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 »
The year’s most popular articles about the “science of a meaningful life”
At a recent retreat for the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, one of our advisors looked at a list of our most popular articles to date. “This is all over the place,” he said, referring to the diversity of topics and approaches. I replied that this is a feature, not a bug. The mission … Continue reading »
What does prejudice reveal about what it means to be human?
The questions raised by racism and xenophobia go straight to the heart of what it means to be human, for they involve dehumanization. Prejudice means we implicitly embrace a definition of humanity that includes some — usually those who most resemble us — and excludes others. That’s why Susan T. Fiske was invited to speak … Continue reading »
Beyond cuddling: Five surprising ways Oxytocin shapes your social life
It’s been called the cuddle hormone, the holiday hormone, the moral molecule, and more—but new research suggests that oxytocin needs some new nicknames. Like maybe the conformity hormone, or perhaps the America-Number-One! molecule. Where does this many-monikered neuropeptide come from? Scientists first found it in mothers, whose bodies flood with oxytocin during childbirth and breastfeeding—which … Continue reading »
Experiencing Art: It’s a Whole-Brain Issue, Stupid!
We love art. We put it on our walls, we admire it at museums and on others’ walls, and if we’re inspired, we may even create it. Philosophers, historians, critics, and scientists have bandied about the reasons why we enjoy creating and beholding art, and each has offered important and interesting perspectives. Recently, brain scientists … Continue reading »
How love grows in your body
“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds,” wrote William Shakespeare in his 116th Sonnet. “O no! it is an ever-fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken.” Nothing could be further from the truth, says the new science of romantic love. Love is, first and foremost, an emotion—but one that … Continue reading »
Wired to want stuff? Neuroscience can explain kids’ holiday gimmes
I’ll never forget a holiday moment a few years ago, when I found myself in a negotiation with my younger daughter over her gift list. (Which, by the way, I don’t believe in. In theory, I’ve never wanted my kids to make lists of things they want for Christmas and Hanukkah. But we did “go … Continue reading »