(Scheduled for Saturday, July 30, 4:15 PM – 5:45 PM

(Note that scholarships will be presented at the Saturday Awards Dinner.)


Click the title of the presentation to see details.

Wright Foundation Scholarship

  1. [1st] Lia NaorProactively Invoking the Shadow
  2. [2nd] Holli-Anne PassmoreThe Sense and Experience of Being Alive
  3. [3rd] Arthur BraatenHow Fundamental Worldviews about Life and the World Relate to Eudaimonia, Hedonia, and the Experience of Meaning
  4. [Honourable Mention] Lynne CorbettThe Impact of Voluntary Childlessness on Meaning in Life, and the Potential for Positive Childfree Living
  5. [Honourable Mention] Mike MorrisonIncreasing the Meaningfulness of Work with Motivational Self-Transcendence
  6. [Honourable Mention] Elizabeth A. Yu: Asian American Values as Predictors of Life Meaning in Asian and European American College Students: Evidence for Cultural Differences? (This paper will be presented during the paper session on Meaning in Life.)

Carrina Wong Chan Scholarship

  1. Andrew (Chih-Hong) ChenDiscovering Personal Strengths to Appreciate the Meaning of Life
  2. Erica (Kuang-Li) HanThe Meaning of Life on Euthanasia

Wright Foundation Scholarship


1st Place

Lia Naor is a Ph.D. student in the Department for Counseling and Human Development at the University of Haifa, Israel. Lia is currently conducting research on a model for therapy in nature – the aftermath of a four-year research project involving the study of positive personal transformation, particularly at it occurs in nature. Lia holds a BA in social work and an MA in drama therapy. Lia integrates shadow work, mindfulness, spirituality and the natural surroundings within her private practice. She teaches nature therapy, lectures on related topics and has presented her work in several academic conferences around the world and has written several papers on the topic.

Proactively Invoking the ‘Shadow’ in the Quest for Personal Thriving and Transformation

This paper builds upon the realization that negative and positive experiences are dialectically co-dependent as inevitable aspects of living and are dually important in the developmental process toward wholeness. It further rests on the premise that destabilizing and uncomfortable, “negative” aspects and situations may serve as significant human resources in the process of growth and change. These principles embedded within second wave positive psychology notions are invoked within a unique therapeutic process involving the intentional and active induction of physical, emotional or psychological situations, often associated with negative aspects such as dissonance and distress. In these situations far from the clients’ and the facilitators’ (therapists’) comfort zones individuals are confronted with avoided or neglected aspects of the self (‘shadow’ in Jung’s terms) and the potential for change and growth is enticed.  A conceptual model of such interventions is presented and the unique roles of the facilitators as well as ethical issues related to such process are discussed. Additionally, examples from research among people who spontaneously experienced personal transformation and case studies of such facilitated process, mostly in nature are presented. These demonstrate the exceptional potential of proactive facilitation of destabilizing situations to cultivate profound positive change and growth in therapy.


2nd Place

Holli-Anne Passmore, Ph.D. Graduate Student, Psychological Science Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia

The Sense and Experience of Being Alive: Pearls Strung on a Thread of Meaning

In 1934, psychoanalyst Marion Milner wrote of her realization that what she was fundamentally striving for in life was “a sense of being alive” (p. 3). Echoing Milner, over half a century later, preeminent mythologist Joseph Campbell (1988) remarked, “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive” (p.1). This paper explores how the sense and experience of “being alive” comprises the full range of human emotions. Three pathways to this experience are proposed, with support gleaned from diverse perspectives. Additionally, the relationship between our existential motivations to find meaning in life and to experience a sense of being fully alive is examined. Each experience of being alive is one individual pearl. Over the course of our lifetime, these pearls are strung together to make a necklace, that upon contemplation, we cognitively appraise as meaning in life. It is hoped that the ideas presented in this paper can be used as starting points for alternate methods to bolster the thread of meaning in people’s lives, while creating pearls of the sense and experience of being alive.


3rd Place

Arthur Braaten is a Ph.D. student finishing his first year in Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa. His research interests are well-being, optimal functioning, how people pursue well-being in life, and predictors of eudaimonia and hedonia. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa where he obtained an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He is a recipient of the CGS-M SSHRC and the SSHRC doctoral fellowship, has been a teaching assistant for introduction to statistics, and has been a research assistant in a couple of labs running experimental protocols, data analysis, and writing manuscripts.

