We asked some of the nation’s leading brain scientists to help us explain the science behind Project Hope Exchange, and here’s what they shared:
“Project Hope Exchange works because we have parts of our brain and nervous system linked to dopamine and oxytocin circuits that are activated when we give and serve. So when we give hope to others … we derive very deep pleasure–pleasure that is as strong as when we receive hope, ourselves.”
Dacher Keltner, Ph.D.
Author, “Born to be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life”
“Quite simply, Project Hope Exchange does what it intends: it delivers hope. Not so long ago, conventional and clinical wisdom dictated the we all keep negative events and related negative emotions tucked away where no one could see or hear them. We now know that communication, sharing, openness, and support are vital for everyone involved. Adversity CAN be overcome, but it takes disclosure, discussion, and reciprocal communication to change our formerly closed ways of doing business. Project Hope Exchange can lead all society away from despair.”
Stephen Hinshaw, Ph.D.
Professor and Former Chair, U.C. Berkeley Department of Psychology
“We are biologically equipped to empathize, care-give and importantly, experience pleasure when providing support. The Vagus Nerve helps us transcend self-focus to affiliate and connect, while brain pathways that speak in oxytocin and dopamine build trust and affection and reinforce the desire to relieve other people’s pain and suffering. According to science, engaging these systems by attuning to others and lending support–as Project Hope Exchange facilitates–leads to better health, well-being and social functioning.”
Emiliana Simon-Thomas, Ph.D.
Science Director at Greater Good Science Center