"The heart has its reasons, which reason knows not"

- Blaise Pascal

Emotions are a cornerstone of the human condition.  They are woven throughout our every experience, guiding our actions and bringing meaning to our lives. Sometimes emotions can overwhelm us, bringing immense pain and suffering.

It can be tempting to see emotions as "reasonless," as Pascal once did. But in the Logic of Emotion Lab, we strive to understand the underlying reason, the logic, that shapes why people feel what they feel. Clarifying the fundamental ingredients of emotional experiences can help us identify the strategies that help people manage their emotions to live psychologically healthy lives. In particular, we study how language and emotion interact (in fact our lab name has a subtle nod to the Greek logos meaning both "reason" and "word"). We study language because it is a ubiquitous tool for both understanding and shaping emotions.

In this lab, we study questions like:

  • "Why do people use certain words to label what they feel, and why do we sometimes feel like we have no words at all to describe our emotions?"
  • "What psychological and neural processes shapes the emotions we feel and how intensely we feel them?"
  • "How can we use words to make ourselves feel better and best manage our emotions?"

We approach these questions by integrating three primary approaches: A developmental approach to understand how children and adolescents learn to identify what they are feeling, a neuroscientific approach to understand how brain systems allow us to represent and regulate our emotions, and a translational approach, to understand how emotional processes relate to clinical phenomena like anxiety and depression.

Learn More

Click the links below for more details on the wonderful team doing this work, our current projects, lab news, and how to get involved.

Recent Lab News

New Paper: Documenting the Spread of Affective Language
Jan. 10, 2023

A new study published in Emotion by Professor Nook and colleagues at Yale University shows that affective language "spreads" between children and their parents. Children with anxiety disorders and their parents tried to solve challenging puzzles…

Lab Social Hour: Pumpkin Carving
Oct. 29, 2022

LEmo Lab members spent a lovely afternoon carving some pumpkins. Claire Whiting even carved the LEmo logo! 

New Paper: CBT, Narcissism, and Self-Esteem Dysregulation
Oct. 26, 2022

In this new paper, Erik Nook, Adam Jaroszewski, Ellen Finch, and Lois Choi-Kain argue that narcissism can be (i) understood as dysregulations in a natural self-esteem system, (ii) described using cognitive-behavioral concepts, and (iii) treated using CBT skills…