Why does Character Lab exist?

Overwhelming scientific evidence now shows that character strengths like self-control, curiosity, humility, and empathy are critically important to achievement and well-being.

Although character strengths are malleable, surprisingly little is known about how they can be intentionally cultivated. This is why Character Lab exists—to research and create new ways to help all students develop character. 

Who founded Character Lab?

Character Lab is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2013 by one scientist and two educators: Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania; Dave Levin, co-founder of the KIPP public charter schools; and Dominic Randolph, Head of Riverdale Country School.

What is Character Lab's theory of change?

To help students develop character strengths, we create Playbooks. Playbooks include videos, lesson plans, and worksheets that help students learn character-building strategies and beliefs. In short, Playbooks bridge scientific research and daily classroom practice. 

Character Lab Playbooks are designed with high school and middle school teachers and students in mind, but they can equally benefit other audiences.

Does Character Lab do research?

There are many great ideas for how to build students' character, but scientifically testing these ideas is notoriously slow, hard, and expensive. When great ideas idle, students miss out.

Our solution is the Character Lab Research Network, a growing consortium of trailblazing schools and top scientists from leading universities. Together, we develop and test activities to better understand how to improve student character and well-being.  


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Learn more about our vision, history, and values

Strategic partnerships


Calling educators

Join a group of educators helping Character Lab shape Playbooks

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What is character?

Intentions and actions that benefit both the individual and others