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Announcing Thnx4.org!

Announcement | October 18, 2012

The Greater Good Science Center is launching a web-based, interactive, shareable gratitude journal—that also serves as a scientific tool for understanding what it means when we say "thank you."

Thnx4.org is currently on hiatus! Look for a new and improved version in Fall 2013!

Thanksgiving is coming up. But what does it mean to give thanks? And do we say “thank you” enough?

That’s what UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center is trying to find out with a new, interactive, shareable gratitude journal called Thnx4.org, which officially launches on November 1, 2012. It’s part of a $5.6 million, three-year project called Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, funded by the John Templeton Foundation.

Thnx4.org represents a unique cross-disciplinary collaboration. It was conceived by GGSC editor-in-chief Jason Marsh. His colleagues Jeremy Adam Smith, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, and Dacher Keltner worked with UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, the design and development company Quilted, and game designer Chelsea Howe—one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business 2012”—to develop Thnx4.org.

For individual users, Thnx4.org provides a guided two-week exercise designed by experts to make gratitude a daily practice. Every day, they’ll get tips on enhancing gratitude and they’ll be able to keep a private journal and say “thnx” publicly through Facebook, Twitter, or email. In the end, they’ll find out how 14 days of gratitude awareness affected their mood and health—and they’ll be able to read expressions of gratitude from other people in their community.

After they complete the two-week Gratitude Challenge, they’ll be able to keep using Thnx4.org to capture moments of thankfulness and find out what makes their community feel grateful.

For scientists, it provides a source of research data that will be used to study the causes, effects, and meaning of gratitude. Researchers will be able to explore questions such as:

  • Does a moment of thankfulness statistically predict the likelihood of a pay-it-forward response?
  • Which gender is more likely to spread gratitude? Do men tend to feel grateful for different things than women?
  • Does gratitude practice have any discernible racial, ethnic, or regional variations?
  • Does expressing gratitude toward people of different races affect prejudice?
  • Does gratitude mitigate the effect of burnout in health care settings?
  • Does there tend to be an ebb and flow of gratitude over our lifetimes?

Thnx4.org launches on November 1 with the “Cal Gratitude Challenge”—an invitation to students, staff, faculty, and alumnae of the University of California, Berkeley, to say “thnx” every day for two weeks. However, anyone, anywhere, can take the Gratitude Challenge. To get started, just go to Thnx4.org and register.

  • If you are a researcher interested in using Thnx4.org, please contact gratitude@berkeley.edu
  • If you’d like to bring a Gratitude Challenge to your campus, company, or community, contact gratitude@berkeley.edu
  • Media queries should be directed to Mila Fairfax at 925-709-4648 or mila@casacanis.com
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I hope my comment will be accepted with the
sincerity in which it is offered and not as mere nay-
saying. I accepted a recent email invitation to
participate in a gratitude project.

I found data collection to be interminably long and
wrong-headed with respect to attachment. I
completed it in two sittings, rushing through the
second half from impatience, simply repeatedly
hitting the midpoint of the Likert scale to get to
the end.

The attachment material goes back a couple
decades to Hazan and Shaver or Bartholomew and
Horowitz and is limited to romantic relationships.
While those researchers brilliantly struck out in a
new direction which confirmed and extended
Bowlby’s and Ainsworth’s work, it’s also limited in
application to the general population I believe
you’re after.

The morning email reminders I found rather silly.
It’s pretty meaningless to rate my day when it’s only
been ten minutes long at that point.

While your likely number of participants may give
you sufficient numbers to produce significant
results, I hope you’ll reconceptualize your design
for the next time.

John Burik | 7:20 am, November 18, 2012 | Link

 
Jeremy Adam Smith's avatar

Thanks for your comment. We are in fact getting a lot of
feedback along these lines, and we will be gradually
improving Thnx4.org and changing the questionnaire.

Jeremy Adam Smith | 10:49 am, November 19, 2012 | Link

 
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