Laurie Santos

Laurie Santos is head of Silliman College and a professor of psychology at Yale University. She also serves as director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory and the Canine Cognition Center, a research facility that studies how dogs think about the world. Dr. Santos is an expert on human cognition, its origins, and the evolutionary biases that influence our life choices, and from her research, she speaks to how we are biologically programmed to be motivated by sex, to be deeply influenced by other people, and to repeat our mistakes. She teaches one of Yale’s most popular undergraduate courses, “Sex, Evolution, and Human Nature.” Dr. Santos’s current focus is to positively influ¬ence the culture of Yale University by teaching about happiness and well-being. In her course “Psychology and the Good Life,” she teaches 1,200 students about behavioral change through positive psychology. Dr. Santos’s numerous awards for science, teaching, and mentorship include the Stanton Prize from the Society for Philosophy and Psychology for outstanding contributions to interdisciplinary research. She obtained a PhD in psychology from Harvard University.

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