Dacher Keltner's research while affiliated with University of California and other places

Publications (240)

Article
How do experiences in nature or in spiritual contemplation or in being moved by music or with psychedelics promote mental and physical health? Our proposal in this article is awe. To make this argument, we first review recent advances in the scientific study of awe, an emotion often considered ineffable and beyond measurement. Awe engages five proc...
Preprint
This is the Proceedings of the ICML Expressive Vocalization (ExVo) Competition. The ExVo competition focuses on understanding and generating vocal bursts: laughs, gasps, cries, and other non-verbal vocalizations that are central to emotional expression and communication. ExVo 2022, included three competition tracks using a large-scale dataset of 59...
Preprint
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The ACII Affective Vocal Bursts Workshop & Competition is focused on understanding multiple affective dimensions of vocal bursts: laughs, gasps, cries, screams, and many other non-linguistic vocalizations central to the expression of emotion and to human communication more generally. This year's competition comprises four tracks using a large-scale...
Article
Little is known about implicit evaluations of complex, multiply categorizable social targets. Across five studies (N = 5,204), we investigated implicit evaluations of targets varying in race, gender, social class, and age. Overall, the largest and most consistent evaluative bias was pro-women/anti-men bias, followed by smaller but nonetheless consi...
Preprint
Full-text available
The ICML Expressive Vocalization (ExVo) Competition is focused on understanding and generating vocal bursts: laughs, gasps, cries, and other non-verbal vocalizations that are central to emotional expression and communication. ExVo 2022, includes three competition tracks using a large-scale dataset of 59,201 vocalizations from 1,702 speakers. The fi...
Article
Full-text available
Emotions result from evaluations of events, referred to as appraisals. Specific configurations of appraisals have been shown to characterize different emotions, with some variation occurring across cultures. However, appraisal research to date has focused primarily on negative emotions, though recent efforts have started to also examine the apprais...
Article
Emotional expressions are a language of social interaction. Guided by recent advances in the study of expression and intersectionality, the present investigation examined how gender, ethnicity, and social class influence the signaling and recognition of 34 states in dynamic full-body expressive behavior. One hundred fifty-five Asian, Latinx, and Eu...
Article
Social Functionalist Theory (SFT) emerged 20 years ago to orient emotion science to the social nature of emotion. Here we expand upon SFT and make the case for how emotions, relationships, and culture constitute one another. First, we posit that emotions enable the individual to meet six "relational needs" within social interactions: security, comm...
Preprint
Little is known about implicit evaluations of complex, multiply categorizable social targets. Across five studies (N = 5,204), we investigated implicit evaluations of targets varying in race, gender, social class, and age. Overall, the largest and most consistent evaluative bias was pro-women/anti-men bias, followed by smaller but nonetheless consi...
Preprint
Emotions result from evaluations of events, referred to as appraisals. Specific configurations of appraisals have been shown to characterize different emotions, with some variation occurring across cultures. However, appraisal research to date has focused primarily on negative emo-tions, though recent efforts have started to also examine the apprai...
Article
In the present article, we use daily diary methodology to investigate how coping influences well-being via the engagement of positive emotions in immigrant farmworkers and university students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. In Study 1, in a sample of Latinx immigrant farmworkers (N = 76), we found that the daily use of adaptive coping strategies p...
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Prosocial behavior, in particular helping others in need, occurs preferentially in response to distress of one’s own group members. In order to explore the neural mechanisms promoting mammalian helping behavior, a discovery-based approach was used here to identify brain-wide activity correlated with helping behavior in rats. Demonstrating social se...
Preprint
Core to understanding emotion are subjective experiences and their embodiment in facial behavior. Past studies have focused on six emotions and prototypical facial poses, reflecting limitations in scale and narrow assumptions about emotion. We examine 45,231 reactions to 2,185 evocative videos, largely in North America, Europe, and Japan, collectin...
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Research over the past decades has demonstrated the explanatory power of emotions, feelings, motivations, moods, and other affective processes when trying to understand and predict how we think and behave. In this consensus article, we ask: has the increasingly recognized impact of affective phenomena ushered in a new era, the era of affectivism?
Preprint
Central to science and technology are questions about how to measure facial expression. The current gold standard is the facial action coding system (FACS), which is often assumed to account for all facial muscle movements relevant to perceived emotion. However, the mapping from FACS codes to perceived emotion is not well understood. Six prototypic...
Article
Within social functionalist theory (SFT), emotions structure attachment relations, cooperative alliances, hierarchies, and collectives. Within this line of thinking, a rich array of positive emotions enable the formation and negotiation of these relationships. Guided by these arguments, we synthesize how top-down confirmatory studies and data-drive...
