UW–Madison’s Enright discusses the science of forgiveness on CNN podcast, ‘Chasing Life’

A School of Education faculty member and pioneer in the scientific study of forgiveness joined CNN’s “Chasing Life” podcast this month to discuss the physical and psychological benefits of forgiving others.

Robert Enright, who holds the Aristotelian Professorship in Forgiveness Science in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology, joined the podcast for its Dec. 5 episode. Enright launched the scientific study of forgiveness decades ago and has produced years of impactful scholarship on the subject since.

Robert Enright

CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, hosts “Chasing Life,” which focuses on the connection between the brain and body. 

In the episode, Enright explains that forgiveness is a choice, and that the ability to forgive can be strengthened, like a muscle. 

“We don’t all forgive in the same way, at the same time, and under the same conditions — but yes, I think we can decide to forgive when people have treated us very unfairly,” Enright said. “Then you get to the point where the forgiveness path can be tremendously healing, our science shows.” 

Enright also walks Gupta and listeners through a range of scenarios, from forgiving small things like being late for a meeting to larger ones, like forgiving someone who’s engaged in violence.

Last summer, Enright was lauded as a “game changer in modern psychology” by the American Psychological Foundation. The foundation, an arm of the American Psychological Association, awarded Enright the 2022 American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award for Impact in Psychology.

This spring, Enright gave a series of talks across the country and abroad on the latest developments in his research, including at Harvard University and the World Congress in Laboratory Medicine in Italy. He has also been cited in a number of recent media reports on his work, including in Men’s Health, the Washington Post, and Wisconsin Public Radio

UW–Madison’s alumni magazine, On Wisconsin, also featured Enright’s work in its summer 2023 issue.

Listen to the full “Chasing Life” episode here

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