Are happy people more empathetic? Or are they unable to emotionally connect with those around them? A new study — done by Prof. Jamil Zaki and PhD student Desmond Ong in collaboration with Hillary Devlin and June Gruber of the Positive Emotion and Psychopathology Lab — investigates how positive emotion is associated with our ability to empathize with others. The study finds that people high in trait positive emotions are “not as good as they...

We often think of empathy as an automatic process. However, empathy is often context-dependent. Our willingness to empathize with others changes with different situations and with different people. A new paper by Jamil Zaki resolves this tension by underscoring the role of motivation in empathy. Motives drive our willingness to empathize. In his paper, Zaki highlights specific motives that drive people to avoid and...

 Prof. Jamil Zaki and grad student Craig Williams have both received teaching awards for the 2013-2014 academic year!  Jamil Zaki's Dean's award for distinguished teaching recognizes exceptional investment in undergraduate education, and Craig Williams is this year's recipient of the Zimbardo award for outstanding graduate teaching through Stanford's Psychology 1 curriculum.  Congrats to them both!  

We tend to think of empathy as an automatic process - something that happens naturally when we interact with people in need. However, this assumption is not always correct. We frequently experience lapses in empathy when relating to others is difficult, or makes us upset or uncomfortable. Across several studies, Karina Schumann, Jamil Zaki, and Carol Dweck explore when and why this empathy breakdown occurs, and what predicts whether people...

Congratulations to SSNL PhD students Craig Williams and Desmond Ong for their receipt of SPSP Graduate Student Travel Awards.  Travel awards are provided to students with outstanding poster submissions to the upcoming meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.  Craig's poster presents data he has collected showing that social presence (believing that a friend is watching you) can cause individuals to express more emotion...

Even though we can certainly influence our emotions when we're on our own, it's important to remember that we also go to others in order to control how we're feeling.  Whether we're celebrating a new accomplishment or seeking support with a challenge, people often use help from others to shift how they're feeling.  A new paper by Jamil Zaki and Craig Williams provides a conceptual framework for exploring these methods of interpersonal emotion...

A new paper by Jamil Zaki and Jason Mitchell turns the tables on prosocial behavior.  Rather than depicting selfless behavior as the effortful suppression of primal selfish desires, the paper argues that prosocial behavior could itself arise from intuitive impulses that involve the goal of helping others.  See here for a complete list of SSNL publications.

 

The People's Science, a new online forum designed by Jamil Zaki, attempts to bridge the gap between scientific discoveries and the media's representation of these advances.  As featured on NPR, this forum allows for scientists from any discipline to create short, accessible abstracts that communicate their...

In a recent article, Joseph Moran and Jamil Zaki suggest ways to integrate the goals and methods of psychology and functional neuroimaging.  Even though certain facets of brain mapping projects could be deemed reductionistic or uninteresting to psychologists who are interested in doing more than localizing a cognitive process to a certain brain region, Moran and Zaki argue that functional neuroscience does indeed offer a bevy of insightful...

The award recognizes researchers who, in the early stages of their career, are already making significant contributions in psychological science.