The program of research conducted in my laboratory concerns two general issues in social/personality psychology: (a) the psychological significance and function of human moods and emotions and (b) the application of principles derived from research in social/personality psychology to the promotion of health protective behaviors.
My research program on mood and emotion is focused on the psychological consequences of feeling states. The goal is to specify the processes by which affect influences thought and action. I view emotions as organizing processes that enable individuals to think and behave adaptively. This perspective can be contrasted with a more traditional one that sees affect as a disorganized interruption of mental activity that must be minimized or controlled. A conceptual model called Emotional Intelligence provides the framework that unifies our work. This perspective emphasizes the strategies that people learn in order to appraise and express their emotions accurately, understand the feelings of other people, regulate their emotions and the feelings of other people, and use emotion to motivate, plan, and achieve in life.
Most of our research attention in the health promotion area concerns the effectiveness of interventions designed to promote prevention and early detections behaviors for cancer and HIV/AIDS. The adoption of these health behaviors often depends on the persuasiveness of a public service announcement, brochure, print advertisement, educational program, or communication from a health professional, and appeals aimed at persuading individuals to perform a particular health behavior can be framed in different ways, emphasizing relevant gains or losses. Gain-framed messages present the benefits that are accrued through adopting the behavior. Loss-framed messages convey the risks of not adopting the requested behavior. Although these two kinds of messages convey essentially the same information, in certain circumstances, one may be much more persuasive than the other. Much of our present research investigates the role of framing as well as the tailoring of information to psychological characteristics and needs of recipients in developing maximally persuasive health-relevant messages.
Lopes, P. N., Nezlek, J.B., Extremera, N., Hertel, J., Fernández-Berrocal, P., Schütz, A., & Salovey, P. (2011). Emotion regulation and the quality of social interaction: Does the ability to evaluate emotional situations and identify effective responses matter? Journal of Personality, 79, 429-467.
Brackett, M.A., Rivers, S.E., Shiffman, S., Lerner, N., & Salovey, P. (2006). Relating emotional abilities to social functioning: A comparison of self-report and performance measures of emotional intelligence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 780-795.
Latimer, A. E., Williams-Piehota, P., Katulak, N. A., Cox, A., Mowad, L. Z., Higgins, E. T. & Salovey, P. (2008). Promoting fruit and vegetable intake through messages tailored to individual differences in regulatory focus. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 35, 363-369.
Mayer, J.D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D.R. (2008). Emotional intelligence: New ability or eclectic traits? American Psychologist, 63, 503-517
Toll, B.A., Martino, S., Latimer, A., Salovey, P., O'Malley, S., Carlin-Menter, S., Hopkins, J., Wu, R. Celestino, P., Cummings, K.M. (2010). Randomized trial: Quitline specialist training in gain-framed versus standard care messages for smoking cessation. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 102, 96-106.