The Psychology of Human Nature: Altruism, Conformity and Happiness (Premium Program)


The Psychology of Human Nature: Altruism, Conformity and Happiness

Catherine Sanderson / Amherst College

Each class will be presented from 7:00 – 8:30 PM EDT

Part 1 – September 21st 

Part 2 – September 23rd

Part 3 – September 28th

The Psychology of Human Nature

This up-to-the-minute course will examine some of the most fascinating questions about human nature, including; how do social norms guide virtually all aspects of our lives, from what we wear, to the car we drive, to how we vote. Why do people in groups tend to behave badly? Is there wisdom in crowds?  Why do people engage in prosocial behavior, from donating to charity to volunteering to giving blood? Is altruism rooted in our biology, a desire to feel good about ourselves, or true concern and compassion for others?  How do money, age, and marriage influence happiness?  What are the three components of well-being?  We’ll explore how psychological factors influence virtually all aspects of our lives, and learn science-based strategies for finding greater happiness.


Catherine Sanderson is the Poler Family Professor and Chair of Psychology at Amherst College, and is often cited as the school’s most popular professor. Her research has received grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. She has published over 25 journal articles in addition to three college textbooks. In 2012, she was named one of the country’s top 300 professors by the Princeton Review.

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