Understanding20 Everyday20 Love2008
Jul 29, 2021

Understanding Everyday Love with Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD (video)

Do increases in positivity resonance increase virtuous behavior?

By Templeton Staff

Frequently experienced mild positive emotions are what drive health and well-being. In Western culture, feelings and emotions are considered to be tied to the individual rather than shared with acquaintances. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina (UNC), coined the phrase “positivity resonance” to identify the shared sensation of positive psychology between individuals.

A Templeton World Charity Foundation grant has helped Fredrickson and her team investigate the impact of contact with strangers and how these interactions can affect overall levels of kindness.

The success of communities relies on prosocial virtues such as altruism, spirituality, and intellectual humility. Simple, affirmative actions that are shared with others as part of a regular routine can generate a profound ripple effect for the individual throughout their day along with others who are part of these connections. Just as one can be consumed by a negative interaction, a shared laugh with a stranger, or even a brief smile, can adjust the direction of the day for both parties. The frequency of these small gestures can generate strong channels for mental health.

Highlights from this installment of our award-winning “Stories of Impact” video series:

  • Shared micro-moments connect individuals on an organic level. “Our biological responses come into sync, our heart rates, and our cascades of neuropeptides,” says Fredrickson.
  • Positivity resonance is a non-diminishing resource. As long as there is human interaction, the possibility of shared affirmative responses will continue.
  • It’s been shown that generating and sharing positivity as a regular practice improves not only mental well-being but can lead to subtle but clear signs of physical improvement.

This video is a 2021 Sharecare Award / Emmy Finalist.

Learn more about TWCF-funded research project related to this episode.

Read the transcript from the full interview conducted by journalist Richard Sergay featuring Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, director of the​ Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory (PEP Lab) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Templeton World Charity Foundation’s “Stories of Impact” videos by journalist and senior media executive Richard Sergay feature human stories and critical perspectives on breakthroughs about the universe’s big questions. The inspiring narratives and observations in these award-winning videos portray the individual and societal impacts of the projects that bring to life TWCF-supported research.