Dr. Laurie Santos is a psychologist and an expert on human cognition, its origins, and the evolutionary biases that influence our all-too imperfect life choices. Her work centers around how behavioral change through positive psychology can lead to a happier and more fulfilling life. She is the Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon Professor of Psychology and the former Head of Silliman College at Yale University. Her course, Psychology and the Good Life, teaches what the science of psychology says about how to make wiser choices for a better life. The class is Yale’s most popular course in over 300 years and has been adapted into a free Coursera program that has been taken by over 4 million people to date.
Dr. Santos is the host of the The Happiness Lab podcast. She makes the case that humans are drastically wrong about what makes us happy and often do the exact opposite of what will make our lives better. Based on her incredibly popular course at Yale, she presents the latest scientific research in effort to help listeners rethink happiness and guide them toward their best lives. Launched in 2019, the podcast has been downloaded over 100 million times.
From her research, Santos speaks to how we are biologically programmed to be motivated by sex, to be deeply influenced by other people, and to repeat our mistakes. Using evidence from the animal kingdom to help explain our sometimes illogical behaviors, she provides advice on how to engage our uniquely human faculties to counteract evolution and lead better lives.
Dr. Santos has been featured in numerous news outlets including the New York Times, NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, NPR, GQ Magazine, Slate, CNN and Oprah Magazine. Dr. Santos is a winner of numerous awards both for her science and teaching from institutions such as Yale and the American Psychological Association. She has been featured as one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10” and was named TIME's “Leading Campus Celebrity.”
The Science of Happiness
In this session, Laurie Santos explores what new results in psychological science teach us about how to be happier, how to feel less stressed, how to flourish more, and how to put these scientific findings into practice by building the sorts of habits that will allow us to live a happier and more fulfilling life.
Psychology and the Good Life
The class Laurie teaches at Yale, Psychology and the Good Life, presents a set of scientifically-validated strategies for living a more satisfying life. Her lecture will be a very short précis version of the course — She will introduce some misconceptions we have about what makes for a satisfying life and explain how our minds lie to us about what will make us happy, suggesting that some of the things we think matter for our happiness simply don’t. Laurie will take a quick look at the psychological biases and dumb features of our mind that lead us astray, biases that make it hard for us to see what makes us happy and cause us to seek out the wrong sorts of things (a phenomenon she refers to as miswanting). Laurie will end with what psychology research shows about what we really should strive for to live a happier and more satisfying life.
Dear Dr. Santos — I would like to express my sincere gratitude for the powerful presentation that you gave yesterday at
It's safe to say she was one of the favorites of the conference. Even our CEO and Chairman of the Board said she was the
Laurie was absolutely fantastic! I was not the producer at her first engagement, but, of course, we passed notes and the