EASP meeting on Promoting a Social Approach to Emotions

EASP meeting on Promoting a Social Approach to Emotions

I’m really looking forward to the EASP Medium Sized Meeting on Promoting a Social Approach to Emotions at the University of Cologne, where I’m presenting with my partner in crime, Elise Kalokerinos. We’re discussing recent work that takes a new approach to positive emotion expression and suppression.

9:15 – 9:45, Kalokerinos & Greenaway: Context shapes social judgments of positive emotion expression and suppression.

9:45 – 10:15, Greenaway & Kalokerinos: How to lose friends and influence people – expressing positive emotion can increase perceived status in competitive contexts.

SPSP Emotion Preconference data blitz

SPSP Emotion Preconference data blitz

I’ll be presenting at the 2016 SPSP Emotion Preconference in the data blitz session. The session will take place from 11:20 – 12:00 on Thursday 28 January in room 6C of the San Diego Convention Centre.


Abstract: We generally think being positive is a good way to win friends and influence people. Yet, there are many contexts in which it is inappropriate to express positive emotion. To avoid social condemnation in such situations, it may be better to regulate one’s emotions by suppressing positive emotion. However, the majority of past research has found suppression to be a maladaptive strategy with personal and social costs. We argue this is because past research has not considered the moderating role of social context. We hypothesized that positive emotion expressions would be inappropriate when the valence of the emotion (e.g., positive) did not match the valence of the context (e.g., negative). Six studies show that in the case of an emotion-context mismatch, targets who suppress positive emotion are rated more positively than targets who express positive emotion. This provides the first evidence that suppression can be a socially useful regulation strategy in contexts that call for it.


Grant Success

Grant Success

I have been awarded a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) by the Australian Research Council valued at $387,000 over three years. The DECRA scheme is designed to support outstanding early career researchers and nurture the next generation of elite scientists. I received the fellowship to complete a project on “Rethinking Positive Emotion Regulation”.

Abstract: This project aims to explore and challenge assumptions about the ‘right way’ to regulate emotions, articulating a new theoretical perspective on appropriate expression and suppression of positive emotion. People generally assume there are social benefits to expressing positive emotion and social costs to suppressing positive emotion. This project introduces a new perspective on emotion regulation that recognises that different contexts may call for different strategies. The project plans to test whether the positive emotions we think bring us closer can actually worsen social relations, and whether suppressing positive emotion, long believed to have negative social effects, can bring people closer in unexpected ways.

SESP symposium accepted!

SESP symposium accepted!

Our symposium was selected for inclusion in the 2015 SESP conference in Denver, Colorado. The symposium is titled “Emotion Experience and Expression In Situ: The Who, When, Where, and How of Social Outcomes of Emotion” and unites researchers who are interested in understanding how context guides emotion processes.


Symposium details

Chair: Katie Greenaway

Co-chairs: Elise Kalokerinos & Jessica Salerno

Abstract: It is well known that emotions have important effects on behavior. Yet, the literature that documents these effects tends to do so in context-less vacuums rather than in situ, where emotions are actually experienced and expressed. This symposium showcases emerging research demonstrating that social context fundamentally shapes the way people perceive emotions, and the social outcomes of those perceptions. We explore the who, when, where, and how of context in moderating the social effects of emotion. Russell presents evidence that the emotion perceived in a face changes depending on where it is perceived (i.e., the contextual background against which is it evaluated). Greenaway demonstrates that positive emotion expressions attract social penalties when displayed in negative (vs. positive) contexts. Salerno demonstrates that the social effectiveness of expressing negative emotion in group decision-making depends on who expresses it. Tamir explores how the behavioral utility of emotion changes depending on context, revealing that how people choose to experience emotion influences their ability to achieve social goals. The talks reveal that the social effects of emotion experience and expression are not fixed, but are highly malleable, shaped and changed by social context, with diverse social consequences for social relationships, self-regulation, negotiations, and group decision-making.



James Russell: Context in the Perception of Emotion from Facial Expression

Katie Greenaway & Elise Kalokerinos: Context Shapes Social Judgments of Emotion Expression and Suppression

Jessica Salerno: Emotion Expression Creates Race and Gender Gaps in Minority Influence during Group Decision Making

Maya Tamir: The Emotional Placebo Effect

SPSP Blog Post

SPSP Blog Post

Why do some efforts at communication succeed while others fail? We grapple with this issue in a recent paper in PSPB (Greenaway, Wright, Willingham, Reynolds, & Haslam, 2015), concluding that people communicate better with partners with whom they believe they have something in common – such as shared group membership. We gave participants identical instructions to complete Lego models, telling half of them that the instructions came from an ingroup member and the other half that the instructions came from an outgroup member. Then we sat back and watched how well they completed the models…

You can find more information in our post on the SPSP blog here.

