STUDIES

  • If you want to dig deeper into "the science of a meaningful life," check out these seminal studies of compassion, happiness, mindfulness, and the GGSC's other core themes.

  • Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering

    Weng, Y.H., et. al. (2013). Compassion Training Alters Altruism and Neural Responses to Suffering Psychological Science, E-pub

    Study shows results that suggest that compassion can be cultivated with training and that greater altruistic behavior may emerge from increased engagement of neural systems implicated in understanding the suffering of other people, executive and emotional control, and reward processing.

  • The Cognitive and Emotive Uses of Forgiveness in the Treatment of Anger

    Fitzgibbons, R. P. (1986). The cognitive and emotive uses of forgiveness in the treatment of anger. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, Vol 23(4), 629-633.

  • Forgiveness: A Developmental View

    Enright, R.D., Gassin, E.A., Wu, C.R. (1992). Forgiveness: A Developmental View. Journal of Moral Education, 21(2), 99-114.

    Explores how people think about and go about forgiving others.

  • Latane, B., Darley, J.M. (1969). Bystander "Apathy." American Scientist, 57(2), 244-268.PDF

    Apathy, indifference, and unconcern are all inadequate to account for why we in 1964 failed to help Kitty Genovese when we knew she was being murdered. This article tells us exactly why we as bystanders won’t always be quick to intervene.

  • Post, S.G. (2005). Altruism, Happiness, and Health: It's Good to be Good. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 12(2), 66-77.PDF

    This article suggests that there exists a positive correlation between altruistic (other-regarding) emotions and behaviors and mental and physical health. As long as we are not overwhelmed by helping tasks, our compassionate emotions and behaviors are associated with our well-being, happiness, health, and longevity.

  • The ase for mindfulness- based approaches in the cultivation of empathy: does nonjudgmental, presen

  • Ickes, W., Funder, D.C., & West, S.G. (1993). Empathic Accuracy. Journal of Personality, 61(4), 587-610.PDF

    A look at people’s motivations to understand the psychological states of others and how those motivations influence the empathy felt toward that person.

  • Preston, S.D., & de Waal, F.B.M. (2001). Empathy: Its Ultimate and Proximate Bases Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 25, 1–72.PDF

    A model of empathy focusing on perception-action processes such as imitation, group alarm, and mother-infant responsiveness which drive the evolution of empathy.

  • The Relation of Empathy to Prosocial and Related Behaviors

    Eisenberg, N., & Miller, P. (1987). The Relation of Empathy to Prosocial and Related Behaviors. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 91–119.

    The relationship between empathy and prosocial behaviors, which are behaviors like helping and sharing done to assist others or the society as whole.

  • Stellar, J.E., Manzo, V.M., Kraus, M.W., Keltner, D. (2012). Class and Compassion: Socioeconomic Factors Predict Responses to Suffering. Emotion. 12(3), 449-459.PDF

    There’s a new form of poverty for the lower-class, and it’s negative emotions. But whereas lower-class individuals experience elevated negative emotions as compared with their upper-class counterparts, at least they feel and behave more compassionately—in other words, with concern for the suffering or well-being of others. This paper investigates the class disparity in dispositional compassion.

  • Killingsworth, M., & Gilbert, D. (2010). A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind. Science, 330 (6006), 932.PDF

    This study used a smartphone application to sample people’s thoughts, feelings and actions at random times throughout the day. It found that people are least happy at times when their minds are not focused on the action they’re performing in the present moment—and, unfortunately, their minds and actions are out of sync almost as often as they’re in sync.

  • Parks, A.C. & Biswas-Diener, R. (in press). Positive Interventions: Past, Present and Future. To appear in T. Kashdan & Ciarrochi, J. (Eds.), Bridging Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Positive Psychology: A Practitioner’s Guide to a Unifying Framework. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.PDF

    A discussion of positive intervention research, defining what it is, its effectiveness and application, and its possible future directions.

  • Easterlin, R., et al. (2010). The Happiness-Income Paradox Revisited. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(52), 22463-22468.PDF

    A recent study on the Easterlin Paradox (the theory over the long-term happiness does not increase as a country’s income rises) finds evidence that it is also true for a number of developing countries while responding to critiques of the paradox.

