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UNC Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson to Receive $100,000 TANG Prize

November 1, 2017
College of Arts & Sciences

Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson will be awarded the TANG Prize to honor her “exceptional contributions to the well-being of humanity” on Nov. 12 in Toronto, Canada.

Fredrickson, the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience in the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a leading researcher in the science of positive emotions.

The $100,000 award is in recognition of Fredrickson’s achievements in psychology over her 25-year career. She has authored over 100 peer-reviewed articles, and her books Positivity and Love 2.0 have been translated in over 20 languages.

Her “broaden-and-build theory” illuminates how positive emotions expand people’s mindsets and nourish lifelong growth. Fredrickson’s research suggests that our emotional habits and authentic emotional connections with others impact overall health.

When it comes to emotions, Fredrickson says that we have “more control than we think.” Her studies have shown that when people learn to generate more joy, gratitude, and love in day-to-day life, they unlock lasting benefits for their mental and physical health and bounce back better from negativity, which is well-established to be detrimental to well-being.

Fay Tang will present the TANG Prize to Fredrickson. “Barbara Fredrickson’s work has made an incredible impact on the field of psychology,” she said, “and her scientific contributions align perfectly with the aim of the Tang Foundation, which is to raise awareness of the importance of psychological health in the world.”

Fredrickson’s research has received international acclaim and has been recognized by spiritual leaders such as the Dalai Lama. A free online course of hers, created through her University’s partnership with Coursera, has reached lifelong learners in more than 190 countries. Her work has also been featured on CBS This Morning, in USA TodayU.S. News & World Report, The Economist, and The New York Times.

“I thank Dr. Tang,” Fredrickson said, “for shining the spotlight on psychology and the efforts within my field to understand and raise people’s well-being. I also extend my deep gratitude to those whose ideas and actions have inspired me, as well as those who have leveraged my ideas into actions for the benefit of others.”

Following the Nov. 12 ceremony, Fredrickson will hold a special lecture entitled “Positivity Resonates.”

About the TANG Foundation

The TANG Foundation was established by Fay Tang in 2006 and its headquarters are in Toronto, Canada.

Tang’s family has a long tradition of charitable work. Her family, for example, built a library and donated it to their hometown in China, which included a reserve fund for its continuing operations. The main objective of the TANG Foundation is to carry on the tradition of helping people achieve well-being.

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