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The best Greater Good articles of 2015

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | January 4, 2016

For UC Berkeley’s Greater Good, nuance and controversy defined 2015. Over the course of the year, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center grappled with big public issues like terrorism, racism, and what schools should teach. We tackled “inside baseball” questions about the validity of psychological research and the best ways to measure … Continue reading »

Does stress reduce empathy?

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | August 18, 2015

On Monday, the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center published a research brief, “How Anxiety Reduces Empathy,” that provoked some conversation and disagreement among readers. “I thought empathy increases stress and anxiety,” wrote one person — especially, she believed, if we empathize with people in a bad situation that we don’t have the power to … Continue reading »

Happy International Day of Happiness!

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | March 20, 2015

Today is the International Day of Happiness, launched last year by the United Nations to promote subjective well-being as a legitimate goal of public policy and social progress. That’s a goal we share at the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, and through the years we’ve covered happiness research from every conceivable angle. Here are … Continue reading »

The Top 10 Insights from the “Science of a Meaningful Life” in 2014

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | January 3, 2015

It’s time once again for our favorite year-end ritual here at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center: Our annual list of the top scientific insights produced by the study of happiness, altruism, mindfulness, gratitude–what we call “the science of a meaningful life.” We found that this year, the science of a meaningful life yielded many … Continue reading »

Where to find love on Facebook

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | February 13, 2014

This piece was co-authored with Emiliana Simon-Thomas. What’s the most popular emotion in the world? Well, on Facebook at least, the answer is clear: It’s love. How do we know that? Because the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center worked with Facebook to develop a new set of animated emoticons to express a broad range … Continue reading »

The top 10 insights from the “science of a meaningful life” in 2013

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | January 7, 2014

The past few years have been marked by two major trends in the science of a meaningful life. One is that researchers continued to add sophistication and depth to our understanding of positive feelings and behaviors. Happiness is good for you, but not all the time; empathy ties us together, and can overwhelm you; humans … Continue reading »

Eight inspiring images from 2013

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | December 30, 2013

Many terrible things happened in 2013. But concealed within each awful event was at least some kernel of courage or grace. This past year especially provided us with many models of heroism. From the helpers of the Boston Marathon bombing to activists standing up for human rights in Bulgaria and Pakistan, 2013 gave us countless … Continue reading »

Twenty questions to ask your father

Christine Carter, director, Greater Good Parents | June 13, 2013

My friends and family know what’s coming when we’re out to dinner and they see a little packet of white squares come out of my purse, held together with a rubber band. It’s a pile of carefully selected Table Topics — little cards printed with questions — usually from the “Family Gatherings” collection. (Though on … Continue reading »

The past year’s top 10 scientific insights about living a meaningful life

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | January 3, 2013

The science we cover on the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center website — aka, “the science of a meaningful life” — has exploded over the past 10 years, with many more studies published each year on gratitude, mindfulness, and our other core themes than we saw a decade ago. 2012 was no exception. In … Continue reading »

How to actually read a racist book to your kid

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | July 2, 2012

On June 15, the novelist Stephen Marche published a thought-provoking piece in The New York Times entitled, “How to Read Racist Books to Your Kids.” I empathized with the issues he faced — I’ve also felt ambushed by racist imagery when reading classic children’s books to my multiracial child — and I was sympathetic to … Continue reading »

What we Google when we Google ‘love’

Jeremy Adam Smith, web editor & producer, Greater Good Science Center | June 20, 2012

Internet searches are a fascinating window into human nature and social trends. By analyzing Google searches, researchers have uncovered racial bias in elections and our most intimate sexual desires, as well as many, many consumer trends. But recently, I discovered another kind of search trend: rising interest in “pro-social” emotions and behaviors like love, empathy, … Continue reading »