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About the Greater Good Science Center

 

Our Mission

The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

image Illustration by Leigh Wells

Based at the University of California, Berkeley, the GGSC is unique in its commitment to both science and practice: not only do we sponsor groundbreaking scientific research into social and emotional well-being, we help people apply this research to their personal and professional lives. Since 2001, we have been at the fore of a new scientific movement to explore the roots of happy and compassionate individuals, strong social bonds, and altruistic behavior—the science of a meaningful life. And we have been without peer in our award-winning efforts to translate and disseminate this science to the public.

We have pursued this mission through the following activities, which are supported by people like you:

Greater Good magazine is home of our rich array of award-winning media, from articles to videos, quizzes, podcasts, and newsletters—all for free, for everyone. In the process, it provides a bridge between social scientists and parents, educators, community leaders, and policy makers.

Fellowships to UC Berkeley undergraduate and graduate students are the foundation of the Center’s scientific initiatives. The GGSC’s fellowship program supports scholars whose work relates to our mission, from across a broad spectrum of academic disciplines. Previous GGSC fellows have gone on to top research and teaching positions at universities nationwide, providing a significant boost to the science of compassion, resilience, altruism, and happiness.

The GGSC Education Program provides regular coverage of new trends in social-emotional learning and contemplative practice in education and focuses on fostering the well-being of students, teachers, and school leaders. It also runs an annual Summer Institute for Educators, which equips education professionals with social-emotional learning tools that benefit both students and teachers, and cultivate a positive school climate.

Our free online course is called “The Science of Happiness.” For eight weeks, the GGSC’s Dacher Keltner and Emiliana Simon-Thomas lead students through the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives.

GGSC events bring together leading scientists, educators, and members of the public to discuss concrete strategies for promoting the greater good. Most recently, our Science of a Meaningful Life seminar series has included presentations by luminaries like Paul Ekman, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Barbara Fredrickson, and Philip Zimbardo, many of which can be watched in our video archive.

The Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude project supports the scientific research and promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in schools, workplaces, homes, and communities. This initiative is supported with funding from the John Templeton Foundation and run in collaboration with the University of California, Davis.

The Raising Happiness blog, created by Christine Carter, Ph.D., the director of the GGSC’s Greater Good Parents program. In her award-winning, one-of-a-kind blog (formerly named Half Full), Carter offers science-based tips for more joyful kids and happier parents. She combines her work as a sociologist and happiness expert with her experiences as a mother, producing a rich, humorous, and credible guide to raising kids in the 21st century.

These programs are supported by donors large and small—and we hope you’ll consider signing up as a member.

imageTo learn more about the GGSC, please download our brochure, which includes our “Six Habits of Happiness.”

 

Our Core Beliefs

  • Compassion is a fundamental human trait, with deep psychological and evolutionary roots. By creating environments that foster cooperation and altruism, we help nurture the positive side of human nature.
  • Happiness is not simply dependent on a person’s genes. It is a set of skills that can be taught, and, with practice, developed over time.
  • Happiness and altruism are intertwined—doing good is an essential ingredient to being happy, and happiness helps spur kindness and generosity.
  • Science should do more than help us understand human behavior and emotion in the abstract; it should be applied toward improving people’s personal and professional lives.
  • Studying the roots of good, healthy, and positive behavior is just as important as studying human pathologies. To promote individual and social well-being, science must examine how people overcome difficult circumstances and how they develop positive emotions and relationships.
  • Individual well-being promotes social well-being, and social well-being promotes individual well-being. The well-being of society as a whole can best be achieved by providing information, tools, and skills to those people directly responsible for shaping the well-being of others.
 

Join Us

Become a member of the Greater Good Science Center to enjoy exclusive articles, videos, discounts, and other special benefits.

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Most...

  
  • How Self-Compassion Beats Rumination

    August 20, 2014

    A new study suggests that self-compassion improves mood, largely by helping us avoid negative rumination.

  • Eight Keys to End Bullying

    August 26, 2014

    Can we stop bullying? Signe Whitson says yes—by consistently reaching out to both children who bully and those who are bullied.

  • Can Purpose Keep You Alive?

    August 27, 2014

    Young people: Do you want to live longer? Try finding a sense of purpose in your life.

  

Greater Good Events

Joshua Wolf Shenk on Creativity and the Powers of Two
Hillside Club
September 25, 2014


Joshua Wolf Shenk on Creativity and the Powers of Two

Author Joshua Shenk in Conversation on creativity and dynamic duos with cofounder of Mother Jones, Adam Hochschild


» ALL EVENTS
 
 

Take a Greater Good Quiz!

How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!

» TAKE A QUIZ
 

Watch Greater Good Videos

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.

Watch
 

Greater Good Resources

 
 
» MORE STUDIES
 
 
» MORE ORGS
 

Book of the Week

29 Gifts By Cami Walker Walker’s life is in a downward spiral until she takes unusual advice from a friend: to give away 29 gifts in 29 days.

» READ MORE
 
Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.

Dr. Christine Carter's blog on the science of raising happy kids.

» READ MORE
 
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Sponsors

The Quality of Life Foundation logo Special thanks to

The Quality of Life Foundation for its support of the Greater Good Science Center

 
"It is a great good and a great gift, this Greater Good. I bow to you for your efforts to bring these uplifting and illuminating expressions of humanity, grounded in good science, to the attention of us all."  
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

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