Solutions for Higher Education

Episode 33: The Pursuit of Happiness


This week's episode President Scott Wyatt and Steven Meredith talk with psychology professor about Grant Corser about introspection and happiness and how it applies to being a student and beyond.



Full Transcript

Steve Meredith: Hi again everyone, and welcome to Solutions for Higher Education, a podcast featuring Scott L Wyatt, the president of Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah. I'm your host, Steve Meredith, and joining me in-studio today, as he always does, is Scott. How are you doing?

Scott Wyatt: Terrific, thanks. Thanks, Steve.

Meredith: It's good to see you. I think most people don't know that we do a bunch of these in a row and, unlike when they do it for a gameshow or something like TV, we don't even change shirts in between when we do one podcast to another. [Laughs]

Wyatt: Yeah, it's so…radio is awesome.

Meredith: It really is, especially if you look like me. I've got a radio face, to be sure. [Both laugh] Anyway, we're going to…well, it's evaluation season. We actually had a podcast about this last year, where the universities get ranked by various organizations. Actually, I think it was one of our most listened-to podcasts. It's actually a pretty interesting and lively discussion about how generally unfair those rankings tend to be, or at least stacked towards one particular group of universities.

Wyatt: Yeah, and we tend to change our behavior to meet rankings, and sometimes that's not the kind of behavior we want to do or should do.

Meredith: We're going to follow up on that in a slightly different way today with our guest and we're going to talk about little bit about evaluation. Why don't you introduce him?

Wyatt: So, we are delighted to have with us today Dr. Grant Corser from our psychology department. And Grant, you've had an interesting life and I've seen you on a motorcycle and in the classroom, and I've been able to listen to you lecture on these topics a few times and it's just really fascinating. But why don't you give us just a little introduction to your professional background?

Grant Corser: Sure, thank you. Thank you for having me Dr. Meredith and President Wyatt. I'm happy to be here and I hope that what we talk about today will be informative to us as a group, but also to those that might listen to us. I'm a research psychologist by training and I've spent most of my time looking at aspects of human emotionality and senses of self and how these things really affect our day-to-day life and how we can start to use some of the knowledge we have about psychological processes and our own sense of who and what we are to really better the human condition. There are plenty of things out there that can make our life easier, can make our life better, and having a certain measure of understanding of who and what we are always seems to be beneficial to our existence. Not only for us, but for other people. So, I'm glad to spend some time with you all today talking about these things.

Wyatt: One of the things that we've talked about before and I've heard you present on multiple times is about self-evaluation, and how difficult that is. It's hard enough to be evaluated by somebody else and accept it but taking that another step beyond and evaluating ourselves and responding to these other evaluations…it's certainly at the core of what we do at universities because we're evaluation students. When people think of a university, they think of grades. But why is it so hard for us to objectively evaluate ourselves? We're smart people, it shouldn't be that hard. Why is it so hard?

Corser: We are smart people, and humans are doing really well despite a lot of our problems, despite a lot of the challenges that we face often, we do quite well. So, we…it's difficult often for us to take a look at who and what we are because what research and experience tells us is that we as humans like to be fairly consistent and we like to have a fairly predictable future in front of us. We like to have a sense of perceived control. As we start to look inwards, we start to look at who and what we are, it can be a little uncomfortable. So, built into us humans are all kinds of mechanisms that allow us to have a sense on constancy and a sense of perceived control. You know, we often times look at our own behavior in a very different way than we look at others' behavior, even if it's the same type of behavior that's happening. And in hindsight, it becomes a little bit funny and we might even seem a little hypocritical, but the great thing about this self that we have or this part of us that starts to organize all these ideas of who and what we are is that there are mechanisms in place to allow us to improve and to allow us to do better. Now, it's not always a clear cut without difficult process, and sometimes it's painful to take a look at ourselves, but as we look at ourselves for the purpose of improvement or for evaluation that leads towards improvement, we've been equipped quite well to be able to overcome some of these pains associate with self-evaluation to really move forward. It turns out that we as humans don't like to spend a lot of time thinking about ourselves, and part of the reason for that is we're really the most happy, we're really the most content when we have a slightly exaggerated sense of our skills, capacities, and abilities. So, often taking a close look at who and what we are can knock some of those things down and put them into a state of reality that we then are equipped to fix.

Wyatt: So, as long as I continue thinking that I'm just a little bit better than I am, then I'm happier?

