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Human Behavior

Jing Jing Tsong

Despite What You’ve Heard, Sadder Isn’t Wiser

By Leah Worthington

There’s a pervasive idea in psychology that depressed people are better judges of reality.

Don’t Curb Your Enthusiasm

By Leah Worthington

For the better part of the last 40-plus years, Cal alum and Carnegie Mellon psychology professor Michael Scheier has been thinking about optimism—what it is, where it comes from, and why it matters. 

Illustration using Canvas

Berkeley Center Brings Science-Based Mindfulness to the Masses

By Leah Worthington

A stone’s throw from the southwestern edge of campus sits a squat, nondescript, brown building with a lofty dream: to untangle the science of a meaningful life.


Climate Hope Has a Champion

By Coby McDonald

In this era of climate crisis there’s plenty of doom and gloom going around.

Cat Willett

How A Survivor Contestant Learned to Keep Her Head Above Water

By Karla Cruz Godoy ’16 as told to Josh Sens, M.J. ’95

I found myself in the Pacific Ocean, trapped beneath a metal grate with the tide rising  around me, fighting the urge to panic.

Courtesy of The Science of Happiness Podcast

The Edge Episode 22: The Edge Presents “Climate, Hope and Science” From the Science of Happiness

This month we’re back with something a little different. In the wake of this year’s historic floods, wildfires, and hurricanes, we asked ourselves: What would it look like to take a more optimistic attitude towards slowing climate change?

Courtesy of the Law family

“I was afraid we’d be isolated.”

By Martin Snapp

...years ago when his wife Veena gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Violet. “The first nine months were perfect,” he says. “But when Violet was ten months old...

Zona Roberts (Courtesy of the Roberts family)

Meet Zona Roberts

By Martin Snapp

Nowadays, people look back on the 1950s as the Happy Days, but for the kids who grew up during that time, it was anything but. Hovering over them were the twin terrors of The Bomb and a raging polio epidemic. One victim of the latter was Zona and Verne Roberts’ eldest son, Ed.

(Courtesy of the O'Donnell Family)

“You always have each other’s back.”

By Martin Snapp

When Shawn O’Donnell lost her life on July 20, just a few days after the Cal grad (’04) celebrated her 40th birthday by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, America lost a dedicated public servant and people all over the world lost one of the more memorable people they had ever met.

Nancy Rubin sitting in her backyard home garden (Courtesy of Magnolia Network)

Notes to Selves

By Margie Cullen

In high school, one of Nancy Rubin’s teachers had his students write a letter to themselves that he surprised them with at the end of the semester. 

(Illustration using Canva)

The Science of Love

By Margie Cullen

To help us get a handle on the subject in time for Valentine’s Day, we turned to Simon-Thomas for answers on questions about the biological basis for love, the different kinds of human love, and unconventional arrangements like polyamory.

Tetons are Awe-ful (Dexter Hake)

Awe is the Secret Ingredient to a Good Life

By Laura Smith

What Dacher Keltner teaches isn’t likely to land you a job on Wall Street or even make you more hireable, but that’s not really the point.