Picture This: Framing Purpose & Bringing Gratitude into Focus

Project: Research project


Research is emerging to show that daily experiences of gratitude and prosocial purpose can put youth on a trajectory of growth, success, and positive social connection (e.g., Algoe & Fredrickson, 2011; Caprara & Steca, 2005). Critically, new research also suggests that these qualities can be self-generated on a moment-by-moment basis, and that doing so can help people transform any “situation into a learning and growing experience”, which Sir John Templeton endorsed. The current proposal builds on evidence that points to the potential for young people to learn how to develop, rejuvenate, or reconnect to their inner capacities to experience positive emotions, such as gratitude, and to act in ways that are meaningful and make a difference. In building such skills, people can become masters of positive habits so the habits may become, in Sir John Templeton’s words, “useful servants”. In short, this proposal takes a new approach to help people become the best versions of themselves through one simple action each day.

Drawing from two paradigms, Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM) interventions and Positive Psychology (PP) interventions, our Picture This! program aims to build youth capacity to benefit from the moments of everyday life. Here, by marrying the active components of CBM and PP into a technology-­-driven daily intervention, we aim to instantiate more frequent experiences of gratitude and purposeful engagement in the school community and beyond. Because these experiences broaden perspective and enhance motivation to see beyond the self, increased frequency of such experiences is expected to have a number of positive impacts in addition to increases in gratitude and sense of purpose, including increased well-being and decreased depressive symptoms and social isolation, all of which are important for youth achievement and engagement in the school setting and beyond (e.g., Caprara et al., 2000; Jaycox et al., 2009). Importantly, our intervention will provide critical behavioral, cognitive, and attentional tools that, once internalized, can be drawn upon for years to come.
Effective start/end date7/1/1511/30/16


  • University of Georgia (UGA)


everyday life
social isolation