Happiness Education Course Ideas

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Revision as of 23:24, 13 April 2007 by Ravi (Talk | contribs)
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This page was created for Ravi Iyer and Brian Lickel to brainstorm over ideas for a new course on "Happiness" aimed at undergraduates at USC.


General vision

Syllabus in Progress

Schedule of Classes and Topics

*February 12:  Social Comparison – Envy or Inspiration? 
*February 14:  Overwhelmed by Choice? 
*February 19:  Exam 1 Covering Lecture Material up to February 14, and these readings… Goleman (1-6); Schwartz (All of it); 
*February 21:  Health and Happiness – A Two Way Street 
*February 26: The Importance of Others – The Neurological Bases of the Pain of Social Isolation and Joy of Social Inclusion 
 *February 28:  The Benefits of Social Connection – Giving and Getting 
*March 4:  Why your Set-Point gets Set - How Genes, Parenting, and Childhood Experiences Interact to Influence Lifetime Happiness 
*March 6:  Depression and Anxiety – The Accidental Discovery of Anti-Depressants, and the Neuroscience of Negative Mood 
*March 11:  Belief in Change – You Are Not (Totally) a Prisoner to Your Genes (or Childhood) 
*March 13:  Self-Esteem – The Strange Journey of a Pop Psychology Concept 
*Week of March 17 – Spring Break 
*March 25:  Positive Illusions – The Bad and the Good 
*April 1:  Focusing Your Mind – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s Science-Tested Tricks to Beat the Thoughts that Lead to Unhappiness
 *April 3:  Zen Mind, Happy Mind? – The History, Practice, Neuroscience, and Consequences of Meditation and Prayer 
 *April 8:  Exam 2 – Lecture material through April 3, and these readings…Goleman (7-16); Haidt (All of it); Twenge (All of it) 
 *April 10:  The Art of Social Negotiation – Getting What You Want and Being Nicer Too 
  *April 15:  Money – Why Most of Us Spend Too Much and Save Too Little (and what to do about it). 
*April 17:  Creating Good Relationships – Some Science-Based Suggestions  
 *April 22:  Work and Happiness – Flowing with Csikszentmihalyi 
*April 24:  The Science of Happiness and the Practice of Public Policy – What (If Anything) Should Government Do? 
 *April 29:  The Meaning of it All – Adversity, Gratitude, and Growth 
 *May 1:  Turn in Paper, Class Evaluation, Review for Final 
 *May xx:  Final Exam (For the Final, read all of Easterbrook…which you should have done anyway to write a good paper)

Topics we could cover

What is happiness? How is it measured?

the Hedonic Treadmill

Wanting vs. Liking

Basic Psychological Needs

Training one's focus (ie. Gratitude, Altruism)


Relationships & Emotional Intelligence

The relationship between physical and emotional health

Self Regulation, Habits vs. Discipline, Belief

Adversity and Resilience

Experiencing Flow

Morality and Evil


Multimedia we could use

Experiential Excercises

Books to buy/check out

Other thoughts/ideas

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