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1. MacCormack, J. K., Armstrong-Carter, E. L., Gaudier-Diaz, M., Meltzer-Brody, S., Lindquist, K. A., & Muscatell, K. A. (submitted). Beta-adrenergic blockade effects on the physiology and psychology of acute stress.
Thin-slice: Classic research suggests that the body may shape the experience of emotion and subjective stress. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trials, we used the beta-adrenergic receptor blockade propranolol to causally test the extent to which sympathetic activation, via beta-adrenergic receptors, contributes to people’s psychological experiences of acute stress. We found that people on placebo reported greater negative, high arousal emotions from the stressor and that these effects were causally mediated via pre-ejection period, one of the purest markers of sympathetic activation.
2. MacCormack, J. K., Henry, T. R., Davis, B. M., Oosterwijk, S., & Lindquist, K. A. (under review). Aging bodies, aging emotions: Interoceptive differences in emotion representations and self-reports across adulthood.
Thin-slice: Prior literature demonstrates that with age, the peripheral nervous system and our awareness of peripheral activity (i.e., interoception) shift with age. Here, relative to younger and middle-aged adults, we found that older adults think about emotions as less interoceptive in nature and even report experiencing fewer, less intense interoceptive sensations in their daily life. These findings add to growing work highlighting that the aging body may help drive emotional changes in later life.
3. MacCormack, J. K., & Muscatell, K. A. (invited, under review). The metabolic mind: A role for leptin and ghrelin in affect and social cognition. Social and Personality Psychology Compass.
Thin-slice: We review early evidence suggesting that leptin and ghrelin, two hormones that manage long-term metabolic resources (i.e., fat stores) and short term metabolic needs (i.e., appetite) may influence and be influenced by a host of social affective processes, including social cognition, stress, mood, reward, and risk-taking. We also offer guidelines to psychologists interested in incorporating leptin and ghrelin into their own research programs.
4. MacCormack, J. K., Castro, V. L., Halberstadt, A. G., & Rogers, M. L. (in revision). Mothers’ interoceptive knowledge predicts third-grade children’s social skills and emotion regulation.
Thin-slice: Almost no work yet examines how parents’ interoceptive processes may shape children’s social affective development. Here, we develop a novel measure of parental interoceptive knowledge (what parents know about the physiological concomitants of emotion) and compare its predictive ability relative to more traditional socialization factors like emotion beliefs and parenting behaviors. We found that mothers’ interoceptive knowledge was a unique and powerful predictor of children’s social skills and emotion regulation, above and beyond many other key emotion socialization factors.
5. MacCormack, J. K., & Lindquist, K. A. (2018). Feeling hangry? When hunger is conceptualized as emotion. Emotion. Access data and materials here.
Thin-slice: Some people colloquially experience feeling "hangry"--that is, feeling more irritable, stressed, or frustrated when hungry. Here, we systematically tested how feeling hungry is transformed into feeling hangry, finding that a mood-congruent context and (lack of) awareness both appear to determine whether hunger is conceptualized as emotion vs. not.
Thin-slice: What is the body's role in emotion? This is a long-standing debate in psychology, typified by peripheralist accounts (James-Lange theory: the body contributes to emotions) vs. centralist accounts (Cannon-Bard theory: emotions produces bodily changes). Here, we review Stanley Schachter's contributions to the body-emotion debate, including his legacy for constructionist views on emotion, and highlight recent evidence for the body's afferent influence on emotions.
7. Rogers, M., L., Halberstadt, A. G., Castro, V. L., MacCormack, J. K., & Garrett-Peters, P. (2016). Maternal emotion socialization differentially predicts emotion regulation and lability in middle childhood. Emotion, 16, 280-291.
Thin-slice: Emotion regulation (effectively managing one's feelings) and lability (quick-changing, exaggerated emotional outbursts) are sometimes framed as different sides of the same coin in children's development. However, we show that maternal emotion beliefs and parenting behaviors can differentiate between regulation vs. lability in third-grade children, suggesting that we should think carefully about the constructs of emotion regulation vs. lability in developmental contexts.
8. MacCormack, J. K., & Lindquist, K. A. (2016). Detection of emotion. SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Psychology.
Thin-slice: How do we figure out what other people are feeling? In this encyclopedia article, we summarize what emotion detection or perception is and provide some tangible examples on it and how it might work, based on existing emotion research.
Thin-slice: Do the words people know shape their emotional experiences? First, we discuss how language and words serve as essence "placeholders" where people within the same culture or related groups can create shared meanings about internal experiences and external behaviors and situations. We also discuss how language and words help map our conceptual structures for emotion and how people acquire new emotion words and concepts from early life into adulthood.
Thin-slice: We argue why it's important to study emotions from multiple levels of analysis and how constructionist views of emotion provide a multi-level approach to bringing together many methods and layers to the science of emotion.
1. Armstrong-Carter, E. L., Humphreys, K. L., MacCormack, J. K., Gaudier-Diaz, M., Meltzer-Brody, S., Lindquist, K. A., & Muscatell, K. A. (in prep). Beta-adrenergic blockade impairs affective learning.
2. MacCormack, J. K., Gaudier-Diaz, M. M., Armstrong-Carter, E. L., Arevalo, J. M. G., Meltzer-Brody, S., Cole, S. W., & Muscatell, K. A. (in prep). Beta-adrenergic blockade blunts inflammatory and antiviral/antibody gene expression responses to acute social stress in humans.
3. MacCormack, J. K., Rublacava, D., Singh, D., & Lindquist, K. A. (in prep). Allostatic network overlaps in the neural representation of hunger and emotion: A neuroimaging meta-analysis.
4. MacCormack, J. K., Stein, A. G., Satpute, A. B., Kang, J., & Lindquist, K. A. (in prep). Emotion in the aging brain: A neuroimaging meta-analysis of functional activation and connectivity differences in older vs. younger adult emotions.
1. MacCormack, J. K., Armstrong Carter, E., Meltzer-Brody, S., Lindquist, K. A., & Muscatell, K. A. (2018). Arousal, awareness or appraisal? A double-blind study with propranolol comparing the relative roles of sympathetic activation, interoception, and appraisals in affective responses to stress. Presented at the American Psychosomatic Society's 2018 annual meeting. View PDF.