Research

The Greater Good Science Center does not typically conduct primary academic research under its own auspices; instead, it collects, interprets, and synthesizes research conducted by other organizations around the world, making this research more accessible to a wide audience. However, the Center still supports research—and the careers of researchers—in a variety of ways.

Since 2002, we have supported and advised many undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scholars at UC Berkeley in fields that include psychology, sociology, biology, business, education, public health, and more. Indeed, our fellowship program for UC Berkeley students has helped nurture the next generation of researchers exploring happiness, compassion, and altruism. Greater Good Science Center fellows and grant recipients—such as Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton and Allison Briscoe-Smith—have gone on to rich and distinguished scientific and academic careers.

We have also launched and managed major scientific initiatives. The Greater Good Science Center—in collaboration with the University of California, Davis—awarded $3 million in grants to expand the scientific understanding of gratitude, supported with funding from the John Templeton Foundation. In addition, we worked with researchers across four universities on the Youth Gratitude Project, and our online gratitude journal, Thnx4, is used by researchers to investigate specific questions about gratitude. Similarly, we have also studied the impact of our online course, The Science of Happiness, measuring how it has boosted students’ positive emotions, resilience to stress, and connections with others.

In the fall of 2017, we will launch a new initiative to help community-based organizations strengthen the scientific basis of their parenting programs, helping them identify relevant research, translate this research into resources useful to parents, and determine how to better evaluate the impact of their programs.

Finally, through our events and online magazine, the Greater Good Science Center not only highlights cutting-edge findings from “the science of a meaningful life” but also identifies questions worthy of further scientific inquiry, catalyzing new studies and collaborations in the process. That’s why The New York Times calls us “the epicenter for research on happiness and gratitude.”

Our faculty director, Dacher Keltner, also directs the Berkeley Social Interaction Laboratory, which is a more traditional research lab in the UC Berkeley psychology department that often collaborates with the GGSC.