A brief commentary: Earlier in his career, Seligman made important contributions in two distinct areas.

First, he demonstrated the existence, and investigated the character of "prepared" fears that many people are predisposed to develop, such as fear of heights, insects, snakes, etc..

Second, he later carried out equally influential work on the phenomenon of "learned helplessness," which is related to depression, overlaps conceptually somewhat with Julian Rotter's "external local of control," and is more or less the opposite of Albert Bandura's "self-efficacy."

Recently he has been interested, with his characteristic energy and commitment, in what he terms "positive psychology." There has been an odd controversy around this work, because in contrast to the customary scholarly and scientific practice of recognizing others whose similar work has preceded one's own, Seligman has sought to distance himself from those before him who have investigated similar phenomena and developed similar theoretical conceptions. Be that as it may, much of his work is a logical extension of that previously carried out by Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow, and his work clearly has enough similarity to that of others in the area that has generally been classified as humanistic psychology to warrant inclusion here.

  Seligman's mini-bio  
  The Positive Psychology Home Page  

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