  • Wilson, T.D., & Gilbert, D.T. (2003). Affective Forecasting. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 345-411.PDF

    Looks at people’s tendency to base decisions on predictions about their emotional reactions to future events (otherwise known as affective forecasting), and examines the causes and implications of the phenomenon.

  • How Exercise Is Good for Memory and the Brain

  • Tough Guys Sacrifice More

  • Mindfulness and Nature

  • Does Religion Make You Healthier in Old Age?

  • The Angry Brain

  • The Selfless Chimp

  • Are Religious People Happier?

  • The Keys to Resilience

  • Why We Help Strangers

  • Are Two Heads Really Better Than One?

  • Does Heartbreak Really Hurt?

  • Why Facebook Might Hurt People with Low Self-Esteem

  • More than a Thank You Note: The Power of Gratitude Letters

  • Nurturing Moms Are Better than Money

  • Does Music Make Us Smarter?

  • Reading Emotion Involves More than the Face

  • Gilbert, P., McEwan, K., Matos, M., Rivis, A. (2011). Fears of Compassion: Development of Three Self-Report Measures. Psychology and Psychotherapy. 84(3), 239-255.PDF

    We can have compassionate feelings for others and from others, but we can also have compassion for ourselves—that is, as long as we’re not fearful of it. This paper suggests the importance of of how and why some highly self-critical persons resist receiving compassion and what this means for therapeutic interventions.

  • Kindness Calculations

  • Bad Mood, Good Deeds

  • What Predicts Happiness?

  • The Key to Lasting Life Satisfaction

  • Is Love Best Expressed through a Touch or a Smile?

  • How to Cope with Rejection

  • Who Gets Forgiven?

  • How Can We Become More Engaged at Work?

  • Brief Meditation Produces Positive Brains

  • Does Being Drunk, Powerful, and in the Dark Make You Do Good—or Evil?

  • How Depression Reduces Empathy

  • Are Toddlers Capable of Empathy?

  • Meditation Makes Brains Quicker

  • Is Racism a Zero-Sum Game?

  • Where the Brain Feels Empathy

  • Does Happiness Come from Our Genes or Environment?

  • Losing Your Train of Thought Could Be a Good Thing

  • How Our Parents Affect Our Romantic Relationships

  • Does Physical Activity Equal Political Activity?

  • Global Consensus: Money Doesn’t Bring Happiness

  • How Mindfulness Helps Our Brains Focus

  • Meditation Gets Your Mind in Touch with Your Body

  • Are We More Moral Than We Think?

  • Why Staying Positive Can be Good for Your Health

  • What “I Love You” Really Means

  • Men Become More Helpful as They Age

  • The Benefits of Bringing Work Home

  • Why the World’s Poor are Happier than You Think

  • Is Touch the Language of Romance?

  • Fear of Being Envied Makes People Help Others

  • Why Do Bullies Bully?

  • How the Arts Affect Social Stigmas

  • The Roots of Shyness and Anxiety

  • Two Degrees of Separation Can Still Reduce Prejudice against Muslims

  • When it Comes to Relationships, Reality Might Be Overrated

  • Managers with Empathy Might Improve Employee Health

  • How Well Do We Predict Our Happiness?

  • Do Kids in Childcare Act Our More?

  • Why Kids Trust

  • Why It’s OK to Put Your Spouse on a Pedestal

  • A Program that Helps At-Risk Kids—and Their Parents

  • Mindfulness: As Good as Antidepressants?

  • A Good Story Can Be Good for Your Health

  • When School and Home Collide for Kids

  • More on the Benefits of Self-Compassion

  • What’s an Apology Really Worth?

  • How Long Do Exercise Benefits Last?

  • Why You Should Know Your Partner’s Long-Term Goals

  • Sleep Deprivation Leaves You Emotionally Isolated

  • The Academic Success of Immigrant Students

  • How Compassion Protects Us from Stress

  • Community Ties Help Low-Income Children’s Health

  • Your Brain on Laughter

  • How to Compliment Your Spouse

  • When Do Siblings Make Up?

  • Do Bullies have Empathy?

  • Dads Matter, Too

  • Losing Sleep Over Regrets

  • Can Yoga Improve Quality of Life During Cancer Treatment?

  • We See What We Believe

  • Is Empathy on the Decline?

