Author to Speak About Science of Gratitude at UCSF

Robert Emmons

The UCSF community is invited to hear Robert Emmons, PhD, a professor of psychology at UC Davis who will speak about his research on the new science of gratitude. 

The UCSF Staff Council and the Work~Life Resource Center are co-sponsoring his presentation, titled “What Good is Gratitude? Recent Insights from the Science of Well Being,” on Wednesday, Feb. 17, from noon to 1:30 p.m., in Cole Hall in the Medical Sciences building on the Parnassus campus. 

UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, will introduce Emmons, whose research focuses on the psychology of emotion and religion. His primary interests are in the psychology of gratitude and the psychology of personal goals, and how each is related to positive psychological processes, including happiness, well-being, and personality integration.

His recent book, “Thanks! How Practicing the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier” is available at the UCSF Kalmanowitz Library on the Parnassus campus. A question-and-answer period will follow the talk. His book will be available on site and a book-signing will follow the talk as well. 

Emmons and his colleague, Michael McCullough, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Miami, are engaged in a long-term research project designed to better understand and document the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its potential consequences for human health and well-being.

“Scientists are latecomers to the concept of gratitude,” Emmons says. “Religions and philosophies have long embraced gratitude as an indispensable manifestation of virtue, and an integral component of health, wholeness, and well-being. Through conducting highly focused, cutting-edge studies on the nature of gratitude, its causes, and its consequences, we hope to shed important scientific light on this important concept.”

Among the research findings so far, Emmons and McCullough report that in an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.

Emmons is editor in chief of the Journal of Positive Psychology. His work on gratitude has been featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, Newsweek and Time and other mainstream media. 

Related Links:

Highlights from the Research Project on Gratitude and Thankfulness

Robert Emmons

Enhance Happiness and Health by Cultivating Gratitude: Interview with Robert Emmons, Sharp Brains
Nov. 29, 2007

Michael McCullough