Robert Emmons Argues that Gratitude is “Queen of the Virtues”

By Jason Marsh | September 21, 2012 | 0 comments

In a new essay for Big Questions Online, he says we overlook gratitude's greatest benefits when we just focus on happiness.

The GGSC’s coverage of gratitude is sponsored by the <a href=“”>John Templeton Foundation</a> as part of our <a href=“”>Expanding Gratitude</a> project. The GGSC's coverage of gratitude is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation as part of our Expanding Gratitude project.

We often report on the connections between gratitude and happiness—our very own Christine Carter has suggested that the two are so closely related that they’re practically synonymous.

But in a new essay he wrote for the John Templeton Foundation‘s Big Questions Online series, Robert Emmons argues that we sell gratitude short when we see it strictly as a happiness booster—it’s a lot more important than that.

“Gratitude is the adhesive that binds members of society together,” he writes. “Gratitude is a morally complex disposition, and reducing this virtue to a technique or strategy to improve one’s mood is to do it an injustice.”

You can read the complete essay, including Emmons’ suggestions for cultivating gratitude, here.

And for more on gratitude, check out our Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude project, of which Emmons is the co-director.

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Jason Marsh is the editor in chief of Greater Good.


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