L&S Curricular Connections

L&S Discovery Courses

LS C160V / Psychology C162

Human Happiness

Social and Behavioral Sciences; Philosophy and Values

This course will take an interdisciplinary approach to an understanding of happiness. The first part of the course will be devoted to the different treatments of happiness in the world’s philosophical traditions, focusing up close on conceptions of the good life in classical Greek and Judeo-Christian thought, the great traditions in East Asian thought (Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism), and ideas about happiness that emerged more recently in the age of Enlightenment. With these different perspectives as a framework, the course will then turn to treatments of happiness in the behavioral sciences, evolutionary scholarship, and neuroscience. Special emphasis will be given to understanding how happiness arises in experiences of the moral emotions, including gratitude, compassion, reverence and awe, as well as aesthetic emotions like humor and beauty.

Greater Good Science Center

Berkeley Social Interaction Lab

Professor Dacher Keltner talks about the science of happiness
Dacher Keltner (Psychology)

Distinguished Teaching and Service Award in the Social Sciences

Terms Offered

  • Fall 2024
  • Fall 2023
  • Spring 2022
  • Spring 2021
  • Spring 2020
  • Fall 2018
  • Fall 2017
  • Spring 2017
  • Spring 2016
  • Spring 2015
  • Spring 2012
  • Fall 2009
"This class made me feel less alone during my first semester here at Berkeley. It was nice to hear other students talk about struggles that I was facing being in a new environment, and it's helped me open up to strangers and build better relationships (being more sympathetic) with people I just met."
— Fall 2023 Student
"This class was the highlight of my week each week."
— Fall 2023 Student
"Professor Keltner was absolutely amazing! His style of teaching was engaging and the lecture went by far too fast. The activities he had us try out in class and outside of class were so eye–opening. I'd recommend his class to everyone at Cal."
— Spring 2021 Student
"Amazing professor! I learned a lot from this class and enjoyed learning it. This was probably one of the most important classes I have taken at Berkeley and I feel that I left the class having learned a lot about both scientific research on the science of happiness and emotions, as well as how to live my own life better."
— Fall 2017 Student