Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., is the science director of the Greater Good Science Center, where she directs the GGSC’s research fellowship program, is a co-instructor of its Science of Happiness and Science of Happiness at Work online courses, and runs key study initiatives like Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude.
Emiliana is a leading expert on the neuroscience and psychology of compassion, kindness, gratitude, and other prosocial skills that bolster human happiness. She earned her doctorate in Cognition Brain and Behavior at UC Berkeley, where her dissertation used behavioral and neuroscience methods to examine how unpleasant emotions influence thinking and decision-making. During her postdoc, Emiliana shifted to studying the origins and effects of prosocial states like love of humanity, compassion, and awe. Before joining GGSC in 2010, Emiliana served as Associate Director/Senior Scientist at CCARE (the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University), focusing on how compassion benefits health, well-being, and psychosocial functioning.
Today, Emiliana’s work spotlights the science that connects health and happiness to social affiliation, caregiving, and collaborative relationships, as she continues to examine the potential for – as well as the benefits of – living a more meaningful life.