Helping and Happiness

Date: August 20th 2020

Presenter: Dr. Lara Aknin


Although humans are often accused of being cold, selfish, and solitary creatures, a growing body of research demonstrates that people not only engage in generous behaviour, but they appear to experience pleasure from doing so. In this talk Dr. Aknin will present research supporting the hypothesis that spending money on other people (prosocial spending) can lead to greater well-being than spending money on oneself. Data will span various ages, communities and cultures from around the globe, personal histories, and methodologies to demonstrate the generalizability and robustness of this effect.


Dr. Lara Aknin is a Distinguished Associate Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, former Fellow with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, and a co-editor of the World Happiness Report. She holds a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Aknin’s research focuses on the antecedents and consequences of happiness and prosocial behaviour. Most of her work examines how generous behaviour makes people feel.

Her research has been published in various academic journals, including Science, Nature Human Behaviour, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Social Psychological and Personality Science and Perspectives on Psychological Science, and has been covered in international media outlets such as the CBC, CNN, Maclean’s Magazine, Forbes, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

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Twitter: @lbaknin

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