Half Full or Half Empty?

7 February 2006 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

I am continuing my investigation into positive psychology by starting to read Half Full, Half Empty:  Understanding the Psychological Roots of Optimism by Susan C. Vaughan (who I think is mentioned in Seligman’s Learned Optimism, but I’ll have to check on that).  She mentions a number of the same experiments that Seligman does, but she starts to delve into the “roots” as her title suggests by considering the impact of parents as “external regulator[s] of the structure and neurochemistry of the child’s maturing brain” (62-63). 

The point she makes is a simple one:  children learn how to be optimists or pessimists, how to regulate their moods and control their emotions, from their parents.  The environment in which they grow, as we now know very well, that shapes how the brain grows and therefore lays the groundwork of its potential to be successful in the world.  The early years from birth to three are critical for growing brains.  Social scientists have known it for decades, and now neuroscientists confirm these common-sense findings:  providing an enriching environment for infants is an investment in the future.  I think we’re called “human capital” in the lingo of capitalism.  However you want to look at it, channeling energy (the goal of energonomics) into programs like head-start and parent-training will save money in the long run.

This suggests that money is a form of stored energy.  I will have more to say about that in a future post.

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Entry filed under: books, energonomics.

Social Neuroscience Metaphorical Concepts of Energy

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