The Blum/Living Peace Science & Practice of Compassion Program aims to elucidate and cultivate compassion, empathy, purpose, and cross-cultural connectedness among UCI students.

As part of this initiative, we will design and test the effectiveness of targeted interventions (e.g., Global Scholars Program, the Science of Compassion course, virtual simulations, daily interventions) delivered to UCI undergraduate students.

To better understand the ways in which the university setting can enhance empathy and compassion, we will also design and administer a survey to be delivered to approximately 2,500 undergraduates, starting from July through October of 2018. This initial wave of survey data will be used to gauge baseline levels of compassion and empathy among students entering the university, as well as to provide cutting-edge insight into the factors that best predict the development of compassion among students. We hope to conduct follow-up surveys on an annual basis, with a focus on those students receiving particular interventions, with the goal of understanding students' psychological and emotional responses to Blum Center initiatives (e.g., the Global Scholars program) over time.


  • MORE Survey
  • Distinguished Visiting Scholars
  • Online Education
  • Poverty Track of Civic & Community Engagement Minor
  • Women & Girls Empowerment Projects
  • Small Change, Better World
  • Global Service Scholars

Research Leads

Photo by Kendrick Brinson

Paul Piff (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior at the University of California, Irvine. His primary interests are in how social hierarchy, economic inequality and social class, and social emotion shape relations between individuals and groups.

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Pia Dietze Photo

Pia Dietze (Ph.D., New York University) is a postdoctoral scholar researching how disparities in the economic conditions of the lives of different social class groups shape their social attitudes, attention, and appraisals. Her research employs a variety of cutting-edge tools, including psychophysiology, virtual reality, social media engagement, and reaction times.