Corser: That's what the research indicates.

Wyatt: Wow.

Corser: And again, when you look at this at face value, you go, "What's wrong with us humans?" But then understanding that our emotionality is really driven by just a slightly better sense of who and what we are rather than what we actually are seems to be quite useful for us. It allows us to function well.

Wyatt: So, when I talk to some people about whatever it is they're doing, I commonly hear, probably from myself as well as anybody else, that if we fail at something, we tend to seek an external cause first rather than immediately try to re-examine what we might have done wrong.

Corser: That's accurate, and a lot of psychologists refer to this as a self-serving bias. And so, it's a protective function that's built into us. If we fail at something, our first reaction is to somehow give it an external cause, just like you are saying, and a common example that's used in a classroom setting is if I'm a student and I fail an exam, the easiest way to maintain a sense of positive self-view is to blame it on the exam, blame it on the professor. If I am getting closer to a self-evaluation or a self-cause then I might say, "Well, it's because I work too much." But it seems to be pretty difficult for us humans just to say, "I failed this exam because I did not spend enough time studying" or "I failed this exam because I'm just not at a place where I need to be in order to be successful at this exam." By externalizing it, by putting it on to some other cause other than an internal cause, it really allows us to protect and maintain that slightly higher sense of who and what we are.

Wyatt: That's really interesting.

Corser: It's pretty fascinating. You know, there's a little bit of an opposite direction of that. If we have successes, we tend to almost immediately attribute it to an internal cause. So, if I take an exam as a student and I do really well, then it's not because the professor created an easy exam or it's not because the content was just easy for people to understand. It's because "I studied really hard and I really understood this" or "I'm an intelligent person, I can pass this kind of test because of the things I do." That tends to be the default for those things that we do that are positive. But we do tend to externalize those things that are more negative. It's interesting that when we look at other people's behavior in the same context that that process seems to flip a little bit. So, if I have a friend in the class where I am a student and he or she does well on an exam, I tend to also point towards an external cause. "Well, it was because the professor created an easy exam." But if that person or friend of mine, whoever it is, fails, that is, talking about the other, then we tend to give an internal cause for that person's behavior. "Oh, that person just didn't study enough." So, starting to piece a lot of these things together and we start to get this interesting view of the human sense of self. The things we do to protect it, the things we do to maintain it, the things we do to regulate it. And it creates a pretty interesting picture as we talk about or think about evaluation. But overall, we have a tendency to not want to engage in self-evaluation, again, for that purpose of wanting to maintain who and what we are.

Wyatt: Yeah, so I'm thinking about this in the context of so many things, but for example, when I was in law school, if somebody did a lot better than me, I would think, "Well, his dad is probably a lawyer, so he probably heard this stuff at the dinner table so it's probably naturally easier for him." That's an external cause for someone else's success.

Corser: That's right, that's right.

Wyatt: And it's an external cause for my lack of success.

Corser: That's right. So, if you kind of imagine this on a…

Wyatt: If I do well, it's my credit. If I don't do well, it's somebody else's fault. If someone else does well, it's some external cause, and if somebody else does poorly, then it's obviously their fault. That's the natural default?

Corser: That's our tendency. And again, we believe that these processes are to help us maintain a sense of constancy and a sense of perceived control. And when we look at this maybe societally, we go, "Oh, this is a little bit problematic." But when we look at it for the individual, it seems to work really well. So, in other words, if this is a process by which we can maintain a little bit of positive sense…excuse me, positive self-view, then this is a really good thing. But if we start blaming people for some of their failures not knowing what the cause is, then we can see how at a societal level, this becomes a little problematic. As we think about this though in terms of education or in terms of individuals wanting to make changes, because we have these processes, and these wants to maintain self-constancy, that is, to maintain who and what we are, it really becomes an active process in order to change. One of the professors with whom I used to work, his name was John Ault, he oftentimes told the story about exoskeleton animals like a crab. He would talk about how individuals like a crab with an exoskeleton, have the need to change and the need for their inside to grow, and at certain points, they need to shed off that hard, protective exoskeleton and until that grows back, they become very vulnerable. But the default is, if they remain in that exoskeleton and their inside continues to grow, they're in an even worse state. They get suffocated. And so, he would often talk about this idea that individuals need to become vulnerable by examining their self and who and what they are until they're able to build that protective reality hard shell around them again.

Wyatt: That's a great analogy.

