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The Happiness Lab, with Yale Professor Laurie Santos

Santos’ work combines psychology with the real-life application of behavioural sciences, debunking false notions of what makes us happy.

“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

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.

On Saturday June 13, Santos will be appearing for us in conversation with Xand van Tulleken, the doctor and much loved television presenter. They will explore how we can all lead more meaningful lives – and be happier. The data suggests that taking Santos’ course works. Santos had thousands of students take a wellbeing survey before and after taking her online course, and the average student’s happiness score increased by more than ten percent.

Santos’ work combines psychology with the real-life application of behavioural sciences, debunking false notions of what makes us happy while helping students understand the habits they need to lead fulfilled lives.

Watch the event live and have your chance to type in your question during the Q and A.



Laurie Santos

Professor of Psychology at Yale University and host of The Happiness Lab podcast

Psychologist and cognitive scientist who 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.

Dr Xand van Tulleken

Doctor and television broadcaster

Doctor and television broadcaster. He has presented numerous science shows for the BBC and Channel 4, often alongside his twin brother Chris. He has a background in humanitarian medicine and has recently been volunteering with humanitarian aid groups whose skills are now required on the streets of Britain. His books include How to Lose Weight Well: Keep Weight Off Forever, the Healthy, Simple Way.


Speakers are subject to change.