Blog : Emotion research

SASP Symposium and Award

SASP Symposium and Award

I’m excited to be presenting my research in a symposium organised by Pete Koval at the Society of Australasian Social Psychologists in April. The symposium covers recent advancements in the study of emotion regulation, and features a great line-up of speakers, including Luke Smillie, Cindy Harmon-Jones, Sean Murphy, Carolyn MacCann, Pete Koval, and Brock Bastian.

While at SASP, I feel extremely honoured to be accepting the Early Career Award, which recognizes an emerging scholar who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of social psychology in Australasia.


EASP Symposium on Putting Emotions in Context

EASP Symposium on Putting Emotions in Context

I will present in a symposium at the upcoming European Association for Social Psychology conference in Granada, Spain in July 2017.


Context both produces emotion and shapes emotion: how it is expressed, regulated, and perceived. However, in practice, research often examines emotion processes without considering the important contextual factors that shape them, missing nuance that is vital to a deeper understanding of these phenomena. This symposium showcases emerging research demonstrating how context fundamentally shapes the way people express and regulate their emotions, and the personal and social outcomes of these processes. We begin by exploring the role that context plays in perceptions of emotion expression. Manstead demonstrates that context influences how trustworthy people appear when they express regret or pride. Van Kleef presents evidence that context influences how persuasive people are when they express happiness or sadness. Greenaway explores how context influences social ratings of people who express and suppress positive emotion. Widening the field to consider emotion regulation, Netzer demonstrates how context guides people’s attempts to regulate the emotions of others. Finally, Kalokerinos outlines how context shapes the emotion regulation strategies people use in daily life. Taken together, the talks reveal that the personal and social effects of emotion expression and regulation are not fixed, but are highly malleable; shaped and changed by key contextual factors. These findings show the role played by contexts across diverse domains, including economic decision-making, attitude change, social relationships, conflict resolution, and well-being.

1. Social context moderates the impact of emotional expressions in mixed-motive games   

Tony Manstead, Cardiff University

2. Contextual Influences on Emotional Persuasion: The Roles of Message Framing, Emotion Relevance, and Information Processing

Gerben van Kleef, University of Amsterdam

3. Exploring the contexts in which expressing positive emotion has social costs

Katharine Greenaway, University of Queensland

4. Toying with the Enemy’s Emotions: The Social Factors that Moderate Motivated Intergroup Emotion Regulation

Liat Netzer, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

5. Mapping the role of context in emotion regulation choice and effectiveness

Elise Kalokerinos, KU Leuven

SESP Symposium on Deception Accepted

SESP Symposium on Deception Accepted

I will chair a symposium on The Upside of Deception at the upcoming meeting of the Society of Experimental Psychology in Santa Monica. Our symposium will be on Friday 30 September from 3:35 – 4:45pm.




A philandering spouse, a habitual liar, a secretive friend; the concept of “deception” conjures up an image of people at their worst. In line with this image, the psychological literature tends to focus on negative personal and social consequences of deception. In addition to incurring a cognitive cost and a well-being tax, deception has been shown to hurt relationships and undermine interpersonal trust. In this symposium we take a novel perspective by showcasing emerging work on the upside of deception. We show that not only can detecting deception yield personal and social benefits, but so can engaging in deception. Levine discusses the benefits of prosocial lies, demonstrating that lying for altruistic reasons increases interpersonal trust. Slepian examines how keeping secrets can be good for you, revealing that keeping positive secrets improves well-being. Kalokerinos explores the social benefits of keeping positive emotions hidden in order to protect another person’s feelings. Carney discusses the benefits of detecting deception and the conditions under which deception is most likely to be successful. The talks reveal that deception—both by omission and commission—can be good for you and your relationships, with diverse consequences for personal well-being, performance, and economic outcomes as well as the formation and maintenance of social relationships. By highlighting the unexpected upsides of being deceitful, this symposium brings nuance to the psychological understanding of deception—why it exists, when it should be used, and how people can engage in and detect it effectively.


Deception: The Trust Benefits of Prosocial Lies

Emma E. Levine, University of Chicago


Concealment: The Personal Benefits of Keeping Secrets

Michael L. Slepian, Columbia University



Suppression: The Social Benefits of Hiding Emotions

Elise K. Kalokerinos, KU Leuven



Dishonesty: How to Catch a Liar

Dana R. Carney, University of California, Berkeley

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 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


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.



Symposium at SASP

Symposium at SASP

SASP 2014 Logo smaller

I’m heading to the Society for Australasian Social Psychologists to chair a symposium on “Regulating emotion and motivation to achieve personal and social goals.” I’m really excited about our line up of speakers, including Elise Kalokerinos, Stephanie Tobin, and Lisa Williams. Here’s the symposium abstract and talk titles:


The ability to self-regulate in order to achieve important goals is a skill critical to the successful functioning of individuals and societies. This symposium features research that explores antecedents and consequences of this self-regulation process, focusing on the regulation of emotion and motivation to achieve personal and social goals. On the personal side, Greenaway and Tobin explore internal and external factors that impact individual self-regulation efforts. On the social side, Kalokerinos and Williams discuss the consequences of emotion regulation for social perception and prosocial behaviour. Together, the talks highlight push-and-pull challenges of self-regulation as people attempt to avoid temptation, resist social influence, craft impressions, and act altruistically to achieve important goals in life.


Katharine Greenaway – Bodily awareness improves self-regulation but renders people vulnerable to depletion

Stephanie Tobin – The effect of other people’s goal attainment on observers’ reward state and motivation

Elise Kalokerinos – Emotion regulation and personality perception

Lisa Williams – Proud to be a donor: pride uniquely predicts re-donation intention and behaviour