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Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member whose research interests include the study of positive emotions.

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

Area of Interest

Dr. Fredrickson is most known for her “Broaden-and-Build Theory” of positive emotions, foundational for providing a scholarly blueprint for how pleasant emotional states, as fleeting as they are, contribute to human resilience, well-being, and health. Her recent research centers on “positivity resonance,” a concept that reflects co-experiences of warm-hearted positive emotions across individuals. Her team’s research has established positivity resonance to combat loneliness and promote mental, physical, and public health.

Dr. Fredrickson collaborates with Dr. Allison Lazard, of the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, to develop and test health communication messages delivered via social media to reduce loneliness and social isolation in vulnerable young adults.

Find publications on PubMed

Awards and Honors

  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2023
  • Fellow, International Positive Psychology Association, 2023
  • J. Carlyle Sitterson Award for Teaching First-Year Students, UNC, 2022
  • Woman of Achievement Award, Meredith College, 2018
  • Tang Prize for Achievements in Psychology, Tang Foundation, 2017
  • James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award, Association for Psychological Science, 2017
  • Christopher Peterson Gold Medal, International Positive Psychology Association, 2013
  • Career Trajectory Award, Society of Experimental Social Psychology, 2008
  • Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2000

News and Stories

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Headshot of Barbara Fredrickson.
  • Phone Number

    (919) 843-0091 (Office Phone)

  • Address

    Davie Hall, Room 309

    Department of Psychology and Neuroscience

    CB #3270

    Chapel Hill, NC 27599