How Fundamental Worldviews about Life and the World Relate to Eudaimonia, Hedonia, and the Experience of Meaning

Eudaimonia and hedonia are of the two primary ways in which people seek well-being in life (Huta & Waterman, 2013). Research has shown that both eudaimonia and hedonia relate to personal well-being, but in distinct complimentary ways. Thus, it is important to understand what leads people to pursue eudaimonia and hedonia in the first place. Worldviews, the fundamental beliefs about how things work and what is true and real (Koltko-Rivera, 2004), are expected to be pivotal in predicting eudaimonia and hedonia. As a result, we created the most comprehensive survey of worldviews we are aware of predominantly based on Koltko-Rivera’s (2004) extensive review. This presentation will focus on data recently collected from 749 undergraduates that examined how worldviews about life, the world, and the universe relate to the pursuit of eudaimonia and hedonia, as well as people’s experience of positive affect and meaning. We focused on worldviews that were particularly relevant to the pursuit of eudaimonia and hedonia, which include beliefs about: the purpose of life, morality, spirituality, what determines the outcomes in life, and where well-being comes from. Results that differentiate between the pursuit of eudaimonia and hedonia, as well as positive affect and meaning, will be discussed.


Honourable Mentions

Lynne Corbett, MAPP, University of East London

Other than Mother: The Impact of Voluntary Childlessness on Meaning in Life, and the Potential for Positive Childfree Living

This paper explores voluntary childlessness and its potential impact on a woman’s sense of life meaning and purpose, and argues for the inclusion of what the author refers to as “positive childfree living” (PCL) in the second wave of positive psychology (PP 2.0). The occurrence of childlessness, worldwide, is investigated, with special focus on developed nations and on the persistent stigma and stereotypes associated with non-parenting. The antecedents and consequences of choosing to remain childless are explored, and autonomy is identified as a primary motivation. A connection is made between autonomy and meaning in life (MIL), through the constructs of psychological well-being (PWB) and eudaimonia. The MIL construct is surveyed, and meaning is determined to be self-constructed, and made up of one’s choices. It is proposed that, in pronatalistic cultures, motherhood endows life with essential, though predetermined, meaning. Without this core meaning, non-mothers can be creative in determining their self-identity—life meaning and purpose are malleable.


Mike A. Morrison, Michigan State University

Increasing the Meaningfulness of Work with Motivational Self-Transcendence

There are three primary definitions of motivational self-transcendence in psychology: (1) connecting your identity to making a positive impact on the world or the lives of others; (2) framing your actions in a broader, more meaningful context; (3) a basic human value characterized by benevolence and universalism. This review illustrates the mechanisms and boundary conditions for each type of motivational self-transcendence, placing special emphasis on how they present in a work context. I include relevant research findings on motivational self-transcendence in organizational science, as well as recommendations for how organizations can utilize each conceptualization. Finally, I discuss how the three types of motivational self-transcendence can be integrated.


Elizabeth A. Yu, Graduate Student, Clinical Science, University of Michigan

Asian American Values as Predictors of Life Meaning in Asian and European American College Students: Evidence for Cultural Differences?

This paper will be presented during the paper session on Meaning in Life.


Carrina Wong Chan Scholarship


Andrew (Chih-Hong) Chen, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University

Discovering Personal Strengths to Appreciate the Meaning of Life: The Implementation of Integrating Positive Psychology 2.0 in College English Class

Life education in Taiwan is designed to encourage and guide students to lead meaningful and positive lives, which is consistent with the objectives of positive psychology (PP). The purpose of this study was to explore the feasibility of integrating life education and positive psychology PP into college Freshman freshman English classes. The study adopted the position of positive psychologyPP to in the English lessons with the aim of enabling students to understand of the four pillars of the good life and to reflect on their lives from the perspectives of positive psychologyPP.

Following the research of Victor E. Frankl (2000) and Dr. Paul T. P. Wong (2001), the spiritual aspect of human nature was also discussed in topics related to the pursuit of the meaning of life. The Values in Action (VIA) Strengths Survey, created and developed by Dr. Martin Seligman and other scholars (2003, 2004) was used as an instrument to examine students’ the attitude change of the students before and after the lessons.


Erica (Kuang-Li) Han, National Kaohsiung Normal University

The Meaning of Life on Euthanasia: The Findings from a Theme-Based English Program to Taiwanese Adolescents

In recent years, euthanasia has become a controversial issue not only locally but also nationally in Taiwan. With the growing awareness of human rights, more and more humanists have advocated the legalization of euthanasia, while some countries still regard it as a controversial and taboo issue.

The position of Second Wave Positive Psychology (PP2.0) proposes that it is important to develop character strengths, such as human dignity, courage, and compassion. The issue of euthanasia is exactly one of the crucial topics for adolescents to ponder and develop their strengths. Therefore, this study mainly explores: (1) What kind of attitudes do adolescents take toward euthanasia? (2) After a series of theme-based English programs on euthanasia, do participants have different or changed viewpoints and attitudes about moral issues? (3) After learning, discussing, and reflecting upon those issues, is it helpful for adolescents to establish positive views and attitudes toward life?


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