In the early 2000s, instead of obsessing on human failings and flaws as psychologists had previously done (think Freud), a new group of professionals suggested a shift in emphasis to what makes humans strong, gritty, resilient … happy. Thanks to pioneers like Martin Seligman, Robert Emmons, and Emiliana Simon-Thomas, a new field of psychology was born with its best-selling books, national summits and contentment gurus. Developments in the field have only accelerated since then. In fact, science has discovered that we humans can actually be taught many (sometimes unexpected) things about happiness
In The News
Happiness is a powerful magnet, judging by the number of people who have signed up to take UC Berkeley’s new Science of Happiness Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): More than 76,000, with more than two weeks to go before the class goes live.
UC Berkeley psychology professor and GGSC founder Dacher Keltner discusses happiness, gratitude, the field of positive psychology, and GGSC's upcoming "Science of Happiness" MOOC on RockItFuel Radio.
Environmental and relationship stimuli trigger emotional and chemical responses that can alter our mood, influence the chemistry of our body and brain, and even affect our immune system. For some, the response is momentary, lasting only long enough to avoid or overcome the threat. For others, however, it goes beyond the fight-or-flight response in meeting the threat and sets off obsessive rumination — worry.
Assigning genders to toys harms boys, as well. Too often children’s playrooms reinforce gender stereotypes that put boys at risk of failing to gain skills critical for success in life and work. The most important of these? Empathy.
The Dalai Lama famously said, "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." The same is certainly true for generosity!
Only 20 percent of the students said that caring for others was the most essential. That left 80 percent of kids who ranked achievement and their personal happiness as top priorities.
Millennials are less likely to marry, vote, follow a religion or stick to one job. And right now, the demographic cohort aged 18 to 33 is signing up in droves for UC Berkeley’s new Science of Happiness Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).
Photo courtesy of Humans of Berkeley.
Hosted by the University of California at Berkeley, an online course on fostering and practicing happiness has attracted over 50,000 students so far--and it doesn't even start until September.
Studies have repeatedly confirmed that gratitude lies at the heart of joy. The Greater Good Gratitude Summit explored gratitude as an ancient source of wisdom as well as a modern object of study, and dove into its relationships with positive emotions, social relationships, physical health, and its role as a key driver of a larger social good.
Students around the world will soon be able to study the intricacies behind turning frowns upside down in a new online course to be offered by UC Berkeley this fall.
40% of your happiness is up to you. The team at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center is pioneering the nation's first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the Science of Happiness to show you how.
A bevy of new tech geared towards mental wellness, including the Greater Good Science Center's "Science of Happiness" MOOC.
UC Berkeley’s “The Science of Happiness” is poised to make history in online education. Why?
He gave away his last $30 million and felt free—a case study in altruism.
The course emphasizes two main (scientifically-proven) keys to happiness: Strong social ties, and a sense of purpose or connection to the greater good.
GGSC's Dacher Keltner talks about identifying facial expressions to potentially aid with diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as depression or autism.
Greater Good funder the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust was created “to inspire a movement of empathetic citizens who, with mutual respect and understanding, ultimately build an increasingly civil society.”
Jason Marsh, Greater Good's editor in chief, talks about forgiveness, optimism, and compassion after a tragic event.
Pharrell's feeling "Happy," but how about you? In honor of the UN's International Day of Happiness on March 20, we're delving into what it is that makes us happy and why we should strive for happiness — or not. Christine Carter, sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, shares what it is that makes us most happy.
GGSC's Dacher Keltner works with Arthuro Bejar, a Facebook engineer who heads the compassion research, on Stickers.
The GGSC's Jeremy Adam Smith appears on "Forum" with former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich to discuss the widening income disparity between elementary school PTAs. In San Francisco, PTA fundraising for elementary schools has increased by nearly 800 percent over the past decade, and many local schools raise hundreds of thousands of dollars a year from parents. But where does that leave schools with predominantly low-income students, whose parents may not be able to afford to chip in? Is the disparity in private funding among public schools widening the gap between rich and poor?
An unprecedented alliance between UC Berkeley, Stanford, UCLA, and Cal Tech aims to remedy a seemingly intractable nationwide problem: Too few underrepresented minority Ph.D. students in the mathematical, physical and computer sciences and in engineering are advancing to postdoctoral and faculty ranks at top-tier research universities.
“A sense of community and belonging are important aspects of any academic endeavor,” GGSC director and Berkeley professor Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton said, “and mentorship and feeling support from one’s mentors are important predictors of a student’s success and choice of profession." Mendoza-Denton is research director for the Alliance’s data collection and analysis work.
GGSC's founder, Dacher Keltner, and science director, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, help Facebook adopt new, research-tested social resolution tools.
Greater Good education director Vicki Zakrzewski helps explain the science behind the success of the Mindful Life Project, an initiative to establish meditation and mindfulness programs in elementary schools.
A mindfulness teacher shares what he's learned about teaching moment-to-moment awareness to teenagers.
A new study suggests that self-compassion improves mood, largely by helping us avoid negative rumination.
Dr. Daniel Siegel explains how changes to the adolescent brain transform relationships with peers and parents—and what adults can learn from those changes.
Greater Good Events
Take a Greater Good Quiz!
How compassionate are you? How generous, grateful, or forgiving? Find out!» TAKE A QUIZ
Watch Greater Good Videos
Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.Watch
Greater Good Resources
- "Gratitude and Prosocial Behavior"
Finds that feeling gratitude produces kind and helpful behavior, even when that behavior is costly to the individual actor.
- "Compassion: An Evolutionary Analysis and Empirical Review"
Compassion evolved as a distinct affective experience whose function is to enable cooperation and protection of those who...
- "From Jerusalem to Jericho"
This article on bystander intervention in emergency situations suggests that we are likely to help a “shabbily dressed”...
- Center for Investigating Healthy Minds
The Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, runs a state-of-the-art neuroscience...
- Northeast Foundation for Children
Northeast Foundation for Children is a non-profit educational organization that offers educators the Responsive Classroom...
- Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship
Based at the University of Michigan Business School, this is a networking community for researchers and practitioners...
Book of the Week
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Dr. Christine Carter's blog on the science of raising happy kids.» READ MORE
SponsorsSpecial thanks to
The Quality of Life Foundation for its support of the Greater Good Science Center
Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program