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Dr. Robert Isler’s Lunchtime Learning Session presentation summary

November 08, 2022 12:53 PM | Annick Janson (Administrator)

re interested in neuroplasticity - Brief Summary 

Dr Robert Isler: Sharing inspirational insights and practical applications of Positive Psychology

If you attended this talk please answer a few feedback questions here!           

1. This talk will first briefly define what Positive Psychology is (the science of wellbeing, what makes us flourishing – the good life) and what it is not (Happiology). It does not ignore the negative stuff but it is mainly focused on understanding positive emotions, signature strengths and resilience.    

For a short overview of Positive psychology:

Get in touch with me: if you wish a summary article. 

2. What are the strongest predictors for a good life?

The skills of building social capacity by deeply connecting with some people who are on the ‘same frequency’.

Brenee Brown: Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgement; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship. Disconnection is often equated with social rejection, social exclusion, and /or social isolation.  

Recommended Brenee Brown’s

  • Atlas of the heart series streamed on NEON

  • Vulnerably and courage on NETFLIX

Epigenetics: the study of changes in organisms caused by the modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.

Steve W. Cole: The genomic perspective on human well-being

  • Being connected is as good as smoking is bad for your health (Life expectancy)
  • Social isolation downregulates the expression of gens that promote wellbeing! 

Barbara Frederickson: The role of positive emotions in Positive Psychology

  • The Broaden and Build Theory: Positive Emotions broaden our momentary thought-action repertoires, creating opportunities for building enduring personal resources - long lasting beneficial effects on our lives.
  • We need three positive emotions for each negative emotion; Positivity ratio:  3:1
  • Compare sailing yacht’s sail 3* and keel 1*
  • Can you recognize and label the emotions you experience? 
  • According to Brenee Brown: Most people can only identify three emotions: Happy, sad and pissed off.
  • Important is that we label our emotions correctly because language seems to be an ingredient of emotions shaping its experience.   

Positive Psychology and Road Safety:

  • Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive .. and to drive safely 
  • There is a extremely strong correlation between life satisfaction and Driver Violation
  • What is your response when someone overtakes dangerously and recklessly: Raging anger?
  • How about some compassion and curiosity for the underlying cause of reckless driving? It is very likely that the driver is unwell - perhaps overwhelmed, putting himself or herself (and others) in great danger.
  • Flourishing Drivers: are neither bored nor stressed - are mindful to present moments - have good emotional and impulse control - do not ruminate or mind wander - are assertive but not defensive - are kind, generous, loving - have good relationships – and .... are safe drivers!

Positive Psychology and Neuroscience

Neuroplasticity: The ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to the learning or experience or following injury.

The mind is what the brain does.

  • fMRIs can observe the brain at work and has been useful in answering positive psychology questions.   
  • e.g., Tania Singer and Olga M. Klimeck:  Difference between empathy and compassion

(see reading)   

Please feel free to get in touch with me 


1. From Bobbie: It is being used in studies regarding Generational and Historical Trauma.

2. From Toni: Because it is an expression vs a permanent change in the genetic code, is it a longer term change or can it change?

3. From Toni: is Brene’s sample of analysis based in America? compared with say Europe?

4. From Annick: Is the correlation between life satisfaction and driver violation age dependant?

5. From Christina: What was the reference for the compassion/empathy article please?

6. Many people in the audience are keen to hear more about your story Robert!... So the question is when will that new lecture be?


  • November 08, 2022 9:02 PM | Robert Isler (Administrator)
    Answers to the questions: (Thanks for them)
    1. To Bobbie: Sounds interesting - can you extend a little on this, putting it into context.
    2. To Toni: Expressions of gens are short-term - and cannot be inherited
    3. To Toni: I think Brene Brown gets her data from social platforms - mostly from the USA.
    4. To Annick: Age was not an independent variable. I would assume that the correlation is robust across the middle aged but that needs to be tested.
    5. To Christina, T. Singer and O. Klimecki (?). Empathy and compassion. Current Biology, Vol 24, No 18 (Special Issue)
    end me an email and I attach the Pdf (
    6. We will discuss this in our committee and get back to you.
    Thanks for your interest!
    Link  •  Reply

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