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Mark Holder - University of British Columbia. Kelowna, BC, CA

Mark Holder

Associate Professor | University of British Columbia

Kelowna, BC, CANADA

I am a passionate, energetic person who recognizes that life is short, but wide



Dr. Holder earned his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. He then completed his postdoctoral training at the Brain Research Institute at UCLA where he conducted brain transplants to reverse impairments caused by brain injuries. As a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, he studied how natural chemicals, 200 times the strength of heroin, were released when people ate chocolate chip cookies. During this time he worked as a Biological Consultant with the NutraSweet Company to determine whether aspartame is safe for pregnant mothers and their offspring. He also spent a research sabbatical at the University of Hawaii swimming with dolphins in studies of their language and creativity.

Dr. Holder is now an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia where he studies the science of happiness. He leads a research team that is identifying factors that contribute to happiness in children (e.g., temperament, social relationships, spirituality and religion) in Canada, India and Zambia. His team is also investigating strategies to enhance happiness in adults, and the links between personality disorders (e.g., psychopathy) and happiness.

Dr. Holder is an award winning teacher and researcher. He regularly gives keynote addresses and workshops on happiness in the workplace and in one’s personal life. Recently he has given presentations to the Conference Board of Canada, B.C. Provincial Government, Huntington’s Disease Society, B.C. Nurses Union, Multiple Sclerosis of Canada, and school districts. His research has often been featured in the media including The Globe and Mail, USA Today, The National Post, U.S. News and World Report, MSNBC and The Washington Times. He regularly appears on television and radio and recently published two books on positive well-being including “Happiness in Children”.

Interested in hearing more? Get in touch with Dr. Holder: / (+1) 250-807-8728

Industry Expertise (2)



Areas of Expertise (3)

Children and Happiness

Science of Happiness

Happiness and Health

Accomplishments (6)

Chocolate chip cookies (professional)

Studied how natural chemicals, 200 times the strength of heroin, were released when people ate chocolate chip cookies

UCLA (professional)

Conducted brain transplants to reverse neurological impairments

NutraSweet (professional)

Assessed the safety of aspartame

Dolphins (professional)

Published research on communication in dolphins

Children's happiness (professional)

Identified the relationship between spirituality and happiness in children

Marijuana (professional)

Studied the impact of marijuana use on happiness

Education (2)

University of California, Berkeley: Ph.D., Psychology 1984

Simon Fraser University: B.A. (honours), Psychology 1980

Affiliations (3)

  • Scientists and Innovators in the Schools
  • Huntington’s Disease Society
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society

Event Appearances (10)

The Science of Happiness and Health

Annual General Meeting for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada  Vancouver, BC


Happiness and Choices

An Evening with Margaret Trudeau  Kelowna, BC


Happiness, Economics, and Choices

Sponsored by Interior savings  Kelowna, BC


Happiness and Spirituality

Presbyterian church  Seattle, WA

The “Positive” Future of Psychology

The Future of Psychology Conference 2012  Nanaimo, BC

The Science of Happiness: Creating Well-Being

Nursing and Allied Health Professions' Respiratory Update 2012 Convention   Vancouver, BC

The Science of Creating Happiness: Health is More than the Absence of Disease

Huntington Disease Symposium   Kelowna, BC

Teaching and Experiencing Positive Psychology

Teaching Psychology Symposium  Vancouver, BC

Happiness in the Workplace and in Life

Occupational Health and Safety; British Columbia Nurses’ Union   Victoria, BC

How and Why to Keep Employees Happy and Productive

The New Economics of Workplace Health and Well-Being; Conference Board of Canada   Calgary, AB

Sample Talks (1)

Pursuing Happiness

Science has placed a new focus on positive psychology including happiness. Join Dr. Mark Holder as he outlines his research, and the research of his colleagues, on what contributes to long-term happiness. Learn how happiness is associated with improvements in your immune functioning, social relationships, sleep, cognitive flexibility, longevity, tolerance, creativity, and career. Share a laugh while learning scientifically proven methods to increase your happiness and the happiness of your fri



  • Keynote
  • Moderator
  • Panelist
  • Workshop Leader
  • Host/MC
  • Author Appearance
  • Corporate Training


500 to 2500 *Will consider certain engagements for no fee