The YES! program is currently undergoing rigorous study at UCLA.  
Complete & Ongoing Research:


From “Effects of the Youth Empowerment Seminar on Impulsive Behavior in Adolescents” – Dara G. Ghahremani, Ph.D., Eugene Y. Oh, B.S., Andrew C. Dean, Ph.D., Kristina Mouzakis, B.A., Kristen D. Wilson, R.N., B.S.N., and Edythe D. London, Ph.D. – Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA

  • YES! Increases Empathy in Adolescents

From: “Effects of a Social-Emotional Life-Skills Workshop that includes Controlled Breathing on Emotional Empathy in Adolescents” Dara G. Ghahremani, Ph.D., Eugene Y. Oh, B.S., Sonal Rana, M.D., Pramila Agrawal, MD, and Andrew C. Dean, Ph.D. – Department of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, Pomona, CA, Brain Research Institute, UCLA

  • YES! Develops Self-Regulation in Adolescents

    From: “Controlled Breathing and Neural Markers of Self-Regulation in Adolescent Smokers”  Dara G. Ghahremani, Ph.D.  The National Institutes of Health are supporting the on-going study.  NIH REPORT

    Research from this project has been presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the International Symposium for Contemplative Studies

    From:  “Life stress and individual differences in effects of breathing meditation on neural markers of emotion regulation” Ghahremani, D. G., Eliaz, A., Dalton, E., Raposa, E., Hammen, C., London, E. D.,  International Symposium for Contemplative Studies (2016)

    From:  “Behavioral and neural effects of combined controlled breathing and emotion management skills on emotion regulation in adolescents” Ghahremani, D. G., Dean, A. C., London, E. D.,  Society for Research on Adolscents (2016)

    From:  “Effects of parasympathetic activation on neural responses during emotional reactivity and regulation in adolescents.”   Ghahremani, D. G., Vranek, D., Holovatyk, A., Dean, A. C., London, E. D., Society for Neuroscience (2015)

  • Graduate research at UCLA is finding substantial improvements in students’ ability to emotionally regulate, self-awareness, empathy and compassion, as well as changes in their interpersonal relationships, and embodied student agency.

The Upward Spiral of Positive Emotions, Social Connections and Health


People who experience warmer, more upbeat emotions may have better physical health because they make more social connections, according to a new study published in Psychological Science.

To study the bodily effects of up-regulating positive emotions, the researchers zeroed in on vagal tone, an indicator of how a person’s vagus nerve is functioning. The vagus nerve helps regulate heart rate and is also a central component of a person’s social-engagement system. (YES! for Schools’ breathing techniques are designed to target the vagus nerve.)

According to the UNC Chapel Hill study, people who have a higher vagal tone tend to be better at regulating their emotions. Participants who entered the study with higher vagal tone showed steeper increases in positive emotions over the course of the study. As participants’ positive emotions increased, so did their reported social connections. As social connections increased, so did vagal tone. In contrast, participants in the wait-list group showed virtually no change in vagal tone over the course of the study.

The study concluded that positive emotions may be an essential psychological nutrient that builds health, just like getting enough exercise and eating leafy greens.

From an educational perspective, this is great news. We all want our students (and ourselves!) to self-
regulate, enjoy positive emotions, feel connected, and have healthy hearts!