Below, we’ve identified several primary areas relevant to the intersection of Effective Altruism and psychology across the categories of effective psychology and mental health. If you have any questions or would like to contribute to this list, please reach out.
Here are several EA-aligned learning resources centered on key research directions and doing good within the field.
Doing Good in Psychology
- How Effective Altruism Can Help Psychologists Maximize Their Impact – Gainsburg et. al overview how psychology as a field can better improve human welfare by incorporating ideas from Effective Altruism.
- Emotional Obstacles to Doing Good – In this brief interactive learning module, Michael Justen explores the relationship between “doing good” and “feeling good”, and how to identify and overcome the emotional-cognitive biases that hold us back from doing the best we can.
- We all teach: here’s how to do it better – Michael Noetel applies meta-analyses from educational psychology to better understand how teachers can be more effective.
- ‘Psychology of Effective Altruism’ course syllabus – Geoffery Miller offers the syllabus for his course at the University of New Mexico, including extensive curricula.
- Psychology for Effectively Improving the Future – Effective Altruism Psychology Lab’s current primary research agenda outlines research questions aimed at generating insights about human psychology and behavior that can guide and assist the longtermism project. They also have various other research publications relevant to psychology including The Psychology of (In)Effective Altruism, The many obstacles to effective giving, and The Psychology of Existential Risk.
- Recommended Research Directions – Effective Thesis outlines potential high-impact areas for research and suggested courses of action within them (enable the ‘Psychology and Cognitive Sciences’ tag to filter relevant topics). You can reach out to them for advice on research, as well as connections to students, supervisors, or funding and research opportunities.
- LIS Reading List and Research Priorities – Life Improvement Science offers publications and research suggestions for high-impact behavioral science.
- List of Important Psychology Topics to Study – Spencer Greenberg of Clearer Thinking offers a list of important potential high-impact topics and questions to research.
Further recommended learning resources (not necessarily EA-aligned)
- EA Behavioral Science Newsletter – For behavioral researchers interested in effective altruism.
- Sentience Institute Research Agenda – SI offers a variety of publications on long-term social and technological change, moral circle expansion, and non-human sentience.
- QRI Research Publications – The Qualia Research Institute offers a variety of research on subjective experience, emotional valence, conscious experience, and well-being improvement technologies.
- Psych Hub – A vast amount of educational media for providers, practitioners, allies, and the public.
- Dr. Hammer’s Graduate School Guides – Psychology graduate school guides, professions career test, and YouTube channel that offer a wealth of information on identifying, applying for, and thriving in graduate programs.
These resources primarily focus on the global burden of mental health, the current direction of resources and funding, effective interventions, and other various resources relevant to EA and mental health.
General Mental Health Resources
- Effective Altruism Forum: Mental Health and Psychology – Effective Altruism Forum’s directory and overview of ‘mental health’ and ‘psychology’ tagged posts.
- Happier Lives Institute Recommended Reading List – Books and articles help you to deepen your understanding of what happiness is, how to measure it, what affects it, and what can be done to improve it.
Cause Area Reports
- Global Priority Report: Mental Health (2021) – Happier Lives Institute investigates the global burden of mental illness. It sets out how big the problem is, how much spending it receives, and how those resources are allocated. It then focuses specifically on what can be done to reduce anxiety and depression in low-income countries.
- Cause Profile: Mental Health (2018) – Michael Plant (HLI) examines the scale, neglectedness, and tractability of mental health as a cause area, as well as ways that those interested can help.
- Mental Health Report Summary (2019) – Founders Pledge offers their key research findings on global mental health, including the high need in LMIC, a strong case for task-shifting, and a need for more evidence generation. (Note: this report is considered quite outdated.)
Mental Health Interventions
- HLI Charity Recommendation Analysis – The Happier Lives Institute offers an in-depth analysis of StrongMinds as it compares to other highly acclaimed charities, arguing a strong case for the cost-effectiveness of the organization’s interventions.
- A taxonomy of happiness interventions – Michael Plant offers an extensive list of happiness interventions.
Self-Help and Online Resources
- Resources Created by the EA Community – EA Mental Health Navigator offers another list of talks, podcasts, and posts on mental health created by Effective Altruism community members. (Most are included this list, but they may be updated to include more.)
- EA Mental Health Programme – EAMHN designed this program to to support the mental health, motivation, and productivity of EAs, as well as to help them build a healthy approach toward EA.
- Effective Self-Help – A series of posts and articles by Ben Williamson on how individuals can improve their wellbeing and productivity.
- Some mental health resources tailored for EAs – Miranda Zhang compiles a list of topical self-help resources for EAs, including ones on sustainable motivation, managing guilt, ‘scrupulosity‘, and having a successful career with mental illnesses.
- Burnout: What is it and how to Treat it – Elizabeth offers an analysis and discussion of burnout and how to work with it.
- Mental Health and the Alignment Problem: A Compilation of Resources – Chris Scammell offers a number of resources that address how to maintain wellbeing and direction when confronted with existential risk.
Further recommended learning resources (not necessarily EA-aligned)
- Happier Lives Institute YouTube Channel – (Video) HLI’s new YouTube channel, soon to be populated with more videos.
- What are the best ways to improve world happiness? – (Video) Michael Plant discusses happiness interventions through a global health lens.
- Global Mental Health Unboxed Newsletter – A newsletter on global mental health.
- WHO World Mental Health Report and Fact Sheets – The World Health Organization offers several reports on mental health topics including disorders, forced displacement, work, emergencies, older adults, and a general response overview.
- Clearer Thinking Podcast – Spencer Greenberg discusses various powerful and impactful ideas frameworks. Episode 076 discusses impact and mental health (with Michael Plant).
- Lab for Scalable Mental Health – Research dedicated to accessible interventions and effective strategies for reducing mental health problems.
- Mental Health Innovation Network – A community of mental health innovators sharing innovative resources and ideas to promote mental health and improve the lives of people with mental, neurological, and substance use disorders.
- Wellbeing Evidence Hub – What Works Wellbeing is the UK’s independent body for wellbeing evidence, policy and practice, aiming to accelerate research and democratise access to wellbeing evidence.
- Globally Minded Reading List – Globally Minded, A foundation dedicated to improving knowledge and research evidence on mental health, offers an extensive reading list on research and news within the field.
- UGMH Knowledge Hub – United for Global Mental Health is dedicated to creating a world that enables good mental health for all. We focus on what will make the most difference to global mental health, and we build whatever it takes to make that happen.
- MAPS – Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – A non-profit research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana.
- Centre for Global Mental Health Publications – CGMH’s mission is to address inequities by closing the care gap, and to reduce human rights abuses experienced by people living with mental, neurological and substance use conditions, particularly in low resource settings.
- Urban Design and Mental Health Resources – The Center for Urban Design and Mental Health curates and creates research and dialogue to inspire, motivate and empower policymakers and urban practitioners to build mental health into their projects for a healthier, happier urban future.
- Mentally Healthy Schools – Mental health resources, information & advice for schools and further education settings in the UK.