Centre Research Fellows present at Fourth Australian Positive Psychology and Well-being Conference 14th February 2014 Events Academic

Dr Liz Gulliford and Dr Blaire Morgan individually presented at the Fourth Australian Positive Psychology and Well-being Conference, ‘Developing a Sustained Impact’ at the University of Melbourne.

We are looking forward to the possibility of future collaboration with the University of Melbourne. The papers presented can be found below.

Understanding Gratitude

The topic of gratitude has become extremely popular in recent years, and with good reason; studies from psychology have highlighted that gratitude is related to a host of positive psychological, interpersonal and health benefits, whilst the work of eminent philosophers has emphasised how gratitude is a fascinating, complex concept that warrants considerable debate.

Over the last 14 months, the Jubilee Centre for Character and Values’ “Attitude for Gratitude” project has endeavoured to unite ideas from both psychology and philosophy. In a recent paper, [Gulliford, L., Morgan, B., & Kristjánsson, K. (2013). Recent Work on the Concept of Gratitude in Philosophy and Psychology. The Journal of Value Inquiry, 47(3), 283–317] we discuss the numerous conceptual controversies that surround gratitude, for example, issues of supererogation, presence of benefactors and conditions surrounding the benefit. To shed further light on such controversies we have developed two new investigative methods; a vignette questionnaire for adults and gratitude stories for use with children. These methods seek to elucidate how gratitude is understood by the British public and what factors influence when, and to what degree, gratitude is experienced. 


Using prototype analysis to explore cultural differences in gratitude between UK and the US

In this paper we examine gratitude from the bottom up using a prototype analysis, following the example set by Lambert and colleagues (2009). In our recent prototype study of gratitude (Morgan, B., Gulliford, L., & Kristjánsson, K. ‘Gratitude in the UK: A new prototype analysis and cross-cultural comparison’ (under submission)), we examined gratitude in the U.K., contrasted features of gratitude with those identified in the U.S., and explored whether gratitude is associated with virtue.

In these studies, laypeople generate features that exemplify gratitude, rate their valence and centrality, and the researchers examine how the centrality of these features affects laypeople’s cognition about gratitude.

In three studies we demonstrated that gratitude is prototypically organized; that there are cross-cultural similarities and differences between U.K. and U.S. descriptions of gratitude; and that judgments of gratitude are closely related to judgments of virtue. 


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