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The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

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Season 2

The Power of a Made-up Ritual
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Vlad’s mom taught him a family tradition — remember grandpa when you taste the first fruits of the season. It was odd, but the boy went along with it. Only later when he faced two crushing bereavements of his own did Vlad realize the power of tiny personal rituals to ease his grief.

Dr. Laurie Santos examines the science behind this effect and explains how rites, ceremonies and rituals could help you deal with events that make you sad — from job rejections to divorce.

To learn more. . .

Vlad Chituc’s website

Mike Norton’s website

Francesca Gino’s website

Links to references from this episode:

“They study the science behind rituals.”

Gino, F. & Norton, M. (2013). Why RItuals Work. Scientific American.

“We did a couple of surveys really early on where we asked people”

Norton, M. I., & Gino, F. (2014). Rituals alleviate grieving for loved ones, lovers, and lotteries. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(1), 266.

“But the thing we landed on was having people lose a lot of money.”

Norton, M. I., & Gino, F. (2014). Rituals alleviate grieving for loved ones, lovers, and lotteries. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(1), 266.

“Creative personal rituals like the tattoo Vlad is planning can help people take control of otherwise out-of-control seeming situations.”

Gino, F. & Norton, M. (2013). Why RItuals Work. Scientific American.

“Even when we look in pretty diverse regions of the world, in fact in all seven major regions of the world we find this relationship whereby people who donate money to charity are happier than those who don't.”

Norton, M. I., & Gino, F. (2014). Rituals alleviate grieving for loved ones, lovers, and lotteries. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(1), 266.

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