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. They've been designed to help grow character in classrooms.

We'll end with one more quotation, this from James Baldwin. It reminds us that if we want to develop character in students, we might first practice it ourselves: “Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.”

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.

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Character Lab Forum

Join our chat forum and connect with other educators about character

Learn about character strengths

Teach character using our Playbooks


Try Build Connections

Link personal interests with school to increase motivation and effort



WOOP is a strategy for self-control

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).