Yale University had never seen anything like it. In early 2018, a psychology professor called Laurie Santos launched a new course titled ‘Psyc 157: Psychology of the Good Life.’ Santos had become increasingly concerned about the levels of depression and anxiety among her students. She believed she could teach them how they could be happier.
The response to Santos’s new course was staggering. Nearly 1,200 students enrolled; that’s about one quarter of the university’s entire undergraduate population. The course was then released online for free; more than 400,000 people around the world have taken it. She now has a hit podcast called The Happiness Lab, which has been downloaded over 7 million times since its launch in September 2019 and has its second season on the way.
“The data suggests that becoming happier is a lot like learning to play the violin… It’s not impossible to do. You just have to commit to practicing.”Laurie Santos
Psychologist and cognitive scientist, Laurie Santos, is Professor of Psychology at Yale University. She is also Director of Yale’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory, Director of Yale’s Canine Cognition Lab, and Head of Yale’s Silliman College. In January 2018, her course titled ‘Psychology and the Good Life’ became the most popular course in Yale’s history. She is the host of the podcast The Happiness Lab, published by Pushkin Industries, the media company led by journalists Malcolm Gladwell and Jacob Weisberg.