The Science of Happiness

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Course Date: 09 September 2014 to 18 November 2014 (10 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

The first MOOC to teach positive psychology. Learn science-based principles and practices for a happy, meaningful life.

Course Instructors

Dacher Keltner

Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the founding director of the university’s Greater Good Science Center. Keltner has devoted his career to studying the nature of human goodness and happiness, conducting ground-breaking research on compassion, awe, laughter, and love. He is the author of the best-selling book Born to Be Good (W.W. Norton, 2009) and a co-editor of the anthology The Compassionate Instinct (W.W. Norton, 2010), in addition to more than 100 scientific papers and two best-selling textbooks. An outstanding speaker who has earned many research and teaching awards, Keltner has received rave reviews for his “Human Happiness” course at UC Berkeley. His work is featured regularly in major media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, and NPR. In 2008, the Utne Reader named him as one of 50 visionaries who are changing our world.

Emiliana Simon-Thomas

Emiliana Simon-Thomas is the science director of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. A neuroscientist who earned her doctorate from UC Berkeley, her research has explored the neuro-biological roots of pro-social emotion and behavior, as well as the psychosocial benefits of emotional authenticity and connection. A gifted teacher, Simon-Thomas has presented on the science of happiness and compassion to the Dalai Lama and audiences worldwide.

Course Description

“The Science of Happiness” is the first MOOC to teach the ground-breaking science of positive psychology, which explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives. Created by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, the course will zero in on a fundamental finding from positive psychology: that happiness is inextricably linked to having strong social connections and contributing to something bigger than yourself—the greater good. Students will learn about the cross-disciplinary research supporting this view, spanning the fields of psychology, neuroscience, evolutionary biology, and beyond.

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