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Paula M. Niedenthal

Paula M. Niedenthal

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My research focuses on emotion processes at several levels of analysis. At a basic cognitive level I am interested in how emotions influence the perception and interpretation of facial expression and of other symbols with emotional value, such as words. I have also examined the role of emotion in categorization. Most recently my work on this problem has focused on how emotions serve to ground categories in a fundamental way, such that, especially during emotional states, individuals tend to group together objects and events into categories because those items elicit the same emotion. In working on the role of emotion in categorization, I have developed a strong interest in theories of embodied cognition and the manner in which such theories can bring together many findings in the area of emotion and processing of emotional information.

At the level of social interaction, I also work with a group of collaborators, including a number of my graduate students, on the ways in which power relations influence the expression and inhibition of emotion. We are particularly interested in this question from a cross-cultural perspective. And, finally, and most recently, I have been working with graduate students on the study of the role of moral emotions in the construction and maintenance of social norms.

I am a Fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and my work as been recognized with an NIMH FIRST Award, an NSF Career Advancement Award for Women, and the SPSP Theoretical Innovation Award. My editorial experience includes service as Associate Editor for Cognition and Emotion as well as Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.


2011: Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin - Madison
2003: Directeur de Recherche (CNRS) Université Blaise Pascal, France
1999: Chargé de Recherche (CNRS) Université Blaise Pascal, France
1998: Full Professor, Department of Psycholoy, Indiana University
1993: Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Indiana University
1987: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Johns Hopkins University

Primary Interests:

  • Culture and Ethnicity
  • Emotion, Mood, Affect
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Person Perception
  • Self and Identity

Research Group or Laboratory:

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Journal Articles:

  • Innes-Ker, A., & Niedenthal, P. M. (2002). Emotion concepts and emotional states in social judgment and categorization. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83, 804-816.
  • Maringer, M., Krumhuber, E., Fischer, A., & Niedenthal, P.M. (2011). Beyond smile dynamics: Mimicry and beliefs in judgments of smiles. Emotion, 11, 81-187.
  • Niedenthal, P. M., Augustinova, M., Rychlowska, M., Droit-Volet, S., Zinner, L., & Brauer, M. (2012). Negative relations between pacifier use and emotional competence. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 34, 387-394.
  • Niedenthal, P. M., Barsalou, L. W., Winkielman, P., Krauth-Gruber, S., & Ric, F. (2005). Embodiment in attitudes, social perception, and emotion. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 9(3), 184-211.
  • Niedenthal, P. M., Brauer, M., Robin, L., & Innes-Ker, A. H. (2002). Adult attachment and the perception of facial expression of emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 419-433.
  • Niedenthal, P. M., Mermillod, M., Maringer, M., & Hess, U. (2010). The Simulation of Smiles (SIMS) model: Embodied simulation and the meaning of facial expression. Target article for Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33, 417-480.

Other Publications:

  • Niedenthal, P. M., & Brauer, M. (2011). Social functionality of human emotions. In S. T. Fiske (Ed.), Annual Review of Psychology, 62, 259-285.
  • Niedenthal, P. M., Eelen, J., & Marginer, M. (2011). Embodiment and social cognition. In J. Decety and J. T. Cacioppo (Eds.), Handbook of social neuroscience. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Niedenthal, P. M., & Halberstadt, J. B. (2003). Top-down influences in social perception. In W. Stroebe and M. Hewstone (Eds.), The European Review of Social Psychology (Vol. 14). London: John Wiley & Sons.

Courses Taught:

  • Affect and Cognition
  • Emotion
  • Models of Categorization and Category Learning
  • Representational Models of Self Concept
  • Social Cognition
  • Social Psychology

Paula M. Niedenthal
Department of Psychology
University of Wisconsin
1202 West Johnson Street
Madison, Wisconsin 53706-1696
United States of America

  • Phone: (608) 890-4379
  • Fax: (608) 262-1040

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