GGIA 2.0: Making the Science of Character Virtue More Practical, Engaging, and Impactful
The GGSC’s Greater Good in Action (GGIA) 2.0: Making the Science of Character Virtue More Practical, Engaging, and Impactful project leverages big data and empirical science to advance precision well-being, the effort to provide individuals with the practical insights and activities that can best strengthen key character virtues known to bolster well-being.
The GGIA 2.0 initiative translates published results about the well-being benefits of character virtues—like compassion, mindfulness, gratitude, generosity, and forgiveness—into easily accessible practical tools people can apply in their own lives, vastly improving this freely available resource for well-being.
Despite the rich landscape of increasingly popular, science-backed approaches to experiences and behaviors that can benefit well-being, there is little evidence for specificity—that is, what works best for whom. Namely, there is not yet a strong empirical foundation from which to proactively match people to their best-fitting activities—we do not yet understand precisely for whom certain activities are most appealing, appropriate, and effective for improving well-being. Studies suggest that when people choose well-being–promoting activities on their own or are prompted to try a randomly selected activity, they may be more likely to drop out of the experience altogether, or have an experience that leads to less benefit than another, well-suited activity could.
The first key aim of this project is to improve our GGIA platform, an online repository of exercises, activities, and practices for increasing well-being drawn from decades of rigorous scientific research. Making the GGIA platform significantly more satisfying and engaging for our broad—and growing—community of users, we aim to provide experiences that will lead to greater engagement with the activities, and in turn more benefit to well-being.
The second key aim is to investigate which practices are the best “fit” for which people by analyzing big data from our community of voluntary GGIA users and conducting dedicated experiments in collaboration with a team of academic experts. In other words, by looking at people’s input about which activities they do and how they do them, how they feel about them, and whether they notice any benefit, in combination with who they are and what is going on in their lives, we can begin to map out associations between people and activities that can help guide decisions about what to recommend to people joining anew. These kinds of findings would be generalizable well beyond the GGIA platform, informing best practices across popular, clinical, and educational settings.
Two deliverables of our GGIA 2.0 work are the Pathway to Happiness, a four-week interactive experience that people can enroll in to try and explore the impact of well-being–promoting practices, and Big JOY, a seven-day interactive experience that offers daily activities and individualized tracking of impact.