Science of Happiness Course

The Science of Happiness | UC BerkeleyX on edX | Course About Video

Science of Happiness Course


DACHER KELTNER: Imagine that scientists have created a happiness machine, a machine that could make you happy as you’d like with just the push of a button.

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Would you use it?

Would you push the button?

I have asked that question of my students for years, and most of them say no.

Most of them want to find true happiness on their own, in a genuine way.

But how do you do that?

EMILIANA SIMON-THOMAS: That’s where science comes in.

For the past decade, researchers have been developing a roadmap for the pursuit of happiness, suggesting, for instance that roughly 40% of our happiness is determined not by our genes,
but by our daily activities.

It’s up to you.

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I’m Emiliana Simon Thomas.

DACHER KELTNER: And I’m Dacker Keltner.

Here at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, we’ve been part of the scientific movement to identify the sources of a happy, meaningful life.

And we’ve made some valuable discoveries.

And we would like to share these findings with you, to help you unlock the secrets to a happier life, healthier relationships, stronger communities.

EMILIANA SIMON-THOMAS: That’s where this course comes in.

The science of happiness is the first MOOC to teach this research, with presentations from some of the world’s top experts on the subject, like Sonya Lyubomirsky, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Paul
Ekman, and Barbara Frederickson.

They’ll join us in covering topics like mindfulness, compassion, and gratitude.

DACHER KELTNER: Together we’ll tour this field that some call positive psychology.

We’ll explore why writing down things you’re grateful for can strengthen your immune system, and improve your sleep.

How meditation can actually change your brain for the better.

And why spending money on others is actually better for your happiness than spending on yourself.

EMILIANA SIMON-THOMAS: Along the way, we’ll devote special attention to the links between happiness and human connection– kindness, a commitment to something greater than yourself.

DACHER KELTNER: But we’re going to do more than tell you about the science of happiness.

We’re going to help you experience it firsthand.

Each week you’ll try out research tested method for boosting happiness, and strengthening your meaningful connection to others.

You’ll be able to track your progress over time, and discuss it all with your classmates.

EMILIANA SIMON-THOMAS: So please join us for the Science of Happiness.

We’ll put the secrets to happiness at your fingertips, with just the click of a button


The Greater Good Science Center studies the psychology, sociology, and neuroscience of well-being, and teaches skills that foster a thriving, resilient, and compassionate society.

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