Psychology: Understanding Happiness

TED Studies, created in collaboration with Wiley, are curated video collections — supplemented by rich educational materials — for students, educators and self-guided learners. In Understanding Happiness, expert explorers of the mind chart our understanding of how happiness is created and cultivated. Their insights challenge our most basic cultural, political and economic assumptions and are transforming the field of psychology. Relevant areas of interest, study and coursework include: positive psychology, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, evolutionary psychology, clinical psychology, marriage and family counseling, coaching, emotion and consumer behavior.

Learning outcomes

TED's Understanding Happiness will provide learners with a deeper knowledge of:

  • The measurement of happiness (and unhappiness)
  • When and why people feel at their most happy (physiologically and psychologically)
  • The extent to which people are predisposed to be happy
  • Effective (and ineffective) methods to increase and sustain happiness
  • How our preferences and beliefs determine happiness
  • How choice, freedom, and embracing diversity influence collective happiness
  • Advances in the theory and applications of positive psychology.

Relevant talks

Introductory essay

Begin Understanding Happiness with a fascinating read that gives context and clarity to the material.

About the educator

TED Studies professor: Cary Cooper

Cary Cooper is the Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at the University of Lancaster and co-founder of the consulting firm Robertson-Cooper.

About TED Studies

TED Studies created in partnership with
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Each TED Study offers a curated and sequenced set of TED Talks, along with specially commissioned materials for teaching and self-guided learning. Created by world class experts, they cover topics ranging from "Understanding Happiness" to "Covering World News" to "Ecofying Cities." An abbreviated version of TED Studies is offered here; the full curricula — including special modules on each talk with questions, assignments, key terms and recommended reading — are available for licensing to academic institutions, ministries of education, and media companies worldwide.

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