, specific rather than global, and external rather than internal. Source – Martin E. P. Seligman (2006) Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life

Positive Affect / Negative Affect – The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) is a self-report questionnaire that consists of two 10-item scales to measure both positive and negative affect.

Satisfaction with Life – Many researchers have used the Satisfaction With Life Scale  (SWLS; Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin, 1985) to measure the life satisfaction component of subjective well-being. In the area of health psychology, the SWLS has been used to examine the subjective quality of life of people who are experiencing serious health concerns. A study by Antaramian & Lee (2016) found that participants with very high life satisfaction (top 10%), compared to those with average and low levels, were at a significant advantage in terms of academic performance, including higher student engagement, academic self-efficacy, and lower academic stress.

Self-Esteem – Self-esteem is confidence in one’s value as a human being. It correlates with achievement, good relationships, and satisfaction. Having too little leads some to depression or to fall short of their potential. Source – psychologytoday.com

The Big-Five Inventory – The “Big Five” are personality traits are:

  • Agreeableness – is compassionate, has a soft heart
  • Conscientiousness – systematic, likes to keep things in order
  • Extraversion – outgoing, friendly
  • Negative Emotionality – moody has up and down mood swings o Open-Mindedness – curious about many different things

More extensive descriptions of the Big 5 personality traits are at https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/big-5-personality-traits

REFERENCES – These articles and books provide background reading for Psi Beta student research teams.

Seligman, M. E. P. (2006). Learned optimism: How to change your mind and your life.  Random House.

Emmons, R. A., & McCullough, M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: A experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389.

Emmons, R. A., McCullough, M. E., & Tsang, J. (2003). The assessment of gratitude. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), Positive psychological assessment: A handbook of models and measures. American Psychological Association, pp. 327-341.

Froh, J. J., Fan, J., Emmons, R. A., Bono, G., Heubner, E. S., & Watkins, P. (2011). Measuring gratitude in youth: Assessing the psychometric properties of adult gratitude scales in children and adolescents. Psychological Assessment, 23(2), 322-324.

Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The how of happiness. Penguin Press.

Parks, A. C., & Schueller, S. M. (2014). The Wiley Blackwell handbook of positive psychological interventions. John Wiley & Sons.www.ketabdownload.com

Pavot, W.,& Diener, E. (1993). Review of the Satisfaction With Life Scale. Psychological Assessment, 5(2), 164-172.

Storm, C., & Storm, T. (1987). A taxonomic study of the vocabulary of emotions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53(4), 805-86.

Tucker, K. L. (2007). Getting the most out of life: An examination of appreciation, targets of appreciation, and sensitivity to reward in happier and less happy individuals. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 26(7), 791-825.

Weiner, B. (1985). An attributional theory of achievement motivation and emotion.  Psychological Review, 92(4), 548-573.

Yaden ,D. B., Kaufman, S. B., Hyde, E., Chirico, A., Gaggioli, A., Zhang, J. W. & Keltner, D. (2018). The development of the Awe Experience Scale (AWE-S): A multifactorial measure for a complex emotion, The Journal of Positive Psychology (online journal). https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760.2018.1484940


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