Abbie Clapp, BABLab manager, is off to new adventures as a Data Analyst working for Wilder Research in Saint Paul, MN. Wilder Research partners with community organizations to research a wide variety of topics relevant to improving quality of life for people in the community, including community safety, education, public health, housing & homelessness, etc. Abbie will use her statistical chopsticks to clean and analyze data as well as consult with clients. She will be missed but we are thrilled for her!
Compassion, or the capacity to understand, share, and care about someone else’s emotions, is often viewed as a virtue that leads to helping behavior and a harmonious society. Yet, experiencing compassion is not automatic nor easy. This project sets to deepen our understanding of the factors that promote compassion. Specifically, we suggest that religion provides the teachings and the experiences necessary for people to overcome typical hurdles to compassion. Our first aim will be to examine specific religious practices’ associations with the latest measures of compassion, including behavioral measures. We will replicate and extend the limited available evidence and provide a preliminary test of the causal influence of religious practice engagement on compassion. Our second aim will be to explain why religiosity is related to greater compassion by testing whether religion 1) provides normative, affective, and social motivations for compassion, and 2) affects perceptions of the emotional and cognitive costs of compassion. We propose a series of 9 empirical studies, accompanied by direct and conceptual replication efforts. We will produce scientific publications and conference presentations to build robust scientific knowledge with practical interest for the religious communities.
Van Cappellen, P., Ladd, K. L., Cassidy, S., Edwards, M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (in press). Bodily Feedback: Expansive and Upward Posture Facilitates the Experience of Positive Affect. Cognition and Emotion. https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2022.2106945
Most emotion theories recognise the importance of the body in expressing and constructing emotions.
Focusing beyond the face, the present research adds needed empirical data on the effect of static full body postures on positive/negative affect. In Studies 1 (N = 110) and 2 (N = 79), using a bodily feedback paradigm, we manipulated postures to test causal effects on affective and physiological responses to emotionally ambiguous music.
Across both studies among U.S. participants, we find the strongest support for an effect of bodily postures that are expansive and oriented upward on positive affect. In addition, an expansive and upward pose also led to greater cardiac vagal reactivity but these changes in parasympathetic activity were not related to affective changes (Study 2).
In line with embodied theories, these results provide additional support for the role of postural input in constructing affect. Discussion highlights the relevance of these findings for the study of religious practices during which the postures studied are often adopted.