Throughout history and around the world, religious leaders and philosophers have extolled
the virtue of gratitude. Some have even described gratitude as "social glue" that fortifies
relationships—between friends, family, and romantic partners—and serves as the
backbone of human society.
But what exactly is gratitude? Where does it come from? Why do some people seem to be
naturally more grateful than others? And are there ways we can foster more feelings and
expressions of gratitude?
Over the past two decades scientists have made great strides toward understanding the
biological roots of gratitude, the various benefits that accompany gratitude, and the ways
that people can cultivate feelings of gratitude in their day-to-day lives. The studies
comprising this science of gratitude are the subject of this paper.