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The best Greater Good articles of 2015

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | 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 »

Five ways to build caring community on social media

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | November 30, 2015

As news of the terrorist attacks in Paris spread through social media, responses followed a pattern I’ve come to know well. First, shock and grief. Friends and followers share video and pictures that are almost pornographic in their deracinated intensity. The images appear with no context, and we see only running, screaming, guns, and blood. … Continue reading »

Does stress reduce empathy?

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | 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 »

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

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | 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 »

Five lessons in human goodness from ‘The Hunger Games’

Jeremy Adam Smith, Editor, Greater Good Magazine | April 25, 2012

In the dystopian future world of The Hunger Games, 24 teenagers are forced to fight to the death, their battle turned into televised entertainment. This war-of-all-against-all scenario sounds as though it might reveal the worst in humanity—and to a degree, that’s true. But what raises The Hunger Games above similar stories, like the cynical Japanese … Continue reading »

Can empathy be bad for intergroup interactions?

Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, professor of psychology | August 15, 2011

You’d think it’d be difficult to argue against the following straightforward recommendation: Increase empathy towards outgroups, and you should be able to reduce prejudice and improve intergroup relations. Alas, as with most things having to do with human behavior, the reality is not straightforward, and empathy is not a silver bullet against intergroup negativity. Jacquie … Continue reading »