Greater Good Science Center

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Greater Good Science Center (GGSC), located at the University of California, Berkeley is an interdisciplinary research center devoted to the scientific understanding of individual happiness, compassion, strong social bonding, and altruistic behavior. The center was started in 2001 and serves to conduct research and to translate and disseminate research for the general public. Since 2003, the center has published a magazine called “Greater Good” that eventually became an online publication. The center also produces seminars, a free online course called “The Science of Happiness”, podcasts on the science of happiness, and conferences for professionals and others, all based upon its research findings.[1]

The Greater Good Science Center draws upon academic fields such as psychology, sociology, education, economics, and neuroscience, trying to uncover what leads to greater well-being. Through their publication and other products—including a website of research-based practices (at— they teach skills to foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society. The GGSC’s mission involves a commitment to reporting on groundbreaking scientific research on social and emotional well-being, while helping people apply this research to their personal and professional lives.

Since 2001, the Greater Good Science Center has been at the forefront of an up and coming scientific movement to explore what makes people thrive and to advocate for kindness, empathy, compassion, resilience, purpose, and social relationships as key factors in a meaningful life. Their ultimate goal is to help people better understand human nature and to foster families, communities, and societies that nurture our better selves.

Core Beliefs[edit]

  • "Creating environments that promote care and cooperation and by elevating people’s beliefs about what they’re capable of we help nurture the positive side of human nature."[2]
  • "Happiness can be taught with practice and developed over time"[2]
  • "Happiness and altruism are intertwined...happiness helps spur kindness and generosity."[2]
  • "Greater emphasis in using science to try and improve peoples personal and professional lives"[2]
  • "...To promote individual and social well-being, science must examine how people overcome difficult circumstances and how they develop positive emotions and relationships."[2]
  • "Individual well-being promotes social well-being, and social well-being promotes individual well-being. The well-being of society as a whole, then, can be supported by providing information, tools, and skills to those people directly responsible for shaping the well-being of others."[2]

Goals/Long-term Aims[edit]

  • Shifting from conventional wisdom views about human nature to views that disseminate kindness and compassion rather than self-interest and aggression[1]
  • Awareness of keys to social and emotional well being, push to drive people to act their instincts for kindness and compassion[1]
  • More prominent interest for programs that encourage the social-passionate prosperity of their members[1]
  • Deeper understanding within educational institutions of the following: social emotional development, nurturing future generation that are better equipped to deal with conflicts and how to handle with stress-inducing situations.[1]
  • Higher levels of emotional well-being institutions preparing people to respond to others with care, equanimity, and generosity.[1]

Milestones/Highlights Achieved[edit]

The following dates depict the achievements and or important dates that the Greater Good Science Center retrieved from 2001-2016

2001: Berkeley Center for the Development of Peace and Well-Being is founded by Thomas and Ruth Ann Hornaday, under Founding Director Dacher Keltner[3]

2002: Center awards its first research fellowships[3]

2004: Greater Good magazine publishes its first print issue[3]

2006: Greater Good reaches 5,000 magazine subscribers; organization is renamed the Greater Good Science Center[3]

2007: Launch of Half Full parenting blog (later renamed Raising Happiness), created by Christine Carter, Ph.D.[3]

2009: Greater Good relaunches as an online magazine; GGSC initiates its Science of a Meaningful Life seminar series, with support from the Quality of Life Foundation[3]

2010: Publication of two anthologies of Greater Good articles: The Compassionate Instinct (W.W. Norton) and Are We Born Racist? (Beacon Press)[3]

2011: 1 million+ website visitors, 2 million+ website pageviews; GGSC launches its Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude initiative, funded by the John Templeton Foundation[3]

2012: GGSC launches its Education Program, with support from the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust, to meet the needs of K-12 education professionals who want to apply the science of social-emotional well-being to their work[3]

2013: The GGSC’s Education Program hosts its first Summer Institute for Educators; the GGSC hosts its first major conference, “Practicing Mindfulness and Compassion”[3]

2014: The Science of Happiness online course begins, enrolls more than 125,000 students in its first run[3]

2015: GGSC launches Greater Good in Action, an online clearinghouse of the top research-based practices that foster happiness, resilience, kindness, and connection[3]

2016: 5.5 million website visitors, 10 million+ page-views[3]

2018: Launches Science of Happiness Podcast [3]

Dacher Keltner[edit]

Dacher Keltner, psychology professor and director of the Greater Good Science Center (GGSC) at UC Berkeley for the last thirty years has been researching human emotions, starting with micro-movements of facial muscles and more recently the relationship between powerlessness and health outcomes. Having also written books and co-created one of the most popular MOOCs (massive open online courses) in the country.[4] Keltner started to study psychology around the time that the belief that the methodology of psychological analysis changed dramatically from having implications that the human brain functioned primarily rationalizing and pure facts to toward more of an emotional revolution.[4] Keltner dealt with anxiety throughout his life while growing up and thus set him on his goal to finding what he describes as the "greater good" and what that meant to Keltner was ultimately happiness. Major inspiration was also taken from the hit series Tv show known as Lie to Me in the sense that Keltner found influence what could potentially be a discovery into figuring out how humans truly feel even when one does not realize how they feel, and that was by analyzing micro-emotions which was what the show was based off.[4] Micro-emotions were an idea proposed by the show Lie to Me in that Micro-emotion were a way for people to expressed how they truly felt like by using their facial expression seconds after the cause. Keltner felt that there was a study to be conducted and implications that could be made from micro-expression and so Keltner was inspired to find an answer. Soon after Keltner's daughter had passed away from cancer and after the events of 9/11, Keltner opened the organization known as Greater Good Science Center.[4] Keltner proposed that he did not want the organization to become just another academic center just for sponsoring meetings, Keltner truly wanted to find the Greater Good in happiness and promote others to share the kindness and gratuity with others by exploring techniques in doing so with science.[4]

Podcasts and Print magazine[edit]

The center produces the podcast The Science of Happiness.[3]

Greater Good magazine (ISSN 1553-3239; 2004-2009) was a quarterly magazine published by the center, edited by Professor Dacher Keltner, of the University of California, Berkeley,[4] and journalist Jason Marsh.[5] The magazine highlighted scientific research into the roots of compassion, altruism, and empathy and included stories of compassion in action, providing a bridge between social scientists and parents, educators, community leaders, and policy makers.[6]

The magazine had been nominated by the Utne Reader as one of the top independent publications in the country.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Our Mission". Retrieved 2017-12-05.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Turkovich, Marilyn. "Greater Good Science Center at University of California, Berkeley". Charter for Compassion. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Our Story". Retrieved 2019-05-21.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Dacher Keltner pursues happiness (and other things) at the Greater Good Science Center". Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  5. ^ ""Our Mission"". Retrieved 2016-09-28.
  6. ^ "Our Mission". Greater Good Magazine. the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley. Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  7. ^ "Utne Independent Press Awards Nominees 2009". 2009-12-04. Retrieved 2016-09-28.


External links[edit]