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Summer 2008 (Volume V, Issue 1)


Are We Born Racist?

Do we really live in a “post-racial” society? Studies show that our prejudices have deep psychological roots; they may be wired into our brains. But research has also identified strategies for reducing and even overcoming prejudice. This issue of Greater Good explores how we can put this research into practice.

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From The Editors

From the Editors: Summer 2008 (01)

By Dacher Keltner, Jason Marsh | June 1, 2008

Are we really living in a “post-racial” America?


In Brief

"Laughter is one of those human mysteries about which we know essentially nothing," says psychologist Jaak Panksepp.

Tickled Pink: Why Scientists Want to Make Rats Laugh (02)

By | June 1, 2008


Aping a Smile (03)

By | June 1, 2008


Golden Years (04)

By | June 1, 2008


The Haves of Happiness (05)

By | June 1, 2008


Old and Open-Minded (06)

By | June 1, 2008


Forgive Me? (07)

By | June 1, 2008


Can a Friend a Day Keep the Doctor Away? (08)

By | June 1, 2008


Generosity on the Brain (09)

By | June 1, 2008


Is Kindness Really Its Own Reward? (10)

By | June 1, 2008


Guest Column

The Secret to Success (12)

By | June 1, 2008

New research says social-emotional learning helps students in every way.



The Obama Factor (13)

By | June 1, 2008

An interview with historian Clayborne Carson



Within a moment of seeing a photograph of an apparently homeless man, people's brains set off a sequence of reactions characteristic of disgust and avoidance.

Look Twice (14)

By | June 1, 2008

Susan T. Fiske has some bad news: Prejudice might be hardwired in our brains. But the good news is that we can still learn to override our prejudices and embrace difference.


Can You Police Bias? (15)

By | June 1, 2008


Rubbing Off (16)

By | June 1, 2008

Allison Briscoe-Smith explains how kids learn about race—and how their parents can foster tolerance.


Mix It Up! (17)

By | June 1, 2008

Despite some progress, racism is still pervasive in American schools, reports Jennifer Holladay. Here’s what schools can do to promote tolerance and equality.


Framed! (19)

By | June 1, 2008

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton argues that we must look to our prejudices, not our genes, to explain achievement gaps.


The Unhealthy Racist (20)

By | June 1, 2008


Rising Together (21)

By | June 1, 2008

Jennifer A. Chatman explains how companies can fight prejudice in the workplace.


Double Blood (22)

By | June 1, 2008

Multiracial people have faced their own particular breeds of prejudice and anxiety, reports Rebecca Walker. But new research, and a new generation, offers hope for the future.


Perfectly Natural (23)

By | June 1, 2008

Nancy Bardacke (center) demonstrates a soothing touch on Mary Pearsall, who was participating in Bardacke's Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting course.

The Mindful Birth (24)

By | June 1, 2008

A new program is applying mindfulness meditation to childbirth and parenting. Could it lead to healthier babies?


Seeing Human (25)

By | June 1, 2008

Human beings have a deep-seated tendency to humanize everything around them. Is it delusion—or a natural and healthy response to loneliness?


Book Reviews

Author Eric Weiner found that the relatively happy people of Bhutan (left) and Iceland (upper right) have governments that are responsive to their needs, but that the unhappy Moldovans (lower right) are distrusting and uncooperative.

The Trouble With Happiness (26)

By | June 1, 2008

Three new books explore the upsides of sadness and the downsides of happiness.


Book Review: Spark (27)

By | June 1, 2008

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain
By John J. Ratey, with Eric Hagerman, Little, Brown and Company, 2008, 304 pages


Book Review: The Cure Within (28)

By | June 1, 2008

The Cure Within: A history of mind-body medicine
By Anne Harrington, W. W. Norton, 2008, 354 pages


A Review: The Wise Heart (29)

By | June 1, 2008

The Wise Heart: A guide to the universal teachings of Buddhist Psychology
By Jack Kornfield, Bantam Books, 2008, 448 pages


Book Review: Beyond Revenge (30)

By | June 1, 2008

Beyond Revenge: The Evolution of the Forgiveness Instinct
By Michael McCullough, Jossey-Bass, 2008, 320 pages


Pop Culture Review

The Mist continued the Hollywood tradition of depicting humans as prone to panic.

The Mist of Panic (31)

By | June 1, 2008

How do people respond to disasters? Hollywood and science disagree.


Ideas for the Greater Good

Magic for Muggles (32)

By | June 1, 2008



  • The Science of Happiness

    March 28, 2015

  • Why Evolution Made Forgiveness Difficult

    March 24, 2015

    Nature endowed humanity with both revenge and forgiveness as tools of conflict resolution. But why does one seem so much harder than the other?

  • Happiness Greatest Hits

    March 20, 2015

    Today is the UN's International Day of Happiness! To celebrate, here's a list of some of our most illuminating and helpful happiness research, tools, and tips.


Greater Good Events

How Compassion Creates Resilience, with Kelly McGonigal
International House, UC Berkeley campus
May 20, 2015

How Compassion Creates Resilience, with Kelly McGonigal

A book event for The Upside of Stress


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

The Path to Purpose By William Damon Looks at how children are hampered in their search for meaning, and how concerned adults can help them find it.

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"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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