Friday, January 30, 2009

Dacher Keltner - Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life

Kepler's was lucky enough to have well-known positive emotions reseacher Dacher Keltner address an audience of 85 people at the store on January 28, 2009. Host Bobbi Emel reports:

Dr. Keltner's book is an interesting study of the science of positive emotions. Drawing on the work of Darwin and, more recently, Paul Ekman, Keltner attempts to disprove the idea that humans are wired to live "nasty, brutish" lives. Instead, he discusses how positive emotions have been vital in the evolution of our species.

Although his subject matter runs the risk of becoming dry due to the scientific nature of it, Dr. Keltner writes with clarity and humor, capturing the interest of the reader from the start. Luckily for the large audience that attended the event, he also is a great speaker, entertaining and witty while still being able to easily explain his findings in the book.

Dr. Keltner, a professor of psychology at UC Berkeley, brought a graduate student, Chris, with him and we were lucky enough to hear about some of the early studies Chris is doing on the vagus nerve. They are finding that positive emotions are also related to the vagus nerve and that a number of maladies from depression to autism may potentially be treated by stimulating this nerve.

The audience had a number of interesting questions which were met with more interesting answers and all involved seemed very pleased with the night's event.

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