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What is emotion?

Emotion is frequently defined as a coordinated response involving multiple channels. Research suggests that facial expressions, physiology, endocrinology, and cognition are all involved in emotion, but relatively little is known about how these systems are related. Our lab investigates all of these systems, in isolation and in combination, in order to determine when and how they're coordinated, and why they sometimes are not.

How does emotion impact our decisions?

Anger, sadness, shame and stress not only seem to affect our judgments and decisions, they drive them. Research suggests that angry people are willing to engage in more risks, that negative emotions lead to more systematic thought, and that stress can make people both better and worse at decision making, depending on the type of stress. Our lab is working to uncover the effects of various emotions, and using physiological measures and facial coding to predict when and how those effects will occur.

Bharghava, S., Kassam, K. S., & Loewenstein, G. (2013). A Reassessment of the Defense of Parenthood. Psychological Science. (View Paper)

Kassam, K. S., Markey, A. R., Cherkassy, V. L., Loewenstein, G., & Just, M. A. (2013). Identifying emotions on the basis of neural activation. PLoS One. (View Paper)

Kassam, K. S., & Mendes, W. B. (2013). The effects of measuring emotion: Physiological reactions to emotional situations depend on whether someone is asking. PLoS One. (View Paper)

Kassam, K. S., Morewedge, C. M., Gilbert, D. T., & Wilson, T. D. (2011). Winners love winning and losers love money. Psychological Science, 22, 602-606.(View Paper)

Kveraga, K., Ghuman, A., Kassam, K., Aminoff, E., Hämäläinen, M., Chaumon, M., & Bar. M. (2011). Early Onset of Neural Synchronization in the Contextual Association Network. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 3389-3394.(View Paper)

Morewedge, C. K., Gilbert, D. T., Myrseth, K. O. R., Kassam, K. S., & Wilson, T. D. (2010). Consuming experiences: Why affective forecasters overestimate comparative value. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 986-992.(View Paper)

Kassam, K. S., Koslov, K., & Mendes, W. B. (2009). Decisions under distress: Stress profiles influence anchoring and adjustment. Psychological Science.(View Paper)

Kassam, K. S., Gilbert, D. T., Swencionis, J. K., and Wilson, T. D. (2009). Misconceptions of memory: The Scooter Libby effect. Psychological Science, 20, pp. 551-552.(View Paper)

Paharia, N., Kassam, K. S., Greene, J. D., and Bazerman, M. H. (2009). Dirty work, clean hands: The moral psychology of indirect agency. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 109, pp. 134-141.(View Paper)

Morewedge, C. K., Kassam, K. S., Hsee, C. K., and Caruso, E. (2009). Duration sensitivity depends on stimulus familiarity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138, pp. 177-186.(View Paper)

Kassam, K. S., Gilbert, D. T., Boston, W. A., and Wilson, T. D. (2008). Time discounting: Present selfishness or future anhedonia? Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, pp. 1533-1537.(View Paper)

Bar, M., Kassam, K.S., Ghuman, A.S., Boshyan, J., Schmid, A. M., Dale, A.M., Hamalainen, M.S., Marinkovic, K., Schacter, D.L., Rosen, B.R., and Halgren, E. (2006). Top-down facilitation of visual recognition. PNAS, 103(2), pp. 449-454.(View Paper)

(Download CV)

For more information about the lab, or to inquire about research opportunities, contact:

Karim Kassam
Carnegie Mellon University
Porter Hall 208
5000 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA
15213

email: kskassam@cmu.edu
twitter: @professormullet