Article
It is widely assumed that experiences of awe transform the meaning of daily stresses. Across six studies we tested whether and how the experience of awe is associated with reduced daily stress levels in the moment and, in so doing, leads to elevated life satisfaction. We first documented that individuals who tend to experience greater awe on a dail...
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The objective of this study was to investigate (i) whether childhood family SES predicts offspring’s compassion between ages 20–50 years and (ii) whether adulthood SES predicts compassion or vice versa. We used the prospective population-based Young Finns data ( N = 637–2300). Childhood family SES was evaluated in 1980; participants’ adulthood SES...
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Understanding the degree to which human facial expressions co-vary with specific social contexts across cultures is central to the theory that emotions enable adaptive responses to important challenges and opportunities1–6. Concrete evidence linking social context to specific facial expressions is sparse and is largely based on survey-based approac...
Article
Affectionate touch is crucial for well-being. However, attachment avoidance is associated with negative attitudes toward touch. We tested two preregistered hypotheses about how attachment avoidance influences the association between touch in romantic couples and psychological well-being. We examined whether greater attachment avoidance is associate...
Article
Within affective science, the central line of inquiry, animated by basic emotion theory and constructivist accounts, has been the search for one-to-one mappings between six emotions and their subjective experiences, prototypical expressions, and underlying brain states. We offer an alternative perspective: semantic space theory. This computational...
Article
Psychological research on awe has largely focused on its positive dimensions, both in terms of the experiential state of awe and individual trait-based predispositions to awe experience. Little is known, however, about awe's negative-valence dimensions, such as individual tendencies to experience awe as threatening. To gain a broader understanding...
Article
Aging into later life is often accompanied by social disconnection, anxiety, and sadness. Negative emotions are self-focused states with detrimental effects on aging and longevity. Awe-a positive emotion elicited when in the presence of vast things not immediately understood-reduces self-focus, promotes social connection, and fosters prosocial acti...
Article
What does it take to gain and maintain power? Aristotle believed that power was afforded to individuals that acted in virtuous ways that promote the greater good. Machiavelli, nearly 2,000 years later, argued to great effect that power could be taken through the use of manipulation, coercion, and strategic violence. With these historical perspectiv...
Article
Given the powerful implications of relationship quality for health and well-being, a central mission of relationship science is explaining why some romantic relationships thrive more than others. This large-scale project used machine learning (i.e., Random Forests) to 1) quantify the extent to which relationship quality is predictable and 2) identi...
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Central to the study of emotion is evidence concerning its universality, particularly the degree to which emotional expressions are similar across cultures. Here, we present an approach to studying the universality of emotional expression that rules out cultural contact and circumvents potential biases in survey-based methods: A computational analy...
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The approach-inhibition theory of power proposed that elevated power (which relates to increased rewards and freedom) activates approach-related tendencies, whereas reduced power (which relates to increased threat, punishment, and social constraint) activates inhibition-related tendencies (Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003). In the current artic...
Article
A number of psychological theories suggest that increased economic inequality may lead to greater social class stereotyping. However, all existing evidence for this claim is correlational. Across three experiments (one exploratory and two confirmatory, N = 2,286), we observed that exposure to socially signaled inequality—operationalized in terms of...
Article
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Central to our subjective lives is the experience of different emotions. Recent behavioral work mapping emotional responses to 2185 videos found that people experience upwards of 27 distinct emotions occupying a high-dimensional space, and that emotion categories, more so than affective dimensions (e.g., valence), organize self-reports of subjectiv...
Article
Research on adult attachment in romantic relationships has focused on the negative outcomes that avoidantly attached individuals face. The present research uses observational research methods to determine if there are specific ways of communicating affection that might help avoidantly attached people reap similar levels of rewards from affectionate...
Preprint
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Central to our subjective lives is the experience of different emotions. Recent behavioral work mapping emotional responses to 2185 videos found that people experience upwards of 27 distinct emotions occupying a high-dimensional space, and that emotion categories, more so than affective dimensions (e.g., valence), organize self-reports of subjectiv...
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The present research tests how socioeconomic inequality (within romantic relationships) predicts relationship quality and observable expressions of emotion—examining longitudinal self-report and behavioral data from both partners of romantic couples. In Part 1 we examined the romantic partners' self-reports of relationship quality at baseline and a...
Article
What is the nature of the feelings evoked by music? We investigated how people represent the subjective experiences associated with Western and Chinese music and the form in which these representational processes are preserved across different cultural groups. US ( n = 1,591) and Chinese ( n = 1,258) participants listened to 2,168 music samples and...
