Science of the Good Life

Science of the Good Life

The goal of this FIG is to give you the tools you need to lead a more fulfilling and satisfying life, as evidenced by research in Neuroscience, Psychology, Philosophy, and good ole fashion wisdom. We will use the "Head, Hearts, Hands" model of learning. Heads refers to intellectual knowledge, Heart is emotional intelligence and development, and finally Hands is putting the principles we learn into action. In BI 170 (Happiness: a Neuroscience and Psychology Perspective), FIG members will learn the latest neuroscience research revealing how negative (e.g. stress, anxiety) and positive (e.g. empathy, compassion) emotional states are generated in the brain. They will also explore what new results in psychological science teach us about how to be happier, how to feel less stressed, and how to flourish. This course is supplemented by taking either PSY 201: Mind and Brain or PSY 202: Mind and Society, in which the FIG members will learn how the brain generates our mind, our personalities, perceptions, and biases. In this FIG, in addition to modern scientific studies, we will also examine ancient wisdom on the purpose and meaning of "a well-lived life". We will discuss emotional intelligence and development, and how behavior results from an interaction of knowledge of facts and principles (intellectual understanding) with emotional state. The weekly seminar portion of the FIG will emphasize putting the principles learned in Happiness class (BI 170) into practice (the "Hands" component of active learning). Each week we will briefly discuss the principles taught about how to practice a well lived life, and then perform activities that put those principles into action. Such as learning to meditate on a regular basis, exercising by taking a hike to a nearby park and garden, watching a movie, such as "Buck - the horse whisperer" which emphasizes compassion, discussing the role of relationships in long term happiness and developing effective interpersonal communication skills. Through this FIG, you will learn not only the science of a well-lived life, but also how to put that science and knowledge to everyday use. Through this knowledge and practice, you will become a happier, more connected, and less stressed student who is better equipped to contribute to positive change in the world. Join us and learn to be connected, grounded, and happy!

Students explore the intersection of topics by taking the following course package:

UGST 109 First-Year Experience Seminar - 1-credit

BI 170 Happiness: a Neuroscience and Psychology Perspective - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

This course examines research in positive psychology and neuroscience that reveal the behavioral activities and mindsets that promote positive life engagement and the neural circuits that influence this. The course will examine the evidence that happiness is significantly influenced by genetics and mindset, with only a small component arising from life circumstances.

Students then also will be in one of the following:

PSY 201 Mind and Brain - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

Mind & Brain is part of a two-course sequence (with Mind & Society, PSY202) that provides an overview of introductory psychology. This course covers experimental approaches to the study of the human mind and brain, including such topics as the history and methods of psychological research, the organization of the nervous system, sensation, perception, attention, learning, memory, cognition and consciousness.

PSY 202 Mind and Society - CoreEd or major satisfying course, 4-credits

This course is an introduction to psychological research methods, child and adult development, personality structure and functioning, social processes in every-day life, cultural and cross-cultural models of human adaptation, and abnormal-clinical psychology. This course is part of a two-term sequence in introductory psychology. The other course in this sequence (PSY 201) emphasizes learning, perception, memory, and the role of neural structures in psychological processes. PSY 201 and 202 are not prerequisites for each other.