Santa Clara University


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New Courses


happiness_sm The University’s Honors Program invited Sunwolf to develop her popular upper division course, The Science of Happiness (Comm 100A), as a lower division honors course (HNRS 20). 

When we get what we wanted, why doesn't that always make us happy? Our relationships are embedded in the pursuit or loss of happiness. This course is an interdisciplinary review of research and theories that explain our experiences of happiness. Topics include the transient nature of happiness, our brain's biological happiness system, the effects of tragic or fortunate events, blind spots, counterfactual thinking/future-thinking/presentism, the science of laughter, and the communication roles of complaints versus gratitude. We will look at how happiness is affected by winning or by losing, as well as why predicting our future happiness (when we choose mates, careers, and material acquisitions) is often flawed. Students will gain an understanding of what might (or might not) bring them and those they care about sustained happiness—for the decisions they will be making throughout their lives. Visit Professor Sunwolf's Web site.