The purpose of this course is to teach the emerging science of compassion, which explores the roots of a meaningful, purposeful, and happy life. Students will discover how cutting-edge research is yielding fundamental insights into the nature of human kindness, the origins of empathy, the promotion of altruistic behavior, and the benefits of living a more compassionate life. The fundamental premise of the course is that connecting to others, behaving in kind ways, and contributing to something larger than yourself is a primary driver of human happiness and flourishing. Students will gain expertise in cross-disciplinary research from psychology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and beyond.
This course (previously Psy Beh 192B) is designed as a gateway course for students participating in the 3-quarter Blum/Living Peace Global Service Scholars program that involves an advanced seminar and immersive field study experience. This course will prepare students for experiential and service learning (such as the UCI Social Ecology requirement of a four-unit field study) as well as stand as a core course of the proposed Compassion and Service Track within the existing Civic and Community Engagement Minor.
The course is also informed by extensive discussions with the poverty alleviation, sustainable development and humanitarian assistance communities about preparing students for careers in these areas.
PSCI 192B is a 4-unit 10-week course, and is entirely online with two components: the lectures and the weekly discussions.