Science of Happiness

Emiliana R. Simon-Thomas, Ph.D., is the science director of the Greater Good Science Center, where she oversees its fellowship program, Expanding Gratitude project, and is a co-instructor of the GGSC’s “Science of Happiness” online course. Emiliana earned her doctorate in Cognition Brain and Behavior at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation used behavioral and neuroscience methods to examined how negative states like fear and aversion influence thinking and decision-making. During her postdoc, Emiliana transitioned to studying pro-social states like love of humanity, compassion, and awe. From there, she served as Associate Director/Senior Scientist at CCARE (the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education) at Stanford University, focusing on how compassion benefits health, well-being, and psychosocial functioning. ​ Today, Emiliana’s work spotlights the science that connects health and happiness to social affiliation, caregiving, and collaborative relationships, as she continues to examine the potential for—as well as the benefits of—living a more meaningful life.

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