Authors

Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas

Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas

 

Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., is the science director of the Greater Good Science Center, where she oversees the GGSC’s fellowship program, is a co-instructor of its Science of Happiness online course, and helps run its Expanding Gratitude project.

Emiliana is a leading expert on the neuroscience and psychology of compassion, kindness, gratitude, and other “pro-social” skills. She earned her doctorate in Cognition Brain and Behavior at UC Berkeley, where her dissertation used behavioral and neuroscience methods to examined how negative states like fear and aversion influence thinking and decision-making. During her postdoc, Emiliana transitioned to studying pro-social states like love of humanity, compassion, and awe. From there, Emiliana served as Associate Director/Senior Scientist at CCARE (the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University), focusing on how compassion benefits health, well-being, and psychosocial functioning.

Today, Emiliana’s work spotlights the science that connects health and happiness to social affiliation, caregiving, and collaborative relationships, as she continues to examine the potential for – as well as the benefits of – living a more meaningful life.

 
 
  

Stories by Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas

Articles: Does Happiness Really Help You Live Longer?

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | December 18, 2015

A new study contradicts prior research by suggesting that a happy life isn’t necessarily a longer one. But a closer look reveals that there's more to the story.

 

Articles: Want to Be Happy? Make Your Relationships Exceptional

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | November 9, 2015

New data from our Science of Happiness course confirm the link between well-being and relationship quality.

 

Articles: Where’s Your Spot on the Happiness Starting Block?

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Kristophe Green | October 6, 2015

Here’s what we learned from The Science of Happiness 2015 pre-course survey.

 
A presentation by GGSC Science Director, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, on emotions, empathy and compassion, given on June 29, 2015 at the Greater Good Science Center’s Summer Institute for Educators.

Videos and Podcasts: Emiliana Simon-Thomas on Emotions, Empathy and Compassion, Part 3/3 (SIE15)

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | June 29, 2015

A presentation by GGSC Science Director, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, on emotions, empathy and compassion, given on June 29, 2015 at the Greater Good Science Center’s Summer Institute for Educators.

 
A presentation by GGSC Science Director, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, on emotions, empathy and compassion, given on June 29, 2015 at the Greater Good Science Center’s Summer Institute for Educators.

Videos and Podcasts: Emiliana Simon-Thomas on Emotions, Empathy and Compassion, Part 2/3 (SIE15)

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | June 29, 2015

A presentation by GGSC Science Director, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, on emotions, empathy and compassion, given on June 29, 2015 at the Greater Good Science Center’s Summer Institute for Educators.

 
A presentation by GGSC Science Director, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, on emotions, empathy and compassion, given on June 29, 2015 at the Greater Good Science Center’s Summer Institute for Educators.

Videos and Podcasts: Emiliana Simon-Thomas on Emotions, Empathy and Compassion, Part 1/3 (SIE15)

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | June 29, 2015

A presentation by GGSC Science Director, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, on emotions, empathy and compassion, given on June 29, 2015 at the Greater Good Science Center’s Summer Institute for Educators.

 

Articles: Do Happiness Practices Work?

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Tchikima Davis | June 3, 2015

Yes, they do. But first, you have to try them!

 
Emiliana Simon-Thomas and Dacher Keltner, co-instructors for GG101x: The Science of Happiness. You can still enroll for the self-paced course.

Articles: Can an Online Course Boost Happiness?

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Juliana Breines | April 22, 2015

Based on the results from our “Science of Happiness” class, the answer seems to be Yes!

 

Articles: Measuring Compassion in the Body

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | March 9, 2015

What happens in Vagus… may make or break compassion.

 

Articles: Five Ways to Get the Gift Right

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | December 15, 2014

Do presents make you anxious? Here are research-based techniques to help bring joy back into the holidays.

 
A presentation by Emiliana Simon-Thomas on the science of gratitude and how it can be applied in the classroom, given July 2, 2014, at the Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators.

Videos and Podcasts: Emiliana Simon-Thomas on Gratitude for Educators (SIE14)

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | July 2, 2014

A presentation by Emiliana Simon-Thomas on the science of gratitude and how it can be applied in the classroom, given July 2, 2014, at the Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators.

 
A presentation by Emiliana Simon-Thomas on the evolutionary and neurobiological foundations of pro-social behavior, given June 28, 2014, at the Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators.

Videos and Podcasts: Emiliana Simon-Thomas on Reclaiming Our Biological Endowment for Kindness (SIE14)

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | June 28, 2014

A presentation by Emiliana Simon-Thomas on the evolutionary and neurobiological foundations of pro-social behavior, given June 28, 2014, at the Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators.

 
The GGSC’s science director leads a session at the Greater Good Gratitude Summit about the physical, social, and mental health benefits of gratitude, featuring new insights from four leading researchers: Christina Karns, Wendy Berry Mendes, Jeff Huffman, and Philip Watkins.

Videos and Podcasts: The Gratitude Effect

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | June 7, 2014

The GGSC’s science director leads a session at the Greater Good Gratitude Summit about the physical, social, and mental health benefits of gratitude, featuring new insights from four leading researchers: Christina Karns, Wendy Berry Mendes, Jeff Huffman, and Philip Watkins.

 
In this presentation from the GGSC’s “Practicing Mindfulness & Compassion” conference, GGSC Science Director Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas explains why mindfulness meditation can help support the growth of compassion in the brain.

Videos and Podcasts: The Biology of Mindfulness and Compassion

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | September 25, 2013

In this presentation from the GGSC’s “Practicing Mindfulness & Compassion” conference, GGSC Science Director Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas explains why mindfulness meditation can help support the growth of compassion in the brain.

 
A presentation by Emiliana Simon-Thomas on the science of gratitude and how it can be applied in educational settings, given July 3, 2013, at the first annual Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators.

Videos and Podcasts: Emiliana Simon-Thomas on Gratitude for Educators

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | July 3, 2013

A presentation by Emiliana Simon-Thomas on the science of gratitude and how it can be applied in educational settings, given July 3, 2013, at the first annual Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators.

 

Articles: Think Your Organization Is Compassionate?

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Emily Nauman | July 3, 2013

See how it compares with the results from our Compassionate Organizations Quiz.

 

Articles: Here’s How Much You Love Humanity

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | May 21, 2013

Results from the Greater Good Science Center's "Love of Humanity" quiz.

 

Articles: Meditation Makes Us Act with Compassion

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | April 11, 2013

A new study suggests mindfulness meditation can help us overcome the "bystander effect."

 

Articles: Can a Bad Deed Lead to a Good One?

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas | April 3, 2013

A new study reveals how our frame of mind shapes our sense of right and wrong.

 
The GGSC's coverage of gratitude is sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation as part of our Expanding Gratitude project.

Articles: How Grateful are Americans?

By Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Jeremy Adam Smith | January 10, 2013

A new poll finds that Americans think their own gratitude is increasing, while everyone else’s is going down. The good news? This is impossible!

 

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    One principal shares how she transformed her school culture by recognizing her limitations – and then listening to students and staff.

  

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