Corser: Well, I give all credit to him on that one. [All laugh]

Wyatt: Well, and we…this is an interesting thing to kind of at first-glance, it seems like this is a horrible thing.

Corser: Mhmm.

Wyatt: That if I have a success, I automatically give myself credit. If I have a failure, I automatically find an external cause. It just seems like that's a ridiculous human condition. But what you're saying is, it actually helps protect us? And I'm thinking about that…so, we have to find a balance somehow. I'm thinking about that in the context of all of the students at our school who have so many anxieties and self-doubt and wondering if they can survive school. But maybe those kinds of things are help protecting their self-concept.

Corser: They absolutely are. And I think students come to a university context with the idea that there's going to be some change. You know, some change in who and what they are, some change in their value system, there's often a testing of values, a testing of morals, a testing of these things that happen in these first few years of being in a university context. But I don't know if they realize the degree to which it actually takes a concerted effort and work to make self-change. The self-preservation is quite strong. But what happens is as students are encouraged to really look at who and what they are and to make, as cliché as it might sound, to make realistic, active goals, it starts to create within them these things called…well, it starts to create within them this concept of what we call dissonance, or cognitive dissonance. So, students can start to see where they are now relative to where they want to be. And if those individuals are realistic in their future goals and where they want to be, it creates this discrepancy, and that discrepancy is accompanied with a feeling of discomfort. This is the whole idea of a dissonant state is to experience discomfort. And as people start to feel this discomfort, there's this other great regulatory process within us that happens that causes us to want to get to where we want to be. We call this simply a self-regulatory process. And as this self-regulatory process kicks in, we start making active progress towards those goals that we've created. And then when we get to that point of really evaluating once again where we are now relative to the goals that we've set, if we've accomplished those goals, or more specifically, if our students have accomplished these goals, then they are met with an affective state of reward and they start to feel that that have done something well and they're able to move forward from where they are. Now, if they look at their goals relative to where they've been, then this recreates…if they look at themselves where they've been, and they're not where they want to be, then this creates a re-established sense of dissonance. And once again, to try to get out of that sense of dissonance or that feeling of dissonance, we start moving towards those goals. And one of the end goals for students, for most of us in education and in other parts of life, is to achieve this state of happiness. And one of the ways that happiness has been defined, and I love this definition of happiness, is making reasonable progress towards goals. And part of the reason that when we're making progress towards goals we feel happy is because we're reducing the state of discrepancy or that state of dissonance. And so, really, we end up being in the business of helping people be happy. Not because they've accomplished things, but because they're making relatively good progress towards those things that will ultimately expand their sense of self and who and what they are. So, it's a great business to be in.

Wyatt: So, there's a lot of research that shows that people that have a bachelor's degree are happier, on average, than people who don't. Is this one of the reasons for that?

Corser: This could very well be one of the reasons for that. Prior to having a bachelor's degree, if their goal is to have a bachelor's degree, this creates a discrepancy or a dissonance between current and future state. And oftentimes people talk about their college years being formative, valuable, but also really happy times in their life. And if they're making these adequate progresses towards graduation or, in other words, towards a goal, they end to experience they're college time as being happy. And so, one of the things that we can do as educators is to help students reflect on where they've been, and where they are now. If education is such a rapid process that takes place and because, like I said in the beginning, we don't oftentimes spend much time thinking about our self, or in other words, we don't engage in introspection too much until really forced to do so or until life circumstances kind of cause us to do so, as educators, if we are willing every now and then to just say to students, "Think about what you knew at the beginning of this class" and let's say you're at mid-terms now and you say, "Think about what you know now relative to a specific concept." Oftentimes helping students realize that they've come a long way or that they actually know a lot now relative to what they knew causes that sense of happiness because there's  a realization that they're making progress towards a goal. If, of course, the goal is to be educated or to do well in the course or to have knowledge about a subject. And that's such an easy thing for us as educators to do is to take time to ask students to reflect on what they now know relative to what they knew before. And it tends to be a happy moment because it's hard to sit in a class and do even nothing and not learn something.

Wyatt: Are we in a happier state making progress to a goal? Or are we in a happier state having accomplished a goal?

Corser: The research tends to indicate that while we're making progress towards the goal, we experience that as happiness, and then in reflection upon the goal, we tend to experience that as happiness. Oftentimes, as many of us have experienced, the actual accomplishment of the goal doesn't seem to be all that satisfying. The before and after processes seem to be pretty important, and again, we tend not to reflect on those as much as we might. [All laugh]

Wyatt: So, I like to climb mountains.

