Increase font size
Decrease font size

Welcome to the Social Psychology Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Our group has diverse interests in the social and affective processes that contribute to health, wellness, relationships, morality, and intergroup relations. To read more about our on-going research, please see Program and Research News or People. Please also see our Alumni News to hear about the careers of past Tarheels!

Social Psychology Faculty – 2015

 Our Social Psychology program faculty pictured left to right: Drs. Keith Payne, Sara Algoe, Barbara Fredrickson, Kristen Lindquist, Paschal Sheeran, and Kurt Gray.

Social Program Faculty 2015











mooc (Massive open online course)Launched


Barbara Fredrickson, director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology (PEP) Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will share her extensive knowledge of positive psychology through a new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) available for free on Coursera starting February 9.

Anyone can sign up for the six-week course at https://www.coursera.org/course/positivepsych. No background in science or psychology is needed.



Jazmin Brown PhD Candidate, Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi, has accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Kentucky. Jazmin will join UK in the fall of 2015. Congratulations, Jazmin!


cooley PhD Candidate, Erin Cooley, has accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor at Colgate University. Erin will join Colgate in the fall of 2015. Congratulations, Erin!


lundberg PhD Candidate, Kristjen Lundberg, has accepted a tenure-track position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Richmond. Kristjen will join Richmond in the fall of 2015. Congratulations, Kristjen!


AlgoeSara Algoe was awarded a 3-year grant from the John Templeton Foundation for a project entitled, “Gratitude and Societal Good.” The research will assess how gratitude functions within everyday social interactions, with special emphasis on workplace settings.




TimWilson Graduate student Elise Rice awards University of Virginia Professor Tim Wilson the inaugural “John Thibaut award.” The John Thibaut award is given by the social psychology graduate students for inspiring research in social psychology. The award is named after the influential social psychologist and former UNC Professor, John Thibaut.

Kurt Gray UNC WebsiteKurt Gray received the Janet Taylor Spence Award from the Association for Psychological Science for early career transformative research (see here).


Sara Algoe discussed her research on gratitude at the “Greater Good Gratitude Summit” in Berkeley, CA. in June.


Lindquist_ASP_4476_crop2Kristen Lindquist received a grant from the UNC University Research Council entitled “Increasing emotion differentiation through Mindfulness v. Loving Kindness Meditation.”


Sara Algoe discusses research on laughter in relationships on WUNC’s the state of things.  Listen here.

Sara Algoe and her co-investigator were awarded a grant from the Templeton Foundation to develop a Smartphone intervention related to her research on gratitude.

Lindquist_ASP_4476_crop2Kristen Lindquist‘s research on language and emotion is discussed in the New York Times. Read more here.



cooleyErin Cooley was awarded the UNC Dissertation Completion Fellowship and the UNC Earl and Barbara Baughman Dissertation Research Award.


kent leeKent Lee received an Honorable Mention for his NSF Graduate Research Fellowship submission.



bmajorBrett Major received a grant from the Mind and Life Foundation.



carrieCarrie Adair received a grant from the Mind and Life Foundation.



pattyPostdoc Patty Van Cappellen was awarded a research grant from UNC’s Positive Psychology Science Fund for her proposed studies on “Pride and Religion.”





FredricksonBarbara Fredrickson was honored with the Christopher Peterson Gold Medal by the International Positive Psychology Association “for distinguished and extraordinary service to the Association and the field of Positive Psychology.”

Barbara Fredrickson’s Love 2.0, selected as among the Greater Good Science Center’s “Favorite Books of 2013” identified as “the most thought-provoking, important, and useful nonfiction books published this year on the science of a meaningful life.”

PayneKeith Payne received a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation entitled, “The Politics of Inequality in a “Classless” Society.”


schein Chelsea Schein received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!



Environmental portrait of National Scholars.Zan Isgett received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!



