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 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 »

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

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, and our response to a critique of this article here.


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


Read the latest issue of the Healthy UBC Newsletter “Thriving Faculty Feature”, featuring Jess.

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.

Now out in Scientific American Mind: Jess’ article “Pride brings out the best–and the worst–in humans.

Upcoming Talks »

Jess Tracy, “The Addictive Costs of Shame.”

Invited Talk, Society for Affective Science Inaugural Conference.

Washington DC, April 26, 2014

Jess Tracy, `The Nature of Pride“

Invited Talk. Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA.

May 24, 2014

Jess Tracy, “Title TBA”

Invited Symposium on “Motivation and Emotion”, in the Society for the Study of Motivation Conference.

San Francisco, CA. May 22, 2014.

Aaron Weidman, “The jingle and jangle of emotion assessment: Imprecise measurement, casual scale usage, and conceptual fuzziness in emotion research” in the symposium, “What are we really measuring? Complex conceptualizations and imprecise measurement of social-personality constructs,” co-chaired by Aaron and Jess.

Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA.

May, 2014.

Jess Tracy, “Nonverbal Displays of Pride and Shame: A Functionalist Account”

Invited Talk, APS Inaugural International Convention for Psychological Science.

Amsterdam, Netherlands. March, 2015

Edited Volume »

"The Self-Conscious Emotions"

Buy your copy »