Barbara Fredrickson

Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member, Director of Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory and Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill. PEP Lab and Professor Fredrickson’s research program challenges the assumptions of traditional models of emotion and provides a unique viewpoint on the function of positive emotions.

Director, Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory; Kenan Distinguished Professor, Psychology
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Prevention and Control

Area of interest

I have a broad background in psychology and affective science, with specific expertise in positive emotions, cardiovascular psychophysiology, experimental social psychology, lifespan developmental psychology, and contemplative science. My single most significant accomplishment to date, for which I have received early and mid-career awards, has been to change the way scientists and others understand the evolved adaptive function of positive emotions. I did this by creating the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions, first published in 1998, which has since attracted more than 5000 citations, establishing it as a citation classic with transformative impact. As PI on several past and ongoing NIH-funded grants, I have tested the broaden-and-build theory empirically, investigating the momentary and long-term effects of positive emotions, work that has provided critical groundwork for current work on my upward spiral theory of lifestyle change. If tests of this new theory yield the hypothesized results, and are later translated into applications, they hold potential for widespread public health benefit. To sum, I have a demonstrated record of innovative and productive research projects in areas of high relevance to health and well-being across the lifespan

Awards and Honors

1986-1990 Jacob K. Javits Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
1998 Career Development Award, Office of the Provost, University of Michigan
1999 Excellence in Research Award, College of Literature, Science & the Arts, University of Michigan
1999 Excellence in Education Award, College of Literature, Science & the Arts, University of Michigan
2000 Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology, American Psychological Association (1st Place Award)
2000 Excellence in Research Award, College of Literature, Science & the Arts, University of Michigan
2005 Fellow, American Psychological Association, Division 8
2007 Fellow, Association for Psychological Science
2008 Career Trajectory Award, Society for Experimental Social Psychology
2009 Fellow, Society of Experimental Social Psychology
2010 Templeton Research Fellow, Boston University
2010 Senior Fellow, Mind and Life Institute
2011 Visiting Hood Fellow, University of Auckland
2011 Distinguished Achievement Award, Alumni Association, Carleton College

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