uc-berkeley

UC Berkeley students are fighting to get a building named after Assata Shakur

Tired of feeling overlooked and disrespected by the campus community, University of California, Berkeley’s Black Student Union recently issued a list of 10 demands to administrators meant to improve the university’s racial acceptance and diversity. These included hiring more black administrators and creating an African-American resource center. But the most controversial request was that the campus building that “houses Ethnic Studies, Women’s Studies and African-American Studies” be renamed in honor of black rights activist Assata Shakur,

Naturally, some conservatives aren’t thrilled

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We Are Built To Be Kind

Greed is good. War is inevitable. Cooperation is for suckers. 

Whether in political theory or popular culture, human nature is often portrayed as selfish and power hungry. UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner challenges this notion of human nature and seeks to better understand why we evolved pro-social emotions like empathy, compassion and gratitude.

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How your genes may be giving you the giggles

Next time you find yourself with an uncontrollable urge to laugh, you can thank your parents.  

Researchers at UC Berkeley and Northwestern University have found that a gene involved in the regulation of serotonin makes some of us more prone to spontaneous smiles and bursts of laughter.

And this “giggle gene” is the same one that is also associated with marital bliss or blues.

Specifically, researchers looked at two versions of the gene variant, or “allele” known as 5-HTTLPR, and found that people with the short version were more likely to smile and laugh while looking at cartoons and funny clips from the movie Strangers in Paradise.

They found that people with the short allele displayed a more genuine smile and laugh than people with the long allele.

While previous research have found that people with the short variant were more vulnerable to depression and anxiety, this study also shows that they are more responsive to the emotional highs of life as well.

“Having the short allele is not bad or risky,” said Dr. Claudia Haase of Northwestern University, coauthor of the study. “Instead, the short allele amplifies emotional reactions to both good and bad environments.“

Learn more about the giggling gene

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