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Prof. Brian Parkinson

© Brian Parkinson
Love hearts (Brian Parkinson)

The Emotion and Social Relations Research Group is based at the Department of Experimental Psychology in the University of Oxford and is led by Professor Brian Parkinson and Dr Danielle Shore. The group consists of postgraduate students, visiting students and researchers who all have at least one topic in common: EMOTION. Our research group investigates emotions in relational contexts (including both interpersonal and group settings), as processes that are co-ordinated with other people’s emotions and behaviour.

Our research spans a range of topics concerning the ways that emotions operate in social contexts. We use a variety of methods including social media analysis, observation and facial action coding, and eye-tracking in addition to diaries and questionnaires.  Key themes include the social functions and effects of emotional expression and behaviour and the ways that other people regulate our emotions and the emotional effects of this kind of interpersonal emotion regulation.  Our research also addresses how emotions operate in intragroup and intergroup contexts and how group members perceive the emotions of ingroup and outgroup members.  For example, current and recent studies address the following questions:

  • Emotion regulation and cooperation: How do people regulate their facial expressions to elicit trust?
  • Emotion diffusion in social media: Do negative emotions spread further on Twitter? If so, why?
  • Group-dependent meta-perception of emotion: Are ingroup and outgroup emotions perceived differently?
  • Composer-to-listener emotion transmission: When and how does music affect our emotions?
  • Effects of social sharing of emotion: When and why does talking about negative experiences help?
  • Distinguishing negative social emotions: What’s different about hate, anger and dislike?
  • Smile perception in context: Are smiles perceived the same way across situations? 
  • Relation alignment theory: How and why do emotions exert social influence?


Our team

Selected publications

Related research themes