SPSP symposium accepted!

SPSP symposium accepted!

I’m delighted that our symposium was selected for inclusion in the 2015 SPSP conference in Long Beach, California. The symposium is titled “The positive cost: Personal and social costs to experiencing and expressing positive emotion” and brings together a range of excellent research showing that positive emotions can have some unforeseen costs.

Symposium details:

Saturday February 28 2015, 2pm (room 102ABC)

Chaired by Katie Greenaway

Positive emotions often have positive effects, but are they always beneficial? This symposium showcases emerging research on personal and social costs of positive emotion. We consider how experiencing and expressing positive emotion can undermine relationships, harm reputations, interrupt goal pursuit, and promote risky behavior.


Jessica Tracy: The Power of Pride: The Positive Emotion that Drives Rank Attainment, but Can also Inhibit Behavioral Change

Michelle Shiota: No Reward Without Risk: Appetitive Enthusiasm Involves Physiological Threat and Increased Risk Tolerance

Elise Kalokerinos: Suppress for success: Positive emotion expression after winning comes with social costs

Lisa Williams: Pride after the fall: Group membership moderates perceptions of pride expressers


Presenting at Princeton

Presenting at Princeton

I’m heading to Princeton to present at a conference on The Great Recession and Social Class Divides. The conference is organised by Susan Fiske and Miguel Moya and will gather invited speakers to discuss the ways that belonging to different social classes influences various social psychological processes, especially in the context of the current economic crisis.

EASP symposium in Amsterdam

EASP symposium in Amsterdam

I’m co-organising two symposia at EASP with Tegan Cruwys. The symposia will be held on Wednesday 9th July in Oudemanhuispoort room D0.09 and will discuss the latest research on The Social Cure. Please come along if you’re in the neighbourhood!

Social Identity and Health Part 1: Social identity promotes recovery in vulnerable populations  (9:00 – 10:40am)

*Please note, this symposium is listed with an incorrect title in the printed version of the program. These are the correct details.

Chaired by Jolanda Jetten and Tegan Cruwys

In Social Identity and Health Part 1, we explore the experience and expression of social identity among the most vulnerable members of society. Our presentations cover depression, multiple sclerosis, pregnancy, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction and smoking cessation.

Tegan Cruwys – Social identification and depression recovery: The curative benefits of group membership

Fabio Sani – Group identification and mental health among multiple sclerosis patients, school pupils and pregnant women

Zoe Walter – Two pathways through adversity: Social identity, social support, and psychological well-being in a homeless sample

Genevieve Dingle – Breaking Bad: social identity and network changes can benefit wellbeing and recovery from substance misuse

Hugh Webb – The decline of brand identity and smoking behaviour following the introduction of plain packaging


Social Identity and Health Part 2: Social identity enhances resilience and well-being (11:05 – 12:45pm)

Chaired by Alex Haslam and Katie Greenaway

Social Identity and Health Part 2 explores how maintaining, crafting, and managing identity promotes resilience and well-being. We show that social identities do not merely promote freedom from illness, but enable people to thrive in a state of well-being.

Dario Spini – Social group participation, identity continuity and well-being after the loss of an intimate partner

Thomas Morton – Social inclusion enhances the health and well-being of seniors: Preliminary findings from the AGES project

Nik Steffens – Leaders enhance team members’ health and well-being by furthering social identity

Stuart Read – Coping with situational stigma: Ingroup ties, identity performance, and well-being in physical disability

Katie Greenaway – The control within, from without: Group identification improves health and well-being through increased perceived control

In New York for ISJR

In New York for ISJR


I’m visiting New York to attend the International Society for Justice Research biennial conference. In between amazing food, great live music, and my everlasting search for good coffee I’ll be hearing about top notch socially impactful research! My talk is at 2:10 on Saturday June 21 in the session “Overcoming obstacles to social change”, abstract below:

Feeling hopeful inspires support for social change

Hope is an emotion that has been implicated in social change efforts, yet no research has examined whether feeling hopeful actually motivates support for social change. Study 1 (N=274) confirmed that hope is associated with greater support for social change in two countries with different political contexts. Study 2 (N=165) revealed that hope predicts support for social change better than other emotions often investigated in collective action research. Study 3 (N=100) replicated this finding using a hope scale and showed the effect occurs over and above positive mood. Study 4 (N=58) demonstrated experimentally that hope motivates support for social change. In all four studies, the effect of hope was mediated by perceived efficacy to achieve social equality. This research confirms the motivating potential of hope and illustrates the power of this emotion in generating social change.