Founded in 1999, the Quality of Life Research Center (QLRC) studies the field of positive psychology—including such human strengths as creativity, engagement, intrinsic motivation, and responsibility—to understand those aspects of human experience that make life worth living. The center is co-directed by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Jeanne Nakamura.

In the past, the study of behavior has focused mainly on what goes wrong in human affairs: aggression, mental disease, failure, and hopelessness. Although it is essential to study and address such pathologies, it is equally important to understand those aspects of human experience that make life worth living. The QLRC conducts research on such issues and provides a forum for scholars from the United States and abroad who wish to extend their studies in positive psychology.

CGU’s graduate programs in Positive Psychology were launched in fall 2007 through the School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation, Division of Behavioral & Organizational Sciences, and Department of Psychology. The PhD programs in Positive Organizational Psychology and Positive Developmental Psychology provide research training in positive psychology. MA concentrations in Evaluation and either Positive Organizational Psychology or Positive Developmental Psychology are also offered.

Research

In response to the dramatic changes in longevity worldwide, the QLRC is pursuing research on social innovation and good work in the second half of life as well as the study of everyday life, using experience sampling methods. Recent research projects have examined how good mentors develop in a variety of professions, supported by a grant from the Spencer Foundation, and studied how well-being is defined in various cultures as part of the cross-national Eudaimonic and Hedonic Happiness Investigation. Other studies underway concern the restoration of a stable society in South American countries recovering from civil war as well improving coaching strategies in professional sports.

With the help of grants from the Fetzer, Ford, Hewlett, Spencer, and Templeton Foundations, the QLRC has conducted research jointly with Harvard and Stanford Universities on the conditions that enable good work in the professions. Areas investigated included business, human genetics, media, philanthropy, and higher education. Findings are used to enhance professional training in these areas.

The center welcomes inquiries about collaboration on projects in line with its basic mission.

If you are interested in being a participant in studies conducted by the center, please email us.