"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

Celebrating our Undergraduate Thesis Students
May 13, 2024

And just like that, our first cohort of undergraduates are graduating! We are in awe of their hard work over the past two years, culminating in truly amazing senior theses. We can't wait to see what the future has in store for these soon-to-be alums! 

Spring Into Science!
April 22, 2024

So grateful for Princeton University's annual Spring Into Science event! At our outreach booth, youth raced to name emotion words in our emotion fluency task, generating a community histogram. We also introduced concepts such as valence and arousal using a circumplex model. We love community outreach!

New Paper: Emotion Words and Perception in Swedish-English Bilinguals
April 10, 2024

In a new paper with Marie-France Champoux-Larsson, we examined whether emotion perception might vary when thinking about emotions in our first vs. second languages. We adapted a prior paradigm for testing the associations between emotion words and emotion facial expressions (see Nook et al., 2015) to see whether people with Swedish as their…