Corser: Uh huh.

Wyatt: And as I get closer to the top, it's really great. When I hit the top, I think, "Aw, dang. Now I have to walk down." [All laugh] It steals my happiness a little bit because I'm standing there thinking, "Oh my gosh, I've got to walk all the way down this thing." [Laughs]

Corser: Yeah, so it's in the process…

Wyatt: But when I get home, it's a very happy thing.

Corser: Yeah, and the reflection of it—it, again, seems to be something that brings us a sense of joy or felicity or happiness. And that's because there are processes going on within us, right? Biological and chemical and phycological processes that are all happening for that purpose of accomplishing the goal, or in other words, another way to say that is to reduce that dissonance, but then once it is reduced, it's not necessarily met with a sense of happiness as much as it's met with a sense of no more discomfort. And so, the absence of discomfort isn't necessarily happiness, but that moving towards a state of no discomfort seems to be experienced as happiness. And it's a great feeling.

Meredith: I harp on this a little too much in these podcasts, but our listeners know that I run an online Music Technology Master's Degree, and purely by happenstance, we stumbled on some of what you're talking about right here. We decided we would have a beginning of the experience questionnaire or whatever, and then do the same thing at the end, right? And part of that was to try and convince students—because the students in this program tend to be a little bit older and maybe mid-career and so forth—that they'll get very blinkered in what the goal is, and we want them to start to define themselves a little more broadly. And so, the assignment, part of it, was, "Ask three people whose opinion you trust what are your greatest strengths? What are your greatest weaknesses? What's your Achilles heel?" So, there are four or five questions and they all seem fairly innocuous. And then there's a self-reflection where they mark that, and then they have a follow-up Skype phone call with me in the class. And I talk them through it and say, "Were there things on your list that didn't appear on the other list?" And what shocked me was how it knocked them off their pins a little bit. And part of it, I think, is because of the newness of the experience of being in graduate school and it's just all brand new, but some of it also is that here are these people that they've always imagined thought about them one way, and they've now said something maybe a little bit different. And some of it is very positive, "Hey, this is a great strength you have that maybe you don't think it's a great strength, but I do." But always on the weakness side is…and it's interesting to have a Skype conversation with someone because they can't fool you about when they're discussing something like that. You can see it in their face and their body posture how much they've been affected by that. And so, my goal has as much as teacher has been, "Well, the whole purpose of this is to get you to think about yourself differently than you are thinking about yourself right now. We want you to stop identifying yourself just in this way and expand your definition of yourself." And that I think is a little bit of what you've been talking about. It's great to get positive feedback, it's hard to get negative feedback, but as hard as anything is to see ourselves differently than we might have imagined we are.

Corser: Yeah, this is absolutely accurate. And its really part of good pedagogy, similar to what you're saying, to be able to maybe prod along a little bit of that dissonance creation. To prod along this idea of, "Hey, maybe you are not as good as you think you are. That's why you're here." But then part of that good pedagogy also is to be able to give students the mechanisms and the opportunities to reduce that dissonance. All of us have probably had a professor or two across our lifetime or even people we might know now who do really well at telling students how little they know and try to set up this idea of, "This class is important because you don't know XYZ, etc." But then there's a massive failure if those same professors don't give the resolution to that little bit of fear mongering. Obviously most of us are in a class because there are things that we don't know, or we have a lack of knowledge in places. And when we can give opportunities to accomplish those goals and we can give opportunities to fill in those gaps when we've been, for lack of a better phrase, exposed to our weaknesses, we're left in a pretty vulnerable state. And so, this process of what you're talking about of having other people discuss strengths and weaknesses of an individual and then to give chances for those weaknesses to be resolved seems to be a pretty powerful teaching pedagogy.

Meredith: It's worked well for us. And, as I say, it wasn't really the point of the assignment to start with, but it's kind of become a marine boot camp kind of experience for some of our students. [Laughs] They, on the verge of tears, kind of getting this feedback and, "No, no. Everything's fine. We're going to help you." And so, at the end as part of their capstone, we ask them to go back to this list of questions and say, "OK, there are two things we want you to do. Did you make progress on this list of…on your list of questions of things that you responded to? And did you see that our program helped?" And so, there's two parts of that survey where they say, "We think it could be improved by this, this, this, and this, but this definitely helped, and this…" So, it helps us strengthen the curriculum. But the students are overjoyed to fill out that exit survey. They are so excited about what they've learned and, as you say, reflecting back on the process is one of their happiest times.

