Happy emotional states have not been extensively explored in functional magnetic resonance imaging studies using autobiographic recall paradigms. We investigated the brain circuitry engaged during induction of happiness by standardized script-driven autobiographical recall in 11 healthy subjects (6 males), aged 32.4 ± 7.2 years, without physical or psychiatric disorders, selected according to their ability to vividly recall personal experiences. Blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) changes were recorded during auditory presentation of personal scripts of happiness, neutral content and negative emotional content (irritability). The same uniform structure was used for the cueing narratives of both emotionally salient and neutral conditions, in order to decrease the variability of findings. In the happiness relative to the neutral condition, there was an increased BOLD signal in the left dorsal prefrontal cortex and anterior insula, thalamus bilaterally, left hypothalamus, left anterior cingulate gyrus, and midportions of the left middle temporal gyrus (P < 0.05, corrected for multiple comparisons). Relative to the irritability condition, the happiness condition showed increased activity in the left insula, thalamus and hypothalamus, and in anterior and midportions of the inferior and middle temporal gyri bilaterally (P < 0.05, corrected), varying in size between 13 and 64 voxels. Findings of happiness-related increased activity in prefrontal and subcortical regions extend the results of previous functional imaging studies of autobiographical recall. The BOLD signal changes identified reflect general aspects of emotional processing, emotional control, and the processing of sensory and bodily signals associated with internally generated feelings of happiness. These results reinforce the notion that happiness induction engages a wide network of brain regions.