Article
Objective: Guided by a functional account of awe, we aimed to test the hypothesis that people who often feel awe are also more curious (Studies 1 and 2), and that this relationship in turn related to academic outcomes (Study 3). Method: In Study 1 (n = 1,005), we used a self-report approach to test the relationship between dispositional awe and...
Article
Awe is an emotional response to perceptually vast stimuli that transcend current frames of reference. Guided by prior work documenting that awe promotes humility, increases perceptions of uncertainty, and diminishes personal concerns, across 3 studies (N = 776) we tested the hypothesis that awe results in reduced conviction about one's ideological...
Article
What would a comprehensive atlas of human emotions include? For 50 years, scientists have sought to map emotion-related experience, expression, physiology, and recognition in terms of the “basic six”—anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. Claims about the relationships between these six emotions and prototypical facial configuratio...
Article
What emotions do the face and body express? Guided by new conceptual and quantitative approaches (Cowen, Elfenbein, Laukka, & Keltner, 2018; Cowen & Keltner, 2017, 2018), we explore the taxonomy of emotion recognized in facial-bodily expression. Participants (N = 1,794; 940 female, ages 18-76 years) judged the emotions captured in 1,500 photographs...
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An enduring focus in the science of emotion is the question of which psychological states are signaled in expressive behavior. Based on empirical findings from previous studies, we created photographs of facial-bodily expressions of 18 states and presented these to participants in nine cultures. In a well-validated recognition paradigm, participant...
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Basic emotion theory (BET) has been, perhaps, the central narrative in the science of emotion. As Crivelli and Fridlund (J Nonverbal Behav 125:1-34, 2019, this issue) would have it, however, BET is ready to be put to rest, facing "last stands" and "fatal" empirical failures. Nothing could be further from the truth. Crivelli and Fridlund's outdated...
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In this article, we review recent developments in the study of emotional expression within a basic emotion framework. Dozens of new studies find that upwards of 20 emotions are signaled in multimodal and dynamic patterns of expressive behavior. Moving beyond word to stimulus matching paradigms, new studies are detailing the more nuanced and complex...
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The present exploratory research examined the possibility that commitment in close relationships among lower class individuals, despite greater strains on those relationships, buffers them from poorer subjective well-being (SWB). In two samples of close relationship dyads, we found that when partners reported high commitment to the relationship, th...
Article
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Central to emotion science is the degree to which categories, such as Awe, or broader affective features, such as Valence, underlie the recognition of emotional expression. To explore the processes by which people recognize emotion from prosody, US and Indian participants were asked to judge the emotion categories or affective features communicated...
Article
In this article, I chart certain origins of the science of emotion back to the cognitive revolution. I then highlight new developments in the field – the influences of emotion upon cognition, the focus on over 20 emotions, the expanding emphasis on positive emotion, and an abiding interest in the functions emotions serve. I close by arguing for the...
Presentation
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published: Cho, M., Impett, E. A., Campos, B., Chen, S., & Keltner, D. (2020). Socioeconomic inequality undermines relationship quality in romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Preprint
Several theories predict that income inequality may produce increased racial bias, but robust tests of this hypothesis are lacking. We examined this relationship at the U.S. state level from 2004 to 2015 using Internal Revenue Service–based income-inequality statistics and two large-scale racial-bias data sources: Project Implicit (N = 1,554,109) a...
Article
Several theories predict that income inequality may produce increased racial bias, but robust tests of this hypothesis are lacking. We examined this relationship at the U.S. state level from 2004 to 2015 using Internal Revenue Service–based income-inequality statistics and two large-scale racial-bias data sources: Project Implicit (N = 1,554,109) a...
Article
Full-text available
Emotional vocalizations are central to human social life. Recent studies have documented that people recognize at least 13 emotions in brief vocalizations. This capacity emerges early in development, is preserved in some form across cultures, and informs how people respond emotionally to music. What is poorly understood is how emotion recognition f...
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The Dispositional Positive Emotions Scales (DPES) are seven separate research scales that measure joy, awe, amusement, pride, contentment, compassion, and love. Despite widespread use of these scales, no comprehensive examination of the psychometric properties of DPES scores has been conducted. In this paper, we examined the internal consistency an...
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In this paper we examined the content, structure, and dynamics of reputation, a person’s agreed-upon character that is constructed within social groups. In Study 1, we examined longitudinally the content and structure of an individual’s reputation as distributed across a newly forming group. In Study 2, we examined how the dynamics of reputation sh...
Article
Compassion is known to predict prosocial behavior and moral judgments related to harm. Despite the centrality of compassion to social life, factors predicting adulthood compassion are largely unknown. We examined whether qualities of parent–child-relationship, namely, emotional warmth and acceptance, predict offspring compassion decades later in ad...
