Martin E.P. Seligman

1998 APA President

Martin E.P. Seligman, PhDMartin E.P. Seligman, PhD, is Zellerbach family professor of psychology and director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. His work has focused on positive psychology, learned helplessness, depression, and optimism and pessimism.

His is author of 20 books and 200 articles on motivation and personality. Among his better-known works are Authentic Happiness (Free Press, 2002), Learned Optimism (Knopf, 1991), What You Can Change & What You Can't (Knopf, 1993), The Optimistic Child (Houghton Mifflin, 1995), Helplessness (Freeman, 1975, 1993) and Abnormal Psychology (Norton, 1982, 1988, 1995), with David Rosenhan.

He is the recipient of two Distinguished Scientific Contribution awards from APA, the Laurel Award of the American Association for Applied Psychology and Prevention, and the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society for Research in Psychopathology. He holds honorary doctorates from Uppsala University in Sweden the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.

Seligman received both the American Psychological Society's William James Fellow Award (for contribution to basic science) and the James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award (for the application of psychological knowledge).

Seligman's research and writing has been supported by a number of institutions, including the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Aging, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. His research on preventing depression received the MERIT Award of the National Institute of Mental Health in 1991.

For 14 years, he was the director of the clinical training program of the Psychology Department of the University of Pennsylvania. He was named a Distinguished Practitioner by the National Academies of Practice, and in 1995, received the Pennsylvania Psychological Association's award for distinguished contributions to science and practice of psychology.

Seligman was born in 1942 in Albany, New York. He earned a bachelors degree in philosophy at Princeton University in 1964. He earned his PhD in psychology at University of Pennsylvania in 1967.