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The Science and Spirit of Gratefulness: 25 Years of Progress

With Robert Emmons

February 16–18, 2022


The symposium is free and open to the public; registration is required. Refunds/cancellations up to one day before the event start date.

Para registrarse al evento en español, visite: Información de Registro

등록을 위해 한국어 이벤트 정보와 등록안내를 방문하세요: 등록 정보

Registration for this event will remain open until the end of the symposium. If you are looking to obtain continuing education (CE) credits, a total of six units are available (each two-hour session is worth two units). CE credits are offered at $10 per unit for Fuller alumni and $15 per unit for the general public. Please visit the registration page if you are looking to purchase additional credits or select your CE credit package of choice (located under “Add-Ons” on the ticket page). Questions regarding CE credits can be sent to

Fuller Theological Seminary / Graduate School of Psychology & Marriage and Family is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

Integration Symposium 2022

We are excited to welcome one of the premier psychologists of religion, Robert Emmons, as lecturer for the 2022 Fuller Integration Symposium as we gather in Pasadena and digitally around the globe. Dr. Emmons is professor emeritus of psychology at University of California, Davis. He is an expert in the study of positive psychology, especially gratitude––some have even dubbed him Mr. Gratitude! His three lectures will focus on the historical and scientific understanding of gratitude, how gratitude to God shapes identity, meaning, and significance in life, and how the practice of gratitude may impact human moral reasoning and engagement.

Bob EmmonsRobert Emmons is professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and distinguished visiting scholar at Biola University. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana‑Champaign. He is the author of more than 250 original publications in peer‑reviewed journals or chapters and has written or edited eight books, including Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Gratitude Works! A Twenty-One Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity and The Little Book of Gratitude. A leader in the positive psychology movement, Dr. Emmons is founding editor and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. His research focuses on the psychology of gratitude and joy as they relate to human flourishing and well-being. A frequent speaker at professional conferences and public events, Emmons has guest lectured at Yale, Oxford, Stanford, and the University of Michigan. He has been Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI for over $15M in research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health, the John M. Templeton Foundation, and the National Institute for Disability Research and Rehabilitation. His groundbreaking work on gratitude has been featured in dozens of popular media outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, Time, NPR, PBS, Consumer Reports, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and the Today Show. He is a trustee of the Templeton World Charity Foundation.

Amos YongAmos Yong

Dean of the School of Mission and Theology, and Professor of Theology and Mission

Pam KingPamela Ebstyne King

Peter L. Benson Professor of Applied Developmental Science, Clinical Psychology Department, and Executive Director, Thrive Center for Human Development

Wilmer VillacortaWilmer Villacorta

Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies



10:00 am–12:00 pm (PT): The Story of Gratitude: From an Ancient Religious Practice to a Modern Global Movement

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Gratitude is one of the more durable features of human existence. More than two decades of scientific research have verified more than 2,000 years of wisdom teachings on gratitude as one of the deepest touchpoints of human existence. Gratitude felt and expressed produces a positive ripple effect through every area of our lives, potentially satisfying some of our deepest yearnings—our desire for happiness, our pursuit of better relationships, our ability to make meaning out of suffering, and our ceaseless quest for inner peace, health, wholeness, and contentment.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to state two to three of the latest research benefits of gratitude in the domains of mental and physical health.
  2. Participants will be able to identify three mechanisms linking grateful thinking and grateful emotions with improved mental, physical, and relational outcomes.
  3. Participants will be able to implement two to three concrete gratitude exercises in their personal life and with clients.

Respondent: Amos Yong, Dean of the School of Mission and Theology, and Professor of Theology and Mission


10:00 am–12:00 pm (PT): You Are What You Thank: Gratitude to God and the Shaping of Identity

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Gratitude and its practices are ways of orienting and anchoring individuals amidst a complicated world and among their fellow humans. This way of being encircles much of what we do and who we are, providing meaning and significance to ourselves and ultimately to life itself. Scientific work on gratitude, has, for the most part, only imperfectly captures the far more ancient traditions of religious and philosophical inquiry, and often misses their most important insights. Examples from recent theology-infused research programs on gratitude to God illustrate how serious attention to these traditions can significantly enrich recent advances in the science and practice of gratitude.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to name two differences between gratitude between persons and gratitude to God and the connection of each to personal identity.
  2. Participants will be able to identify why recent research on gratitude to God matters in the context of both suffering and flourishing.
  3. Participants will be able to name two to three functions of public expressions of gratitude to God.

Respondent: Pamela Ebstyne King, Peter L. Benson Associate Professor of Applied Developmental Science and PhD Psychological Science Program Chair, School of Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapy, and Executive Director of the Thrive Center for Human Development



10:00 am–12:00 pm (PST): Engaging Gratitude and Humanity’s Moral Faculties in the Face of Climate Change and Other Global Crises

Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate

While many people recognize that climate change is an important issue, it remains difficult to convince people and nations to treat it as an urgent problem. Increasingly, social science indicates that adjusting how we talk about climate change––particularly how we incorporate gratitude into our discussions of the planet and our lives––matters. Harnessing people’s capacity for gratitude may be key to fighting climate change and to attaining true human flourishing. Gratitude can potently drive environmental conservation, the reduced consumption of resources, and other forms of environmentally responsible action.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to name the main reason why the human capacity for environmental gratitude supports humanity’s innate systems of moral judgment and is key to fighting climate change.
  2. Participants will be able to name two to three ways the latest social science research links gratitude and other moral affects to environmentally responsible choices and behaviors.
  3. Participants will be able to state two to three ways to cultivate gratitude as an action at the core of the struggle against climate change.

Respondent: Wilmer G. Villacorta, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies