— Zora Neale Hurston
We examine factors that promote feelings of connectedness and ways we can help people connect to themselves and each other. We’re happiness researchers who study the role connection plays across different contexts, such as resiliency in the face of life changes and significant loss, parenting and youth development, and health and well-being. We cherish the San Francisco Bay Area’s history as a hub of innovation, exploration, and social justice, and we work to build productive collaborations between our lab and our community of local innovators and social change makers.
We draw on both qualitative and quantitative methods. Because we always start with people’s lived experiences of connection, our approach is deeply phenomenological—a fancy way of saying we are guided by a commitment to listening to people’s stories and their understanding of their experiences. However, our work goes beyond simply describing the experience of connection, to understanding the role that it plays in our lives, especially as it relates to well-being. The complexities of people’s lives and experiences are often best understood through narrative methods. That said, quantitative methods also have a role in the work we do by allowing rigorous testing of hypotheses, such as whether a specific intervention or practice is effective.
We believe that authentic connection to ourselves and each other is the cornerstone of a life well-lived. Our mission is to help people understand the role that connection plays in well-being, and how to foster it in their everyday lives. Understanding how to develop and maintain connection is a skill—one that can be taught.
If you are a mental health professional, or psychology graduate student interested in joining our research team, please contact us.