The Emotion & Self Lab

In the Emotion and Self Lab at the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, we study the evolutionary function, nonverbal expression, and psychological structure of emotions and self. Much of our research is focused on the place that self and emotions meet: the self-conscious emotions of pride, shame, embarrassment, and guilt.   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 from this website. In all of our research, we tend to take a functionalist perspective, asking why questions about emotions and self, and seeking both ultimate and proximate answers.

Featured Project »

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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Latest News »

New book forthcoming Sept 2016
takepride

New research from Joey Cheng, Jess Tracy, Simon Ho, and Joe Henrich shows that dynamic shifts in vocal pitch, naturally occurring in the early moments of a social interaction, influence emergent rank outcomes. Read the paper, now published at JEP:General, here.

Now in press at Journal of Personality: Aaron Weidman, Jess Tracy, and Andy Elliott’s longitudinal research showing that authentic pride motivates achievement-oriented behavioral change and, as a result, actual improvements in exam performance.

Upcoming Talks »

Jess Tracy, “The nature of pride”

Invited Seminar, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University.

Evanston, IL. May 24th, 2016

Edited Volumes »

"The Psychology of Social Status"

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"The Self-Conscious Emotions"

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