Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Emotion and Social Relation Research Group is led by Dr Brian Parkinson. 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.

The many faces of emotion (Photo credit: Via Tsuji)
The many faces of emotion (Photo credit: Via Tsuji)

The Emotion and Social Relations Research Group is based at the Department of Experimental Psychology in the University of Oxford. 

Although emotions are often seen as private states, they can also affect and be affected by other people.  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.  For example, current and recent studies address the following questions:

  • Are emotions such as anger and guilt fully explained by personal appraisals concerning blame, or do they also depend on the perceived and anticipated reactions of other people?
  • How is our own anxiety affected when we notice that someone else is anxious too (emotion contagion or social appraisal)?
  • Does discussing and working over your worries with partners or close friends (co-rumination) make you feel better or worse?
  • Does people’s inability to predict their own emotional reactions accurately also extend to their predictions of other people’s emotional reactions (interpersonal affect forecasting)?
  • When and why do we overestimate how visible our emotional expressions are to other people (illusion of transparency)?
  • What role do emotions such as anger and contempt play in negotiations in the workplace?
  • How does culture shape emotional preferences?

We investigate these questions using a range of methods including laboratory and field experiments, analysis of video-recordings of staged and naturalistic interactions, and diary methods (time-sampling)

Selected publications

Related research themes