Laurie Santos

Chandrika and Ranjan Tandon Prof. of Psychology, Yale University | Host, The Happiness Lab Podcast
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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.”

Topics

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.

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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.

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Videos

Yale Professor and "The Happiness Lab" Podcast Host Laurie Santos on the Importance of Having Fun
Laurie Santos
What the Ancients Got Right about Happiness with Tamar Gendler
Laurie Santos
Monkey minds, human minds and theatre | Laurie Santos | TEDxBroadway
Laurie Santos
Keys to Happiness: Gratitude, Free Time, and Social Connections
Laurie Santos
How happiness impacts your business with Katie Couric and Dr. Laurie Santos
Laurie Santos
7 Ways to Be Happier, According to Yale Professor of Well-Being
Laurie Santos

Articles

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Yale happiness expert: The No. 1 thing you can do to be happier—businesses can also use it to excel
CNBC Make It
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Putting your head down and hustling is ‘totally wrong,’ says Yale happiness expert—here’s what to do instead
CNBC
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The creator of Yale’s viral happiness class offers tips for boosting employee satisfaction
Fast Company
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‘Big Bird’s hands were on my shoulders!’: the psychology professor who teamed up with Sesame Street
The Guardian
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Why humans are surprisingly bad at being happy
BigThink
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Yale happiness expert shares how to turn failure into success: ‘Nerves are good’
CNBC
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Yale University’s most popular class is now free for teenagers—why it could make you happier
CNBC
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Why Americans are lonelier and its effects on our health
PBS
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Yale’s Happiness Professor Says Anxiety Is Destroying Her Students
New York Times
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What We Get Wrong About Happiness, According To A Real Happiness Professor
The Huffington Post

Podcasts

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Happiness
Mental Health
Wellness
Wellness & Mental Health
Talent Development
Women's Voices
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