Corser: Yeah, and we often don't give enough of those opportunities to engage in self-reflection. I mean, certainly there are more and more movements and much more research out there about being mindful and taking time to meditate and to reflect on self, but until we're kind of conscious about doing that or until it's a concerted effort, we just don't spend a lot of time doing that. One of the things that's fascinated me as a psychologist is just the degree to which we distort reality. And we'll leave it to our good friends and learned philosophers to define what reality is, but we as humans spend a whole lot of time distorting the realities that we live in so that we feel better about ourselves or we feel worse about our enemies. All these kind of things, but we're pretty active in the sense of distorting reality until we're kind of forced to face it. And then, as we're able to break down some of these natural defenses that we have, some of these natural cognitive barriers, then we're really able to move forward in a positive direction.

Wyatt: We can be masters of self-deception and rationalization.

Corser: We certainly can, and we do it often.

Wyatt: I got an "A" in that in college. [All laugh]

Corser: And I think we can even fall in this trap if we start to think of a university of being an extension of self or a self-type entity, we can often distort realities based around that. And so, oftentimes, for an organization or an institution to change or to improve or to be in a forward-thinking direction, there has to be this hard look of, "Where are we? And where do we want to be? And is it realistic?"

Wyatt: All this begins with being able to understand our strengths and weaknesses, but we're kind of built to not.

Corser: We're built to protect our identities, and since it's not my area, I don't want to get into too many issues of mental health, but we even see individuals who are suffering from mental health problems who will maintain that sense of who and what they are, even if it appears to many other people to be unhealthy. And that's part, often, of their therapeutic process is to really take critical looks at reality for the purpose of change and growth.

Wyatt: So, can I take us back to two things you've said?

Corser: You're the President, you can do whatever you want. [All laugh]

Meredith: What's he going to say, "No?" [Laughs]

Corser: I wouldn't cancel a meeting on you. [All laugh]

Wyatt: We are happy, you have said, when we have an elevated view of ourselves.

Corser: Correct.

Wyatt: We are also happy when we have an understanding of where we are and we're making progress towards improvement.

Corser: As we're in the process…

Wyatt: Put those two together for us.

Corser: Sure. So, initially, there is some discomfort, right? So, if we imagine this as walking along a path without taking a look to the left or the right, we often maintain our sense along that path or our way along that path of everything being good. If we look to the left or the right, we might see something that is desirable, something that is good, something that we want to go after, realizing that it's not us, or it's not who and what we are. So, we might create a goal of saying, "OK, I see this thing off to the left. I want that. But I am not that." And then that creates a sense of discomfort because there's some discrepancy between what we are and what we think we could be or where we think we could go. And so, we start down that path to the left. As long as we can start to recognize that we are making progress towards that thing on the left, we tend to experience that as happiness. And then we get to that goal, we get to that place on the left, and then once again, we become satisfied and happy with who and what we are. And we'll continue down that…we'll continue being in that place on the left until there's another disruption, until we notice something else, until we have other things that we want to achieve. And high-achieving people are looking around often for more places to go and more things to do, which again, creates initially a sense of discomfort, but then that sense of pleasure and euphoria upon goal progress and goal completion. So, it really becomes in iterative process of going back and forth between discomfort and happiness in order to move forward in the things that we ultimately want to do in life.

Wyatt: We're happy if we have an elevated view of ourselves?

Corser: Slightly elevated view, yes.

Wyatt: We're happy if we're moving towards becoming better? Whatever it is our goal is?

Corser: Mhmm.

Wyatt: It sounds like the least happy state for us is to have a realistic view of ourselves and be trapped there?

Corser: Yes, that is accurate.

Wyatt: No making any progress or improvement. 

Corser: Correct also.

Wyatt: This is why some people who have very fulfilling careers and retire become unhappy, I assume.

Corser: I think that's quite accurate, yes.

Wyatt: Because all of the sudden, they're stagnant.

Corser: And this is why we see people like former presidents or we see people who have had these storied careers like you're talking about continuing in things. This is why we often see people who have won the lottery going out and doing things and being active, because that's where that sense of happiness and joy comes from is moving towards goals.

