Michelle Shiota

Personal Info

Michelle Shiota
Assoc Professor
Research interest: 

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CHECK OUT THE href="http://psychology.clas.asu.edu/Shiota">SHIOTA PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY

My lab investigates several basic questions regarding emotion, using
a multi-method approach that integrates physiological, behavioral,
cognitive, narrative, and questionnaire measures of emotional
experience and its implications for social interaction. Core themes of
this research are:

POSITIVE EMOTION DIFFERENTIATION. Emotion researchers have long
distinguished among several functionally distinct negative
emotions, such as sadness, fear, and anger, but empirical
research on potentially "discrete" positive emotions is more
recent. My lab takes an evolutionary approach to defining multiple
positive emotion constructs, and studies the extent of overlap and
differentiation among these states. We use the proposed adaptive
functions of each emotion as a basis for predicting various aspects of
emotional responding, including profiles of autonomic nervous system
reactivity, facial expressions, and implications for social
cognition and behavior. 

AWE. A rich body of research suggests that positive emotions tend
to increase our use of internal knowledge structures, such as
stereotypes, heuristics, and schemas, in processing new information
from the environment. Functional theories of awe, however, propose
that this emotion has the opposite effect. Awe has been defined
as the positive emotion one may experience when facing a stimulus
that is unaccounted for by one's current knowledge. Awe should then
promote cognitive and behavioral changes that facilitate taking in new
information from the environment, or cognitive
"accommodation," rather than relying on what one already
knows to interpret the situation (cognitive "assimilation").
With funding from the Templeton Foundation we are now conducting a
three-year program of research on the cognitive implications of awe.

EMOTION REGULATION. One of the great features of human psychology is
the capacity to regulate our emotions - to use our attention and our
thoughts to alter our feelings, and to control the way we express
feelings to others. We regulate emotions using a wide range of
strategies, some of which are more conducive to health and well-being
than others. My lab is particularly interested in the use of positive
emotions to regulate emotional experience in stressful or upsetting
situations. Specific strategies include positive reppraisal, or
thinking about positive aspects of upsetting situations as well as the
negative aspects, and creating positive events, or making time for
islands of healthy enjoyment in the midst of an ongoing stressor. We
are also interested in the ways that people help each other to
regulate their emotions - the co-regulation of emotion.

emotions can feel like intensely personal experiences, they are
also profoundly important for our interactions with other people. We
form impressions of new people, build and maintain close
relationships, and coordinate dyadic and group action all with the
help of emotions. My lab investigates some of the mechanisms by which
emotions support close relationships. In a current study we are asking
how shared emotion between close friends relates to behaviors while
discussing one friend's current concerns and positive events, and how
the presence of a close friend affects an individual's stress
responding during a difficult task.

We review applications for new volunteer research assistants each
semester, and I am accepting graduate student applications for Fall 2012.


Associate Professor, href="http://psychology.clas.asu.edu/">Department of Psychology
(Social), href="http://clas.asu.edu/">College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dr. Shiota attended Stanford University as an undergraduate, majoring
in Communication. She worked as a teaching assistant in Stanford's
Program in Human Biology, as a research assistant at the Stanford
Center for Research in Disease Prevention, and as a junior high
science teacher before crossing the San Francisco Bay to begin UC
Berkeley's doctoral program in Social/Personality Psychology. After
completing her Ph.D in 2003, Dr. Shiota remained at Berkeley for
post-doctoral training in the Berkeley Psychophysiology Lab. She
joined the Social Psychology faculty at ASU in 2006, establishing the
Psychophysiology Laboratory for Affective Testing (a.k.a. SPLAT

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