  • When the “Cuddle Hormone” Isn’t So Cuddly

  • Does Religion Make Us Happier and Healthier?

  • Can Age Help You Stick to Your Diet?

  • Dye Your Hair to Live Longer

  • How Governments Can Make Us Happy

  • Reduce Prejudice? Yes, You Can

  • Why to Take Your New Year’s Resolutions Seriously

  • A Positive Mood Boosts Creativity

  • Happy Meals Make Happy Kids?

  • When Do We Forgive?

  • Mindfulness Protects Cancer Patients from Stress

  • Social Sports are Good for Your Mental Health

  • Gratitude Strengthens Relationships

  • Positivity Trumps Negativity

  • Positive Workplaces, Positive Families

  • Stress Protection

  • The Key to Positive Interracial Interactions

  • How Do You Really Feel about Your Partner?

  • Why Some Babies Are Calmer than Others

  • Does Happiness Make Us Selfish?

  • Why You Should Try to See Yourself as Resilient

  • How to Recover from Being Wronged

  • Why a Happy Marriage Matters in Old Age

  • Even Brief Mindfulness Training Brings Benefits

  • Imagine Your ‘Best Possible Self’

  • The Latest on Money and Happiness

  • Why Some Kids Are More Resilient against Depression

  • The Keys to a Good Night’s Sleep

  • Why Some Child Soldiers Don’t Develop PTSD

  • How Doctors Can Help You Lose Weight

  • How to Start Addressing Achievement Gaps

  • Even Moderate Exercise Helps Your Brain

  • How to Quit Smoking

  • How to Combat Loneliness

  • TV and Toddlers

  • How to Fight with Your Spouse

  • Are Women More Empathic than Men?

  • Who Confronts Prejudice?

  • Reducing Stereotyping

  • High Attendance Causes High Achievement

  • The Limits of the “Love Hormone”

  • Compassion vs. Pride

  • How Meditation Helps Us Pull Ourselves Together

  • The Upside of Caregiving

  • “Green” Exercise Improves Mental Health

  • Increasing Optimism Leads to Improved Health

  • The Benefits of “Self-Compassion”

  • Why Danes are Happier than Americans

  • Isolation and Stigmatization

  • Why Are You Smiling at Me?

  • Do Our Brains Crave Equality?

  • Does Religion Serve Public Health?

  • Meditation Improves Concentration

  • Relationships Reduce Substance Abuse

  • Two Kinds of Empathy

  • Racism Hurts Academic Performance

  • Why You Don’t Always Need to Feel Your Partner’s Pain

  • Dulling the Pain of Exclusion

  • Does TV Really Impair Kids’ Attention?

  • Optimism and College Retention

  • How to Promote Emotional Well-Being after a Brain Injury

  • Social Support and Caregiver Burdern in Taiwan

  • Why We Don’t Empathize with Everyone

  • TV Racism Equals Real World Racism

  • How Our Brains Process Rewards

  • Overcoming Insecure Attachments

  • How to Handle Our Emotions

  • Different Positive Emotions Inspire Different Behavior

  • How to Support Your Partner

  • How to Promote Healthy Choices

  • Communication Helps Bridge Achievement Gaps

  • Why We Lie

  • The Benefits of Spontaneous Apologies

  • Positive Illusions and Relationship Satisfaction

  • Children’s Social Relationships and Happiness

  • Racism and Obesity

  • The Richness of Daily Activities

  • Resilience and Workplace Well-Being

  • Empathy and the Face vs. the Voice

  • Happy People, Better Health

  • Depressive Symptoms in Urban Youth at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

  • Moral Behavior and Time Perception

  • Defensive Pessimists Pursue Goals

  • Partner’s Photograph Can Reduce Pain

  • Falling Happiness in the Rising Economy of China

  • It Takes a Village to Raise a Prosocial Child

  • Social Networks and the Effects of Unemployment

  • When are People More Likely to Share?

  • Positive Illusions and Relationship Quality

  • Gratitude Boosts Positive Emotions

  • Experiencing Multiculturalism and Happiness

  • Can Having Richer Friends Make You Sick?

  • Support for Caregivers

  • Parenting and Adolescent Behaviors

  • Mental Time Travel

  • Happiness East and West

  • Positive Effects of Humor