Researchers think of happiness as having satisfaction and meaning in your life. It’s the propensity to feel positive emotions, the capacity to recover from negative emotions quickly, and holding a sense of purpose. Happiness is not having a lot of privilege or money. It’s not constant pleasure. It’s a broader thing: Our ability to connect with others, to have meaningful relationships, to have a community.
In The News
Studies show that the wealthy are less empathetic than the poor, whether they're driving a car or serving in Congress.
We are often told that we can be happy, if we try hard enough. By shifting our mindset, changing our lifestyles, or even writing a gratitude journal – happiness is waiting for all of us! But, what does science say? To find out, science journalist Wendy Zukerman speaks to Prof. Paul Frijters, Ass. Prof. Dianne Vella Brodrick and Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas. We’re also joined by the author of "The Happiness Myth," Jennifer Michael Hecht, as well as comedian Gen Fricker.
Happiness, resilience, connection, and kindness: these aren't just central qualities of a well-lived life, but skills that can be taught and developed over time—with practice.
Research-based strategies to help you appreciate this life
GGSC Founder Dacher Keltner and emotions expert Paul Ekman on the emotional life of Pixar's "Inside Out."
A growing body of research suggests that negative emotions and thoughts may also have links to other serious health problems, like heart disease.
GGSC Faculty Advisor Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton on the physical and social tolls of prejudice... and what we can do about it.
The creators of Pixar’s new film Inside Out weren’t just speculating when they broke human emotions into five distinct categories (and corresponding animated characters). The idea that we feel a limited number of emotions—joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and possibly a few others—is grounded in scientific research. To learn more about this spectrum, Fusion spoke with Dr. Dacher Keltner, whom the film’s creators consulted about the science of emotions. In this animated short, Keltner shares his insights on the unique nature of happiness—which, it turns out, is more altruistic than you might think.
GGSC's Jason Marsh on why the severe sentence brought down on the Boston Bomber may not help his victims heal.
New York Magazine's Science of Us column covers Jill Suttie's story on recent research on the power of moral elevation
Read about awe's role in the science of cognition, mental health, personal growth, and emotions--featuring our own Dacher Keltner!
GGSC Director Dacher Keltner on his research into the biological and evolutionary origins of compassion, awe, love, beauty, social class, and inequality...and how some of those manifest in sport.
Listen to a KALW/NPR podcast on diversity (or the lack thereof) in schools, featuring our own Jeremy Adam Smith.
Check out this handy infographic paired with an article by Christine Carter for commonsense strategies for keeping digital devices from ruling your life:
New research from GGSC Director Dacher Keltner on how and why awe is so great for us.
GGSC Science Director Emiliana Simon-Thomas launches the Huffington Post's new Gratitude section with a universal thank you to her fellow humans
The GGSC's Jeremy Adam Smith appears on KALW Radio's "Your Call" to talk about his recent story on racial segregation in San Francisco public schools
Author Greg Bruce tires of being morose and investigates the secrets of finding joy in your life - through GGSC's Science of Happiness online course
The GGSC's Emiliana Simon-Thomas on how increasing your connection to other makes reimagination easier
Research (and experience) shows, keeping a gratitude journal on a weekly basis experience a host of benefits! Read more in UC Berkeley's student newspaper, the Daily Californian.
U.C. Berkeley is known for its world-class scientists, in disciplines like physics, chemistry or biology. But just a few blocks away from campus, you’ll find the school’s Greater Good Science Center, where one scientist focuses on something different - the science of Happiness. Listen to an interview with Emiliana Simon-Thomas, and read about happiness and forgiveness!
There’s a science to happiness. And one of the centers for its study is right here in the Bay Area. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley studies human happiness, compassion and altruism. KALW sat down with its co-director Dacher Keltner, author of the book, Born To Be Good. Listen to the interview at the link!
"The riveting discovery happened early in my career when I was 21," Gazzaniga said. "A surgeon disconnects two hemispheres on Monday. On Tuesday, the patient has two minds. What does the split-brain tell us? The mind is rooted in biology; it's not an abstract concept floating around." Read on:
Listen to Radiolab discuss GGSC's work with Facebook on reducing user conflict and improving user interaction: find the podcast after the link!
We’re all in search of ways to become more productive, less stressed and better balanced between work and play. Sociologist and happiness expert Christine Carter talks about the strategies that work. (Audio interview)
Self-criticism and low self-worth can hold us back. Here’s how to start banishing those negative beliefs.
You can turn election stress into courage and compassion, says Kelly McGonigal. Here's how.
When we offer kids endless entertainment and activities, do we end up stifling their imaginations?
Greater Good Events
December 9-10, 2016
This workshop is an introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), an empirically-supported training program based on the pioneering research of Kristin Neff and the clinical perspective of Chris Germer.
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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”...
- Jeffrey J. Froh’s Laboratory for Gratitude in Youth
Learn more about one of the leading researchers of gratitude.
- Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude
The GGSC’s new project which aims to expand the scientific database of gratitude and promote practices of gratitude in...
- The Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness
The Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness, co-directed by Robert A. Emmons and Michael E. McCullough, is a...
Book of the Week
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Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program