The Emotion & Self Lab

In the Emotion and Self Lab at the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, we study the process, structure, expression, and regulation of emotions and self. Much of our research is focused on self-conscious emotions (pride, shame, embarrassment, and guilt) — emotions that are intricately entwined with complex self-evaluative processes. But we also study more basic level emotions, such as anger, fear, sadness, and happiness. We use a wide range of methods to study emotional processes, including behavioral observation and coding, social-cognitive techniques (e.g., reaction time assessment, eye-tracking), cross-cultural and cross-species comparisons, narrative assessment, and physiological (e.g., hormone) assessment; and we use experimental, cross-sectional, and longitudinal designs. In an effort to improve the study of self-conscious emotions, we have developed several measurement tools that are available to other researchers. These tools can be downloaded or copied and pasted from this website.

Featured Projects »

The Emergence of Status Hierarchies

Status differences are universal in all known human societies, and they partially determine patterns of resource allocation, conflict, mating, and group coordination. However, there’s little systematic research into questions of why and how hierarchies emerge. [...]

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Origins and Functions of the Nonverbal Pride and Shame Expressions

This line of research examines the evolutionary origins and functions of the pride and shame expressions. [...]

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Featured Blog Post »

Featured Recruitment »

Undergraduate Research Participants

If you are a UBC student and would like to participate in a study currently being conducted in the Emotion and Self Lab, please go to the Subject Pool website and sign up. Our studies are conducted on the second and third floors of the Kenny Building at UBC (2136 West Mall), or on-line. We greatly appreciate your participation! If you want to know more about the purpose or findings of a study you participated in, send an email to with the name of the study.

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Latest News »

New research by Alec Beall and Jess Tracy shows that women are more likely to dress in red when they are at peak fertility. Read the paper, now published at Psych ScienceRead the Online Supplement here.


Also, now published in PLOS ONE, our follow-up studies demonstrating an important moderator of the ovulation-red/pink dress effect.

See also our blog post reporting new analyses across all samples collected thus far, and a new post demonstrating how we have responded to questions raised about these findings as per Uri Simonsohn’s guidelines.

Special Series in Clinical Psychological Science on Emotions and Psychopathology, edited by Jess, now available online, featuring articles by leaders in affective and clinical science– James Gross, Jutta Joorman, Ann Kring, David Watson, Jaak Panksepp, and Greg Siegel (and an introductory article by Jess, David Klonsky, and Greg Hajcak Proudfit).

Check out this new animated video by CBC, nicely covering some of our research on pride.

New studies show that authentic and hubristic pride have differential effects on consumerism; read the paper, now in press at Journal of Consumer Psychology, here.

Dan Randles’ and Jess Tracy’s paper in Clinical Psych Science, showing that nonverbal displays of shame predict relapse and worsened health among recovering alcoholics, is a “Top-Read” article of 2013. Read the paper here. Read Huffington Post coverage here.

Upcoming Talks »

Jess Tracy, “The Power of Pride: The Positive Emotion that Drives Rank Attainment but can also Inhibit Behavioural Change”

In the symposium, “The Positive Cost: Personal Costs to Experiencing and Expressing Positive Emotion”, Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting.

Long Beach, CA. February, 2015.

Jess Tracy, “The Nonverbal Communication of Pride, Power, and Social Rank”

Invited Talk, APS Inaugural International Convention for Psychological Science (ICPS).

Amsterdam, Netherlands. March, 2015

Jess Tracy, “Pride and the Emotional Underpinnings of Social Rank”

Invited Talk, University of Southern California, Marshall School of Management

Los Angeles, CA. April 3, 2015.

Jess Tracy, “Title TBA”

Invited TED-style Talk, Society of Affective Science Annual Meeting

Oakland, CA. April 10th, 2015.

Edited Volumes »

"The Psychology of Social Status"

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"The Self-Conscious Emotions"

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