The Emotions and Positive Psychology Lab (EPPL) studies gratitude, mindfulness, and fear of emotion. We are doing a variety of research on gratitude. One line of work distinguishes between two types of grateful emotions, related to distinctions made by Lambert and his colleagues and also by Steindl-Rast. Most research defines gratitude as a reaction to benefits received from others. But some individuals also report gratitude for benefits for which there is no clear origin. For instance, some people report being grateful for being at the beach on a sunny day, though they might not report being grateful to anyone. We have examined the difference between being “grateful for” rather than “grateful to” in daily diary and questionnaire data.
We have a variety of interests in mindfulness, as well. We are particularly interested in understanding the effects of mindfulness training, and in learning how those effects come about. For instance, recent studies from our lab have examined the relation of mindfulness to task persistence and empathy. Finally, we are interested in fear of emotion and how it might change people’s experience of the present moment, for instance, by leading to experiential avoidance. We are currently studying whether fear of emotion dampens people’s ability to distinguish the experience of different emotions.
If you are interested in gaining research experience though volunteering in the Emotions and Positive Psychology lab, please contact Professor Ahrens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below: Fall 2010 lab (seft to right): Joanna Anderson, Michael Mullarkey, Professor Ahrens, Sharon Shih, Kate Stewart, Emily Farr, Sharone Weltfried, Courtney Forbes, Laura Brown.