Wyatt: So, what's the number one suggestion that you would give to a student?

Corser: I would ask students to—and I do ask students—to keep records, to keep journals that cause them to self-evaluate and to ask student to recognize the progress they're making towards the goals. But first, of course, and it may seem obvious, but I'll state it anyways, they have to create goals. Oftentimes the goal of our student is to have a diploma, to get a degree. We are taught somewhere in the second or third grade that you go to college to get a degree. If we can help our students understand that, while that's a nice accomplishment, what we really want them to do is to get an education. And what that means is that they make educational goals. It's hard to make degree goals and be reasonable about that. But to make education goals allows us to be in a place where we can make progress towards educational goals. And so, I encourage my students, I would encourage other students to focus on educational goals rather than degree-type goals because those become a little bit easier to measure and a little bit more easy to recognize the progress that's happening in that process.

Wyatt: And when you say "educational goals" rather than "degree goals" I'm assuming that you mean educational goals instead of grade goals?

Corser: It could very well be said that way also, yes.

Wyatt: Because I can go to the gym for 30 minutes and get nothing out of it and I can cram the night before an exam, go in and succeed, and then within two or three days forgot it. The goal is improving oneself and learning, becoming.

Corser: And if you're going to the gym for 30 minutes, you're doing better than most even if you're not doing much.

Wyatt: [Laughs]

Meredith: I was going to say, "You just described me perfectly." Cram for five hours, go to the gym for 30 minutes once a month…that's a perfect description for me. [All laugh]

Wyatt: If the goal is to spend 30 minutes at the gym, then that's a lousy goal because you can spend 30 minutes at the gym without accomplishing anything.

Corser: And what's interesting is that will reduce that dissonance we're talking about. If the goal is to go to the gym, then it doesn't matter what you do at the gym. In fact, a lot of people will make these physical goals of say, "I want to get healthy. I want to engage in more exercise." And buying a gym membership is often enough to reduce that dissonance they feel between what they're doing now and the goals that they have. So, we work really hard to reduce that discrepancy or that dissonance, and it doesn't take much to do that.

Meredith: So, just having the gym membership makes us feel better about ourselves like we've made some incremental step toward the goal? [Laughs]

Corser: The action of buying that gym membership is enough to start to reduce some of that discrepancy. However, if there are specific goals, and this goes back to having educational goals versus degree goals, if there are specific educational goals, then it's a little bit tougher to reduce that dissonance just by showing up to class. If the goal is to get a degree, people know how to do that, and they'll get a degree.

Wyatt: And they know the progress they need to make to get there.

Corser: Yeah, and they'll know the progress and they'll actually feel pretty good about it. But, if we want change and if we want improvement, then we need to start thinking about educational rather than degree goals. Maybe not as an institution, but as an individual or especially as a student to say, "What are my educational goals and am I making adequate progress towards those educational goals?" Because again, if my goal is to get a diploma, to get a degree, some kind of certificate or a minor, I might be able to get away with minimal things and still accomplish that. But, if I have specific educational goals, then it makes a big difference.

Wyatt: And we've been talking about this in the context of a university because that's where we are and that's who we're working with all of the time, but I'm assuming, Grant, this applies in every aspect of our lives. In our family relationships, in our hobbies and interests, and just everything that we're doing.

Corser: Sure, and in fact, all these things that we're talking about have been researched and studied outside of a university context. That is not necessarily of improving our educational goals or our institutions of higher education. They've been researched for the purpose of understanding more about the human process and how we work and how we're built, and then ultimately to benefit the human condition. And so, these are applicable across all kinds of domains. The processes that we're talking about and have been talking about are so basic to what we as humans do that they're applicable everywhere.

Wyatt: I sometimes think that I've got the luckiest job in the world because I'm surrounded by people smarter than me. And they're always so willing to talk about these kinds of ideas. What a fun way to spend one's life.

Corser: Yeah, we're at a pretty fortunate place in human history where we have this luxury of people actively doing research to find out how we can be happy. How we can experience joy and how we can avoid some pain and failure. It's a great time to be alive and it's a great place to work.

Meredith: You've been listening to Solutions for Higher Education, a podcast featuring Scott Wyatt, the president of Southern Utah University. Our in-studio guest today has been Dr. Grant Corser from the SUU Psychology Department. Thanks, Grant, for joining us and thanks to all of our listeners for listening. We'll be back again soon, bye bye.