Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Leslie D. Kirby

Leslie D. Kirby

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  • SPN Mentor

My research program is broadly concerned with emotions and stress. My background is in appraisal theories of emotion, which focus on antecedents to emotional states, or what causes us to become emotional and under what circumstances. My work centers on the process of emotions – how does the emotion system work, and what are the consequences of emotions?

Currently, I am focusing primarily on positive emotions, particularly the use of positive emotional experiences as a buffer against stress. I also explore broader questions about positive emotions --- are they similar to/different from negative emotional states, do they direct behavior toward specific goals in the way negative emotions do, and what level of differentiation exists amongst positive emotions? Additionally, I work on applications of this knowledge – so, for example, how might positive emotions impact behavior in an organization?

Another line of my research looks at the interaction between personality and emotion – to what extent do personality traits determine our emotional responses; do certain situations allow for more or less personality influence; are certain personality traits more likely to impact on emotion, etc. Recent projects in this domain have looked at emotional intelligence and gender differences in emotionality. Again, there is an emphasis on applications to groups and organizations.

Finally, I also examine psychological issues in sustainability, specifically barriers to people acting more sustainably. This is a relatively new line of research, but the goal is to develop sustainability interventions (for both individuals and organizations) and looking at factors that make them more or less successful. One specific area of interest here is spillover – so does performing one sustainable behavior make you more or less likely to perform another one in the future.

Primary Interests:

  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Gender Psychology
  • Health Psychology
  • Helping, Prosocial Behavior
  • Life Satisfaction, Well-Being
  • Motivation, Goal Setting
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Social Cognition

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Journal Articles:

  • Rani, P., Sarkar, N., Smith, C.A., & Kirby, L. D. (2004). Anxiety detecting robotic system – Towards implicit human-robot collaboration. Robotica, 22, 85-95.
  • Smith, C. A. & Kirby, L. D. (2009). Putting appraisal in context: Toward a relational model of appraisal and emotion. Cognition and Emotion, 23, 1352-1372. DOI: 10.1080/20699930902860386
  • Smith, C.A.. & Kirby, L.D. (2009). Relational antecedents of appraised problem-focused coping potential and its associated emotions. Cognition & Emotion, 23, 481-503. DOI: 10.1080/02699930802009464
  • Smith, C. A., & Kirby, L. D. (2005). With no one-to-one linguistic mapping, how do we decide what is, or is not, a distinct emotional state? Psychological Inquiry, 16, 37-41.
  • Smith, C. A., & Kirby, L. D.  (2004).  Appraisal as a pervasive determinant of anger.  Emotion, 4, 133-138.
  • Wright, R. A. & Kirby, L. D. (2003). Cardiovascular correlates of challenge and threat appraisals: A critical examination of the biopsychosocial analysis. Personality and Social Psychological Review, 7(3), 216-233.
  • Wright, R. A., & Kirby, L. D. (2001). Effort determination of cardiovascular response: An integrative analysis with applications in social psychology. In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, Vol. 33, pp. 255-307. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
  • Yih, J., Sung, B., Kirby, L.D., & Smith, C.A. (under review). Determination and Interest, Unlike Other Positive Emotions, Narrow the Scope of Attention. Manuscript submitted for publication.

Other Publications:

  • Kirby, L.D., Morrow, J. & Yih, J. (2014). The challenge of challenge: Pursuing determination as an emotion. In Tugade, M., Shiota, M. & Kirby, L. D. (Eds.). The Handbook of Positive Emotions (pp. 378-395). New York: Guilford.
  • Kirby, L.D., Tugade, M., Morrow, J., Ahrens, A. & Smith, C.A. (2014). Vive la différence: The ability to differentiate positive emotional experience and well-being. In Tugade, M., Shiota, M. & Kirby, L. D. (Eds.), The Handbook of Positive Emotions (pp. 241-255). New York: Guilford.
  • Smith, C. A., David, B. & Kirby, L. D. (2006). Emotion-eliciting appraisals of social situations. In J. Forgas (Ed.) Affect in social thinking and behavior (pp. 85-101). New York: Psychology Press.
  • Smith, C. A., & Kirby, L. D. (2013). On the sociality of emotion-eliciting appraisals: Two aspects. In J. Gratch & S. Marsella (Eds.). Social emotions in nature and artifact: Emotions in human and human-computer interaction. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Smith, C. A., & Kirby, L. D. (2011). The role of appraisal and emotion in coping and adaptation. In R. J. Contrada & A. Baum (Eds.). Handbook of Stress Science: Biology, Psychology, and Health (pp. 195-208). New York: Springer.
  • Smith, C. A. & Kirby, L. D. (2001). Affect and cognitive appraisal: From content to process models. In: J. Forgas (Ed.). Handbook of affect and social cognition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Smith, C. A. & Kirby, L. D. (2001). Breaking the tautology: Toward delivering on the promise of appraisal theory. In K. Scherer, A. Schorr & T. Johnstone (Eds.), Appraisal theories of emotion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Smith, C. A. & Kirby, L. D. (2000). Consequences require antecedents: Toward a process model of emotion elicitation. In J. Forgas (Ed.). Feeling and thinking: The role of affect in social cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Courses Taught:

  • Creativity
  • Emotion
  • Positive Psychology
  • Small Group Behavior
  • Social Psychology

Leslie D. Kirby
Department of Human and Organizational Development
PMB 90
230 Appleton Place
Nashville, Tennessee 37203-5721
United States

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