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Brian Parkinson

BA PhD in Psychology, Manchester University

Professor of Social Psychology

  • Course convenor: Part 1 Social Psychology
  • Course convenor: Part 2 Emotion: Extending Appraisal and Feedback Approaches

Social Psychology of Emotions

Research Summary

My research focuses on how our emotions affect other people (and how they affect other people’s emotions).  The guiding idea is that emotions align and configure our relations with other people and regulate their orientations towards objects and events in the environment (relation alignment).  For example, I may express worry to a friend as a way of getting them to consider a previously underestimated threat, or get angry with someone to indicate that they should feel guilty and make reparations.  Attention to the interpersonal context for emotion expression may permit us to understand some of the maladaptive effects of certain otherwise functionally useful emotions, and to improve emotional communication in close relationships.  My current research uses experimental, observational, and diary-based methods.  For example, some of my studies have focused on how expressed worry or anxiety affects other people.  My experiments show that expressed anxiety leads other people to moderate their risk-taking when losses are not their central focus.  Further, an observational study of romantic partners discussing shared concerns indicates that people use worry and calm expression to regulate their partners’ emotions, and that the way they do this depends on the characteristic level of expressiveness and emotional engagement of their partners.  Individuals who show less emotion tend to elicit greater worry presentation from their partners.  My current research (in collaboration with Dr Danielle Shore) explores how people perceive other people's facial expressions during on-line prisoner's dilemma games.  We are particularly interested in how game outcomes influence regulation of facial communication and how game partners perceive regulated expressions in different contexts.

Key publications

Recent publications

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