Announcing Our New Gratitude Project!

December 7, 2011

The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, is thrilled to announce the launch of a $5.9 million, three-year project, Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, a collaboration with the University of California, Davis. The project is supported with funding from the John Templeton Foundation.

The general goals of this project are to:

  • Expand the scientific database of gratitude, particularly in the key areas of human health, personal and relational well-being, and developmental science;
  • Promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in medical, educational, and organizational settings and in schools, workplaces, homes and communities, and in so doing…
  • Engage the public in a larger cultural conversation about the role of gratitude in civil society.

To achieve these goals, we are launching a range of research and educational initiatives, from grants for scientific studies to a public event to a Global Gratitude Journal. For more details, please see the project webpage.

The first component of this project is a $3 million research initiative to expand the scientific understanding of gratitude. Please read the Request for Proposals to learn more about this trailblazing initiative. Researchers interested in applying will need to submit a three-page, single-spaced Letter of Intent (LOI) by February 15, 2012.

The project is the brainchild of Robert Emmons, a professor of psychology at UC Davis and the world’s leading expert on the science of gratitude. The GGSC’s Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, and Jeffrey Froh, an associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University, join Dr. Emmons as the project’s co-leaders.

Building on Past Work

For years, the GGSC has advanced the science and practice of gratitude, and deepened the public’s understanding of gratitude and its research-tested benefits.

In 2007, it dedicated an issue of its print magazine, Greater Good, to gratitude, featuring contributions from researchers Robert Emmons and Jeffrey Froh, who are now involved in launching and running Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude. This was the most popular issue in Greater Good’s history; the GGSC has sold out of copies. Since that time, the Greater Good Science Center has folded its print magazine but expanded its website, which has continued to report on gratitude research, highlighting the practical implications of this research for parents, teachers, and others.

More recently, Greater Good launched its online Community Gratitude Journal, inviting people to share the things for which they’re most grateful every week. The GGSC has also featured gratitude prominently in its successful “Science of a Meaningful Life” event series, day-long seminars devoted to teaching the science of gratitude and sharing best practices for cultivating gratitude. Both events on gratitude have attracted audiences of 250; many of these attendees were mental health professionals eager to apply the science of gratitude to their work.

With its large, international readership, the GGSC is well-positioned to help the science of gratitude reach a much larger audience. As part of this project, it will be vastly expanding its coverage of gratitude. Not only will it report on the launch, progress, and results of the research component of the project, it will develop a vast array of new tools and content to advance the public’s understanding and practice of gratitude.

The GGSC will also host a competition for web-based and mobile applications that promote the practice of gratitude, and it will develop a section of the GGSC website to serve as an expanded Global Gratitude Journal, enabling people from around the world to record the things for which they’re most grateful. The Global Gratitude Journal will allow the public and researchers to track cross-national trends in the practice of gratitude, analyze entries by nation, and provide a truly global snapshot of our planet’s current state of gratefulness.

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