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, Ian Hohm, and Ari Makridakis present new ideas (and some data) about how science impairs humans’ ability to feel that their lives matter existentially, now in press at Current Directions in Psychological Science.

Now in press at JEP:G: Studies led by Zak Witkower show that the dominance nonverbal display is reliably recognized as dominance (and not confused with prestige) by indigenous people in the Mayagna tribe in Nicaragua and by Canadian children as young as 5. These findings provide the first evidence that the dominance display is a human universal.

Now at Journal of Personality: Eric Mercadante and Jess Tracy’s paper demonstrating that greedy acquisition may be motivated by a desire for pride.

Our review of over a decade of work from the lab on pride and social hierarchy, now published in the Annual Review of Psychology.

Upcoming Talks »

Jess Tracy, “Pride: The Emotional Foundation of Social Rank” at the APF Spielberger EMPathy Symposium, APA Annual Convention.

Seattle, WA.

August, 2024



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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