Preprint
Close relationships can be a source of positive subjective well-being for lower-class individuals, but stresses of lower-class environments tend to negatively impact those relationships. The present research demonstrates that a partner’s commitment in close relationships buffers against the negative impact of lower-class environments on relationshi...
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Awe is a complex emotion composed of an appraisal of vastness and a need for accommodation. The purpose of this study was to develop a robust state measure of awe, the Awe Experience Scale (AWE-S), based on the extant experimental literature. In study 1, participants (N = 501) wrote about an intense moment of awe that they had experienced and then...
Article
Awe has traditionally been considered a religious or spiritual emotion, yet scientists often report that awe motivates them to answer questions about the natural world, and to do so in naturalistic terms. Indeed, awe may be closely related to scientific discovery and theoretical advance. Awe is typically triggered by something vast (either literall...
Article
The power of nature to both heal and inspire awe has been noted by many great thinkers. However, no study has examined how the impact of nature on well-being and stress-related symptoms is explained by experiences of awe. In the present investigation, we examine this process in studies of extraordinary and everyday nature experiences. In Study 1, a...
Preprint
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The present research examined how income inequality influences the emotions individuals share with others. We did so by analyzing a unique and rich dataset containing country-level aggregated usage information of Facebook Finch emoticons, examining whether income inequality (as indicated by the country-level Gini index) is associated with the affec...
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Although gratitude plays a central role in the quality of relationships, little is known about how gratitude emerges, such as in response to partners' sacrifices. Do people need to accurately see these acts to feel grateful? In two daily experience studies of romantic couples (total N = 426), we used a quasi-signal detection paradigm to examine the...
Method
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This supplemental materials on predictors of sacrifice detection is supplemental to our article "To "see" is to feel grateful? A quasi-signal detection analysis of romantic partners' sacrifices", published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2018.
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We present a mathematically based framework distinguishing the dimensionality, structure, and conceptualization of emotion-related responses. Our recent findings indicate that reported emotional experience is high-dimensional, involves gradients between categories traditionally thought of as discrete (e.g., 'fear', 'disgust'), and cannot be reduced...
Chapter
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Human behaviour has had an immense impact on natural environments. Often this impact has caused environmental degradation and impaired the possibilities for living well across the planet and especially for future generations. This calls for a specific target in reversing the current trend—namely to change human behaviour itself. By changing human b...
Article
Emotional expressions communicate information about the individual’s internal state and evoke responses in others that enable coordinated action. The current work investigated the informative and evocative properties of fear vocalizations in a sample of youth from underserved communities and military veterans while white-water rafting. Video-taped...
Article
It is widely assumed that psychopathic personality traits promote success in high-powered, competitive contexts such as financial investment. By contrast, empirical studies find that psychopathic leaders can be charming and persuasive, but poor performers who mismanage, bully, and engage in unethical behavior. By coding nonverbal behaviors displaye...
Article
While trait positive emotionality and state positive-valence affect have long been the subject of intense study, the importance of differentiating among several “discrete” positive emotions has only recently begun to receive serious attention. In this article, we synthesize existing literature on positive emotion differentiation, proposing that the...
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Emotions are centered in subjective experiences that people represent, in part, with hundreds, if not thousands, of semantic terms. Claims about the distribution of reported emotional states and the boundaries between emotion categories-that is, the geometric organization of the semantic space of emotion-have sparked intense debate. Here we introdu...
Article
Humility is a foundational virtue that counters selfish inclinations such as entitlement, arrogance, and narcissism (Tangney, 2000). We hypothesize that experiences of awe promote greater humility. Guided by an appraisal-tendency framework of emotion, we propose that when individuals encounter an entity that is vast and challenges their worldview,...
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In this article we review the emerging literature on the self-transcendent emotions. We discuss how the self-transcendent emotions differ from other positive emotions and outline the defining features of this category. We then provide an analysis of three specific self-transcendent emotions—compassion, gratitude, and awe—detailing what has been lea...
Article
We collected and Facial Action Coding System (FACS) coded over 2,600 free-response facial and body displays of 22 emotions in China, India, Japan, Korea, and the United States to test 5 hypotheses concerning universals and cultural variants in emotional expression. New techniques enabled us to identify cross-cultural core patterns of expressive beh...
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Gratitude is robustly linked to many positive outcomes for individuals and relationships (e.g., greater life and relationship satisfaction). However, little is known about how romantic partners come to feel grateful for each other’s pro-relational acts, such as when a partner makes a sacrifice. The present research examines how perceptions of partn...