As a cognitive and clinical psychologist, my research expertise is in how people interpret and respond to facial expressions of emotion, and how these abilities relate to individual differences in clinical traits. In real life, we often see facial expressions that signal genuine emotion (e.g., smiling in response to a pleasant event), but also expressions that are posed to symbolize emotion for other social reasons (e.g., smiling to be polite). Regrettably, the science of facial expressions has—across a broad range of disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, medicine, and computer science—relied on facial expression stimuli that are artificially posed to fit into one of six or so “basic emotion” categories. These highly structured stimuli fail to capture the wide variety of expressive facial behaviour we see in our daily lives, and are rarely perceived as expressing genuine emotion. My work shows that using genuine emotional expressions instead of posed ones can lead to dramatically different research outcomes and important new insights, particularly for questions about atypical affective processing (e.g., in social anxiety and psychopathic traits). My research uses behavioural and psychophysiological methods, including EEG.

Experience

  • –present
    Lecturer, Australian National University

Education

  • 2015 
    The Australian National University, PhD (Clinical Psychology)