Virtue, Positive Psychology, and Religion: Consideration of an Overarching Virtue and an Underpinning Mechanism

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The virtues are a central focus of research at the intersection of positive psychology and the psychology of religion and spirituality. Humility, patience, and gratitude are addressed in the target articles of this special issue. Beyond examining each individual virtue, we argue here that the connections among virtues also warrant empirical attention. Specifically, we explain the unity of the virtues thesis, which suggests that individual virtues may be a part of a larger overarching construct, which we propose may be practical wisdom, or simply general virtuousness. Similarly, we propose that a common mechanism, such as automatic self-regulation, may facilitate these virtuous expressions. Thus, despite differences in content and expression, most virtues may have a common overarching construct and undergirding mechanism.

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