Spring 2008 (Volume IV, Issue 4)


Let’s Play! Why We Need to Have More Fun

Research shows that play is essential to healthy social, emotional, and academic development, but kids today are doing less and less of it. This issue of Greater Good explores why play is so important—for kids and adults— and how we can bring it back.

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From The Editors

In Brief

Alien Kindness (02)

By | March 1, 2008

How can scientists beam altruism into outer space?


Friend or Family? (03)

By | March 1, 2008


States of Sadness (04)

By | March 1, 2008


The Good, the Bad, and the Baby (05)

By | March 1, 2008


The Effects of Arguments (06)

By | March 1, 2008


A Smile You Can Trust (07)

By | March 1, 2008


Can You Be Too Happy? (08)

By | March 1, 2008


Making Racism History (09)

By | March 1, 2008


Brain Teaser

Guest Column

A doctor tends to a man hurt by Hurricane Katrina.

Hot to Help (12)

By | March 1, 2008

When can empathy move us to action?



Adams on a "humanitarian clowning" trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Playing Doctor (13)

By | March 1, 2008

An Interview with Patch Adams



Can We Play? (14)

By | March 1, 2008

Play is essential to positive human development, but kids are playing less and less, says psychologist David Elkind. What can we do to build a new culture of play?


Playing for Peace (15)

By | March 1, 2008


Games Animals Play (16)

By | March 1, 2008

Animal play is serious business, say scientists Lee Alan Dugatkin and Sarina Rodrigues.


Confessions of an Anxious Parent (17)

By | March 1, 2008

Are today’s parents afraid to let their kids play on their own? Jill Suttie tries to strike a balance between safety, freedom, and success.


The Wild Ones (18)

By | March 1, 2008

Throughout American history, adults have tried to control children’s play. But Howard P. Chudacoff argues that in the end, the kids will always win.


Playing the Blame Game (19)

By | March 1, 2008

Video games stand accused of causing obesity, violence, and lousy grades. But new research paints a surprisingly complicated and positive picture, reports Jeremy Adam smith.

Marjorie Taylor (left) has been studying pretend play for the last two decades, talking with children about their imaginary friends. All the illustrations with this article were drawn by children she interviewed.

With Friends Like These (21)

By | March 1, 2008

It’s normal and healthy for children to have imaginary friends, explain Marjorie Taylor and Alison B. Shawber. But what do these friends say about the children who create them?


You’re It! (22)

By | March 1, 2008

Play isn’t just for kids, reports Karen Solomon

A female chimpanzee (right) kisses a male as they reconcile after a fight. Research has found similar examples of forgiveness and reconciliation across the animal kingdom.

The Forgiveness Instinct (23)

By | March 1, 2008

To understand the human potential for peace, we have to learn three simple truths about forgiveness and revenge.

Dawn Rouse struggled with depression in the years after he daughter's birth. She's now pursuing a Ph.D. in child development and has become committed to raising public awareness on postpartum illness.

The Postpartum Brain (24)

By | March 1, 2008

New research casts light on the depression and troubling thoughts many mothers experience after childbirth. And it may help erase some of the stigma they feel says Anna J. Abramson

The author's youngest son, Julian, has started to reject playing with female action figures.

The Heroine with 1,000 Faces (30)

By | March 1, 2008

We tend to think of the hero as a man in a dramatic situation, running into a burning building to save someone. But what does the heroism of women look like?


Tools for the Greater Good

Knowledge is Power (20)

By | March 1, 2008


Book Reviews

Digital Divides (25)

By | March 1, 2008

A Review of Republic.com 2.0 and Digital Citizenship
Republic.com 2.0 By Cass Sunstein Princeton University Press, 2007, 272 pages
Digital Citizenship By Karen Mossberger, Caroline J. Tolbert, and Ramona S. MCNeal The MIT Press, 2007, 272 pages


Book Review: How of Happiness (26)

By | March 1, 2008

By Sonja Lyubomirsky
The Penguin Press, 2007, 366 pages


Book Review: Forgive For love (27)

By | March 1, 2008

Forgive For love: The missing ingredient for a healthy and lasting relationship
By Fred Luskin
HarperOne, 2007, 240 pages


Book Review: The Path to Purpose (28)

By | March 1, 2008

The Path to Purpose: Helping our children find their calling in life
By William Damon
Free Press, 2008, 240 pages


Book Review: Giving (29)

By | March 1, 2008

Giving: How each of us can change the world
By Bill Clinton
Knopf, 2007, 256 pages


Ideas for the Greater Good

The Semai people of Malaysia have a long history of nonviolent conflict resolution.

Worlds Without War (31)

By | March 1, 2008

An Idea For The Greater Good




Greater Good Events

The Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators 2017
Clark Kerr Campus, UC-Berkeley
Sunday, June 25 - Friday, June 30, 2017 OR Sunday, July 16 - Friday, July 21, 2017

The Greater Good Science Center Summer Institute for Educators 2017

The GGSC’s six-day Summer Institute equips education professionals with prosocial learning strategies, tools and processes that benefit both students and teachers.


Take a Greater Good Quiz!

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


Watch Greater Good Videos

Jon Kabat-Zinn

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


Greater Good Resources


Book of the Week

Roots of Empathy By Mary Gordon Mary Gordon explains how best to nurture empathy and social emotional literacy in all children—and thereby reduce aggression, antisocial behavior, and bullying.

Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.
"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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