Keenan Jenkins_Davie bulletin board Keenan Jenkins received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship!



cooleyGraduate student Erin Cooley was awarded a research grant from UNC’s Positive Psychology Science Fund for her proposed study, “The Role of Facial Mimicry in Sharing Positive Emotions between Races.”


kurtzGraduate student Laura Kurtz was awarded a research grant from UNC’s Positive Psychology Science Fund for her proposed study, “The Relational Implications of Laughter within Social Contexts.”


jmaccormackJenn MacCormack was awarded a fellowship from the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students and Psi Chi.  The grant is to conduct pilot studies for a NSF GRF submission. Congrats, Jenn!


Kurt Gray UNC WebsiteDr. Kurt Gray recently received a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation to support his research.



Dr. Kristen Lindquist and Dr. Kurt Gray have been named Rising Stars in Psychological Science by the Association for Psychological Science.  This is a multi-part series published by APS that spotlights professionals in the field whose research and work proves to be driving science into new directions.

love 2.0

fredricksonUsing research from her lab at UNC, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson released her second book, Love 2.0, which is intended to reinvent how we look at and experience our most powerful emotion: love.  Love 2.0 by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson




CameronDaryl Cameron will join the faculty at the University of Iowa as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in fall of 2013.  Congratulations, Daryl!


carrieCarrie Adair received a significant grant from the Mind and Life Institute to support her dissertation research.



riceElise Rice recently received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship award.  Elise will be recognized at the 2013 Graduate Student Recognition Celebration in April hosted by the UNC Graduate School.


Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk received a prestigious NSF post-doctoral fellowship to study teamwork processes at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.



The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with the University of California, Davis, recently announced that Dr. Sara Algoe received a research award to expand the scientific understanding of gratitude. Dr. Algoe’s project is titled, “Unpacking the Mechanisms of Gratitude’s Benefits with Close Relationships.”


SheeranThe Department of Psychology is pleased to announce that Dr. Paschal Sheeran will join the Social Psychology Program and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center on July 1, 2013 as Full Professor.  Dr. Sheeran is currently a Professor of Psychology at the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, and earned his B.A. and M.A. from the University College Dublin in 1984 and 1988, respectively, and his Ph.D. from University of Sheffield in 1997.  Dr. Sheeran’s research centers on self-regulation, defined as how people direct their own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors to achieve their goals. Within this overarching theme, the bulk of his research program targets health behavior change, with a smaller and more recent strand of work focusing on emotion regulation. Welcome, Dr. Sheeran!



CameronDaryl Cameron was the recipient of the Christopher R. Agnew Research Innovation Award. He was awarded a $100 prize for his highly innovative research on compassion and morality, as exemplified in his article, “The Cost of Callousness: Regulating Compassion Influences the Moral Self-Concept” which appeared in Psychological Science in 2012.


Lahnna Catalino received the Chester A. Insko Best Publication Award. She was awarded a $100 prize for her article, “A Tuesday in the Life of a Flourisher: The Role of Positive Emotional Reactivity in Optimal Mental Health,” which appeared in the journal Emotion in 2011.


Dr. Kristen Lindquist, an expert on emotions and affective neuroscience, will join the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Social Psychology Program and began on July 1, 2012.  To learn more about her work, visit her website.


Dr. Kurt Gray, an expert on moral psychology and mind perception, will join the faculty in Social Psychology as an Assistant Professor and began on July 1, 2012. You can learn more about his research by visiting his lab website.


Kristjen Lundberg received the 2012 Tanner Teaching Assistants Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. She was recognized on Saturday, February 11th during the half-time ceremony at the UNC-Virginia Men’s Basketball game, in the Dean E. Smith Center. Congratulations, Kristjen!




Daryl Cameron, Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Iowa, receives a grant from the National Science Foundation to support his research on the motivated suppression of empathy.


Daryl Cameron started as an Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa.

Lahanna Catalino began a postdoc at the University of California San Francisco.

Tanya Vacharkulksemsuk started a postdoc at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Joseph Simons took a job as a scientist at A*Star Institute of High Performance Computing.


Bethany Kok began as a Postdoc on August 1st in the Department of Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognition and Brain Sciences, in Leipzig, Germany. Congratulations, Bethany!

Paul Miceli recently began his new position as Assistant Director of Graduate Student Career Services in the Duke University Career Center. Congratulations, Paul!