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 linked to moral behavior, like disgust, as well as other complex social emotions, like humility and schadenfreude. 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.

Latest News »

Jess Tracy was awarded the 2021 Society for Experimental Social Psychology (SESP) Career Trajectory Award.

Joey Cheng, Jess Tracy, and Joe Henrich challenge Durkee and colleagues (2020) on the basis of social rank in human societies — now in press at PNAS.

Which comes first–feelings of pride that motivate social rank attainment, or rises in social rank that lead to feelings of pride? Check out Zak Witkower, Eric Mercadante, and Jess Tracy’s new paper in press at SPPS for the answer!

Our review of over a decade of work from the lab on pride and social hierarchy, now published at Advances in Experimental Social Psychology.

Tilting your head changes the way your emotion expressions are perceived, by causing illusory facial activity. See Zak Witkower & Jess’ new paper, now in press at Emotion

Which positive emotions do we experience as distinct? Now published at Affective Science: an empirically derived taxonomy of distinct, subjectively experienced, positive emotions.

Upcoming Talks »

Jess Tracy, Career Trajectory Award Acceptance Speech

Society for Experimental Social Psychology Annual Conference,

Santa Barbara, CA

October 7-9, 2021

Jess Tracy, “Reciprocal relations between emotions and moral thought.”

Workshop on emotions and morality, University of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel. May, 2022… hopefully!

Books and Edited Volumes »

"Take Pride — now in paperback"

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"The Psychology of Social Status"

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"The Self-Conscious Emotions"

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