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The Spiritual Edge: The key to happiness? It’s in the science

From KALW (NPR San Francisco) | February 18, 2015

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!


Past Stories

The Benefits of Generosity

From Huffington Post | June 13, 2014

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!


For Today’s Kids, Achievement and Happiness Trumps Caring For Others

From GreatSchools | July 10, 2014

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. In a moment when the country is engaged in a knockdown about education standards, the middle class is disappearing, and there’s a steady drumbeat about our children’s lack of global competitiveness, this news shouldn’t surprise us.


Science of Happiness MOOC captivates millenials

From UC Berkeley News Center | June 30, 2014

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.


UC Berkeley “Science of Happiness” course attracts 50,000 online students

From San Francisco Business Times | June 30, 2014

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.


Gratitude Summit Explores the Queen of the Virtues

From Templeton Report | June 26, 2014

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.


UC Berkeley offers open online course on the Science of Happiness

From Daily Cal | June 3, 2014

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.


Happiness Isn’t Just a Warm Puppy—UC Berkeley is First to Make it an Online Course

From Cal Alumni Association | June 23, 2014

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.


Positive Psychology Begets Positive Technology

From | June 5, 2014

A bevy of new tech geared towards mental wellness, including the Greater Good Science Center's "Science of Happiness" MOOC.


Can Happiness Become the World’s Most Popular Course?

From Forbes | May 13, 2014

UC Berkeley’s “The Science of Happiness” is poised to make history in online education. Why?


James Doty’s Helper’s High

From Nautilus | May 15, 2014

He gave away his last $30 million and felt free—a case study in altruism.


Why Tens of Thousands of People Are Signing Up for the GGSC’s Happiness Course

From Huffington Post | April 23, 2014

The course emphasizes two main (scientifically-proven) keys to happiness: Strong social ties, and a sense of purpose or connection to the greater good.


Ever felt ‘happily disgusted’? Computer maps 21 distinct facial expressions

From | March 31, 2014

GGSC's Dacher Keltner talks about identifying facial expressions to potentially aid with diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as depression or autism.


David Einhorn’s Focus on Empathy

From Inside Philanthropy | March 27, 2014

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.”


Burned Oakland teen’s mother teaches power of forgiveness

From San Jose Mercury News | March 21, 2014

Jason Marsh, Greater Good's editor in chief, talks about forgiveness, optimism, and compassion after a tragic event.


So What Really Makes People Happy?

From Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism | March 20, 2014

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.


Facebook researchers design stickers to mimic human emotions

From SF Gate | March 15, 2014

GGSC's Dacher Keltner works with Arthuro Bejar, a Facebook engineer who heads the compassion research, on Stickers.


Are Well-Funded PTAs Widening the Education Inequality Gap?

From KQED's Forum | February 14, 2014

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?


New Alliance to Boost Number of Minority STEM Ph.D. Students

From Berkeley NewsCenter | February 13, 2014

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.


KPFA Morning Mix with Jeremy Smith

From San Francisco Public Press | 2/6/2014


GGSC Helps Facebook Develop Conflict Resolution Tools

From UC Berkeley NewsCenter | January 21, 2014

GGSC's founder, Dacher Keltner, and science director, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, help Facebook adopt new, research-tested social resolution tools.


Low-Income Schools See Big Benefits in Teaching Mindfulness

From KQED MindShift | January 17, 2014

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.


From the Field: Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude

From CBS Boston | December 23, 2013

Professor Peter Blake of Boston University looks at what motivates kids to be generous. Funded by the GGSC's Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude project.


Facebook’s Compassion Research Day Taps GGSC Talent

From ABC 7, Bay Area | December 5, 2013

ABC 7 News covers Facebook's Fourth Annual Compassion Research Day, including presentations from Greater Good's founding faculty director, Dacher Keltner, and science director, Emiliana Simon-Thomas.


Greater Good’s Musical Connection

From UC Berkeley NewsCenter | November 26, 2013

Judging by the ways that our brains and bodies respond, it seems humans may be wired for music. And the GGSC's Development Director, Jesse Antin, is keyed in to that fact


People Spend More When They ‘Pay It Forward’

From UC Berkeley NewsCenter | November 26, 2013

New research from a GGSC Gratitude Dissertation Fellow sheds new light on the psychological and social forces – such as fairness, obligation, and reciprocity – that guide consumer decisions beyond getting the best deal


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Greater Good Events

Frans de Waal on Prosocial Primates: Empathy in Animals and Humans
Sibley Auditorium, UC Berkeley Campus
March 9, 2015

Frans de Waal on Prosocial Primates: Empathy in Animals and Humans

Frans de Waal—one of Discover’s 47 Great Minds of Science—reviews expressions of empathy and the sense of fairness in animals.


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

Born for Love By Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz Szalavitz and Perry examine the development of empathy in children, why it is crucial for society, and how it may be threatened in the modern world.

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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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