UC Berkeley psychologists Dacher Keltner, Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, Robb Willer and sociologist Christine Carter are looking into research that may change our perception of “survival of the fittest” into “survival of the kindest and happiest.”

In our society, kindness is not exactly looked to as the key to success. Toughness and competitiveness are more likely to be deemed qualities that lead to success. However, happiness is not emphasized in our culture, and society may be lacking because of it. Christine Carter comments that happiness is “not something the most intelligent among us need or even want.” She believes emotional well-being promotes success, and that instilling a sense of happiness in children makes them better learners and high achievers.

Psychology professor Robb Willer stated, “We want to understand why it is that we do behave in a compassionate and empathetic way so that we can create contexts and systems that support that.”

Interestingly, UC Berkeley studies show that we are built to care: A smile or a compassionate touch release stress reducing hormones in both the giver and receiver.

So when you get the chance to smile or give a compassionate touch (warning: don’t practice the latter on strangers, that’s awkward) then do it! It may just be the “key to our success as a species.”

Science of Happiness [YouTube]
The Science of Happiness [UC Berkeley News]



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