Guest – Dacher Keltner

Dacher Keltner received his BA in Psychology and Sociology from UC Santa Barbara in 1984 and his PhD in Social Psychology from Stanford University in 1989. After a post-doc at UCSF with Paul Ekman, in 1992 he took his first academic job, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and then returned to Berkeley’s Psychology Department in 1996, where he is now a full professor. 

Dacher’s research focuses on two time-honored questions.  A first is the biological and evolutionary origins of human goodness, with a special concentration on compassion, awe, love, and beauty.  A second is the study of power, status and social class, and the nature of moral intuitions.  Dacher is the co-author of two best selling textbooks, one on human emotion, the other on social psychology, as well as Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life, published in January 2009 by WW Norton Publishers, which makes the case for an evolutionary approach to the emotions that promote human goodness.  

Dacher has published over 100 scientific articles, he has written for the New York Times Magazine and Utne Reader, and has received numerous national prizes and grants for his research.  His research has been covered in TIME, Newsweek, the New York Times, the BBC, CNN, NPR, and in many other outlets.  For his teaching and mentoring was selected as the Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor in 2002, and the Outstanding Teacher, Division of Social Sciences, in 2002.  WIRED magazine recently rated Dacher’s podcasts from his course Emotion as one of the five best educational downloads, and the Utne Reader selected Dacher for one of its 50 2008 visionaries.  

Dacher also serves as the Director of the Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, where he serves as co-editor of the center’s magazine, Greater Good. 

Dacher lives in Berkeley with his wife, an alumna of Berkeley, and their two daughters.