Why Character?

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.” Our goal is to make this vision a reality.

Our research demonstrated that character is plural, encompassing a multitude of strengths that are organized into three dimensions: Interpersonal strengths, like gratitude, enable harmonious relationships with other people; intrapersonal strengths, like grit and self-control, enable achievement; and intellectual strengths, like curiosity, enable a fertile and free life of the mind.

How can we cultivate character?

Character Lab believes that helping children develop character is an age-old challenge that will yield to a new solution: world-class scientists working hand-in-hand with expert educators and visionary designers.

The result is Playbooks.

There are many more character strengths than what we list on this site. We highlight a few that are best-studied and commonly identified as important in schools.

Strengths of heart

These are the "interpersonal" or “giving” strengths. They help you relate in positive ways to other people.

Strengths of will

These are the "intrapersonal" or “doing” strengths. They help you achieve your goals.

Strengths of mind

These are the "intellectual" or “thinking” strengths. They help you ponder, wonder, and create.

Teach character with our Playbooks

Resources about character

Research articles about character

A tripartite taxonomy of character: Evidence for intrapersonal, interpersonal, and intellectual competencies in children
Contemporary Educational Psychology, 48, 16–27.
Park, D., Tsukayama, E., Goodwin, G. P., Patrick, S., & Duckworth, A. L. (2017).

Integrating psychological and cultural perspectives on virtue: The hierarchical structure of character strengths
The Journal of Positive Psychology, 10(5), 407–424.
McGrath, R. E. (2015).