Public radio to air the many ways to say ‘thank you’

Gratitude comes in many forms. In the case of chimpanzees, they share food more willingly with other chimps who have groomed them. (Photo by Joseph Friedhuber for iStockphoto)

Gratitude comes in many forms. In the case of chimpanzees, they have been observed to share food more willingly with other chimps who have groomed them, as a way to say “thank you. “(Photo by Joseph Friedhuber for iStockphoto)

Gratitude is so much more complicated than remembering to say “thank you.”

As the holiday season begins, appreciation in its many facets, and what it does for personal relationships, business and preserving the planet for future generations, is the topic of a one-hour radio special on “The Science of Gratitude” produced by UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and Ben Manilla Productions.

The show, excerpts of which are shared on the SoundCloud sample below, is being distributed by Public Radio International and will be broadcast on local public radio stations. The show is scheduled to air on KQED radio on Dec. 26.

Narrated by actress and activist Susan Sarandon, the radio show looks at research on gratitude from all angles and motivations. For example, there’s the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” brand of gratitude practiced by chimpanzees, politicians and other primates. Or the marketing ploys in which stores will offer, say, a birthday discount, inspiring gratitude and securing customer loyalty.

Then there’s the more altruistic gratitude in which people are overcome by the awe of nature and are grateful to be alive. Taking that a step further is the gratitude that leads us to make the world a better place for future generations, such as the pay-it-forward altruism of setting aside lands that make up the National Park Service. Listen to excerpts from the show below.