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Emiliana Simon-Thomas: The Science of Human Goodness

From Wake Up Project | April 22, 2017

Today, Emiliana’s work at the Greater Good Science Center 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.


Past Stories

Study shows virtues, not vices, lead to more effective political leadership

From UC Berkeley News | February 16, 2016

GGSC director Dacher Keltner is co-author of a new research paper showing that stable virtuous traits enhance the ability to convert power into influence, at least when it comes to the 151 members of the U.S. Senate who served between January 1989 and December 1998.


Dacher Keltner tapped to foster a kinder Twittersphere

From UC Berkeley News | February 12, 2016

GGSC director and UC Berkeley psychology professor Dacher Keltner has been appointed to Twitter’s new “Trust & Safety Council,” an advisory panel tasked with helping to combat trolls, abuse and harassment on the 10-year-old microblogging site.


Children’s Books Embedded With Racism As A Teaching Opportunity

From NPR | January 24, 2016

Should parents pass up a good story because reading it to their child means wrestling with outdated racial stereotypes? NPR's Rachel Martin asks Greater Good web editor Jeremy Adam Smith.


We Are Built to Be Kind

From UC Berkeley | 2015

Human nature is often portrayed as selfish and power hungry, but research by Dacher Keltner finds that we are hard-wired to be kind.


BetterWorldians Radio Gratitude Series

From BetterWorldians Radio | December 14, 2015

For the final episode of BetterWorldians Radio’s Gratitude Series, the team talked with the Greater Good Science Center about its Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude project. Science Director Dr. Emiliana Simon-Thomas discussed the fascinating research being done about the benefits of gratitude and how it’s improving lives and relationships.


When the holidays aren’t what they’re cracked up to be

From Minnesota Public Radio | December 23, 2015

The holidays aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be and between the mass marketing that creates a “reality” that no sane human can live up to, and the baggage we bring from the other 364 days of the season, it can be a bit much. Minnesota Public Radio talks to GGSC's Emiliana Simon-Thomas about holiday expectations and realities.



From Experience Life! | December 2015

Dacher Keltner helps us discover how the feeling of awe can make us humbler, kinder, and more altruistic.


Want to reward employees? Show gratitude

From Miami Herald | November 25, 2015

GGSC Science Director Emiliana Simon-Thomas on why showing gratitude at work is so important.


Public radio to air the many ways to say ‘thank you’

From Berkeley News | November 25, 2015

As the holiday season begins, appreciation in its many facets is the topic of a one-hour radio special on “The Science of Gratitude” produced by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and Ben Manilla Productions.


Is our fear hurting us?

From | November 23, 2015

Greater Good web editor Jeremy Adam Smith writes about how our brains are hard-wired to exaggerate threats and what that may mean for foreign policy.


How gratitude can change lives

From The Deseret News | November 22, 2015

Studying how gratitude impacts lives is some of the most important research being done today because gratitude costs so little compared to the benefits it offers.


Mindfulness at work: the body, mind, bottom-line connection

From San Jose Mercury News | October 26, 2015

Encouraging employees to take time out of a busy workday to enjoy some deep breathing and self-compassion seems antithetical to the hard-charging, high-tech nature of modern American business. Then again, the hard-charging way, mindfulness proponents say, has made many American workplaces toxic and draining.


Mindfulness at Work: Can You Transform Your Job?

From Berkeley Wellness | October 23, 2015

In this age of constant distractions and long hours, it’s difficult to find even a few minutes of time to reflect. Yet finding that time and space can help ease the stresses of your demanding working life. Greater Good Editorial Director Jason Marsh discusses the benefits of mindfulness at work in an interview with Berkeley Wellness.


Pursuit of Happiness: We’re Not Trying Too Hard—We’re Just Not Trying the Right Things

From California Magazine | October 22, 2015

Obsessing about happiness often makes people more melancholy and lonely—and could even increase the risk of depression and bipolar disorder. In fact, several studies suggest that wanting to be happy may be counterproductive for the health of Americans. But does the same paradox exist elsewhere?


Online Summer Courses Attracting College-Bound High Schoolers

From New York Times | August 25, 2015

Why high school students are signing up for online classes in advance of college--including the GGSC's "The Science of Happiness."


What Is the Science of Happiness?

From Berkeley Wellness | August 7, 2015

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.


Science Vs. Happiness

From Science Vs. | July 20, 2015

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.


41 Science-Based Actions For A Meaningful Life

From The Huffington Post | July 8, 2015

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.


Take a ‘Savoring Walk’

From Washington Post | July 15, 2015

Research-based strategies to help you appreciate this life


The Science of “Inside Out”

From New York Times | July 3, 2015

GGSC Founder Dacher Keltner and emotions expert Paul Ekman on the emotional life of Pixar's "Inside Out."


Can Negative Thinking Make You Sick?

From Health | June 26, 2015

A growing body of research suggests that negative emotions and thoughts may also have links to other serious health problems, like heart disease.


Are We Born Racist?

From Berkeley Wellness | June 25, 2015

GGSC Faculty Advisor Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton on the physical and social tolls of prejudice... and what we can do about it.


Why Humans Evolved to Feel Happiness

From Fusion | June 22, 2015

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.


Does the Death Penalty Bring Closure?

From CNN.COM | May 21, 2015

GGSC's Jason Marsh on why the severe sentence brought down on the Boston Bomber may not help his victims heal.


What Happens in Your Brain and Body When You Witness Human Kindness

From New York Magazine | May 14, 2015

New York Magazine's Science of Us column covers Jill Suttie's story on recent research on the power of moral elevation


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Greater Good Events

The Science of Burnout: What Is It, Why It Happens, and How to Avoid It
International House at UC Berkeley
April 29, 2017
6 CE Hours

A day-long semiar with GGSC Science Director Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., celebrated compassion teacher Joan Halifax, burnout expert Christina Maslach, Ph.D., and UCLA psychiatrist Elizabeth Bromley, M.D., Ph.D.


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

How Pleasure Works By Paul Bloom Bloom explores a broad range of human pleasures from food to sex to religion to music. Bloom argues that human pleasure is not purely an instinctive, superficial, sensory reaction; it has a hidden depth and complexity.

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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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