What Are We Trying to Find Out?

Thnx4 is an initiative of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and part of a $5.6 million, three-year project called Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude, funded by the John Templeton Foundation. The general goals of this initiative are to:

  • Expand the scientific database of gratitude, particularly in the key areas of human health, personal and relational well-being, and developmental science;
  • Promote evidence-based practices of gratitude in medical, educational, and organizational settings and in schools, workplaces, homes and communities, and in so doing…
  • Engage the public in a larger cultural conversation about the role of gratitude in civil society.

The Thnx4 project serves as a platform for gratitude scientists worldwide to ask a virtually unlimited range of questions about the role of gratitude in human life, both for real time and before-and-after experimental designs. Thnx4 provides both the “intervention”—a systematic, user friendly, highly scalable, free program for increasing gratitude—and the data collection device (built in, customizable inquiries to users both in daily sampling and pre/post modes) for discovering how gratitude influences people. For example, researchers are planning to use Thnx4 to find out if expressing gratitude toward "outgroup" members mitigates prejudice, or if gratitude affects burnout in health care settings. Ultimately, we envision Thnx4 as the most systematic, widely accessible tool for spreading the practice and scientific study of gratitude.