What mechanisms underlie human virtue and how can we use science to nudge them?

David DeSteno studies the ways in which emotions guide decisions and behaviors fundamental to social living. By examining moral and economic behaviors such as compassion and trust, cooperation and resilience, and dishonesty and prejudice, his work tries to illuminate how emotions can optimize our actions in favor of the greater good or, by virtue of bugs in the system, lead to suboptimal or biased outcomes. His research continually shows that human character is highly influenced by forces outside awareness and is much more variable than we tend to think. Recognizing how those forces actually operate guides his efforts to work with public and private sector partners to design scalable nudges to enhance well-being.
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Contact David  |  Curriculum Vitae  |  Northeastern University Page

Forthcoming Book

A string of bestsellers has alerted us to the link between greatness, self-control, and grit. But no book yet has revealed the most accessible and powerful path to helping us value the future more than the present. Emotional Success, in myth-shattering ways, shows how three prosocial emotions provide the key. These feelings—gratitude, compassion, and pride—rather than the traditionally mentioned willpower and self-denial, offer a path by which to maximize not only your resume virtues, but your eulogy ones, too.





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