Current members of the Social Emotions Lab
My research lies at the intersection of social psychology, affective science, and contemplative studies, with the overarching goal of understanding phenomena such as emotion, compassion, health, and well-being. I study 1) how short-term training in mindfulness- and compassion-meditation impacts social behavior, emotional experience, and the underlying mechanisms of meditation, and 2) how emotions impact fundamental social behaviors such as aggression and helping. I use a multi-method approach that incorporates real-world social psychology paradigms, psychophysiology, and mobile-technology to sample emotional experiences that occur in daily life.
I am interested in the effects of empathy and compassion on prosocial behavior and, more specifically, I am interested in how these emotions might differ. My research investigates if compassion, in contrast to empathy, might better compel behavior that results in long-term prosocial benefits at the expense of short-term costs. Ultimately, I believe better understanding of the differences between empathy and compassion will help create interventions that better foster prosocial behavior.
I study the effects of adverse life experiences on our capacity for empathy and compassion from a functionalist perspective. Additionally, I study the effects of emotions, like pride and anger, on our attitudes and actions when faced with moral transgressions or challenges to our beliefs. I am also involved in research that examines the effects of contemplative practices on social behavior.
My research examines how affect and emotion influence the ways we perceive and respond to potential threats, whether those threats be to our physical safety and well-being or to our social resources and relationships. I utilize a multi-method approach grounded in the behavioral paradigms of social and cognitive psychology but that borrows heavily from vision science and psychophysiology. I investigate not only how our feelings may influence threat detection at a very fundamental level by impacting our perceptions of people and objects, but also how these same fundamental processes may come into play when we examine more complicated real-world decisions about potential risks or threats.
Monica Bartlett, Associate Professor of Psychology, Gonzaga University
Julia Braverman, Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Leah Dickens, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Kenyon College (Beginning Fall 2017)
Piercarlo Valdesolo, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Claremont McKenna College
Lisa Williams, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of New South Wales