Heriot-Watt University Professor Advises on Malaysia’s New Division of Positive Psychology



Positive Psychology is a growing branch of Psychology that offers a scientific study of what makes life most worth living. Malaysia actively recognises the important contributions of this field to psychology in general. 

We are pleased to share that Professor Dr. Deborah Hall, Professor of Positive Psychology has been appointed as one of divisional advisors for the Division of Positive Psychology under Malaysian Psychological Association (PSIMA), a platform for stakeholders to understand the development of Positive Psychology in Malaysia. The division which consists of psychology experts in this field is tasked to promote positive psychology across Malaysia and to provide continuing professional development for PSIMA members.

Professor Dr. Deborah also recently participated in a lively discussion forum on ‘The future of Positive Psychology in Malaysia’ organised by PSIMA on 9 October 2021 (Saturday). The launch was live streamed on the Division’s Facebook page.

Heriot-Watt University Malaysia Professor and Head of Psychology, School of Social Sciences Professor Deborah Hall said: “As a psychologist, I am interested in how the principles of Positive Psychology can be applied to enhance individuals, communities and society. In particular there needs to be a recognition of the differences between cultures in how well-being is construed, and how this affects the interpretation of well-being theories. For example, in American culture personal agency is central, whereas in Asia greater importance is placed on family and sense of duty. As Malaysia’s first full Professor of Positive Psychology, I feel passionate about leveraging on my research experience to support my local colleagues in developing this branch of Psychology here in Malaysia.”

Professor Dr. Deborah also explained that at Heriot-Watt Malaysia University Malaysia, Provost and Chief Executive Officer, Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi is very passionate about enabling young people to develop their full potential. The University has embedded Positive Psychology into its managerial structure, curriculum, and teaching practice. 

"Our EmPOWER programme is offered to all students and it provides training in developing self-awareness, and experiencing and expressing positive emotions  amongst others, and helps students to discover their sense of purpose. Teaching our students in this way also makes the environment a great place to work as a member of staff," added Professor Hall.

To read more on Professor Hall’s story, visit her LinkedIn