Dacher Keltner Ph.D. Professor of Psychology This Emotional Life - PBS

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Experts Biography

Awards and Credentials

  1. Utne Reader selected Dr. Keltner as one of its 50 visionaries for 2008
  2. WIRED magazine recently rated Dr. Keltner's podcasts from his course Emotion as one of the five best educational downloads
  3. Outstanding Teacher, Division of Social Sciences, University of California
  4. Templeton Positive Psychology Outstanding Contribution to Research, 2000

Dacher Keltner Ph.D.


Dr. Keltner is a Professor of Psychology and the Director of Greater Good Science Center. He received his Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Stanford University in 1989. In 1992, after completing a postdoctorate at UCSF with Paul Ekman, he took his first academic job, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then returned to Berkeley’s Psychology Department in 1996, where he is now a full professor.

Dr. Keltner’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. Dr. Keltner has also researched human facial expressions. A study he is particularly well known for is the “Duchenne smile,” which distinguishes genuine smiles from fake ones. In an examination of 141 Mills College senior yearbook photos, Dr. Keltner found that women whose smiles were rated as genuine experienced more happiness and positive connections—even 30 years later.

Dr. Keltner is the coauthor 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. He has published over 100 scientific articles, has written for the New York Times Magazine, the London Times, 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, on the BBC, CNN, and NPR, and in many other outlets. Dr. Keltner also serves as coeditor of the Greater Good Science Center’s online magazine, Greater Good. He lives in Berkeley with his wife, an alumna of Berkeley, and their two daughters.