Emotional processes

Colour psychology

Colours shape our environment. Humans are rarely indifferent about them, in particular when they are salient. Popular opinion assumes that colours can even interact with our affective state, may it be in the form of mood changes or wellbeing. Given the current published scientific literature, we are very sceptical that general claims can be made regarding colour-affect relationships. So far, we miss a sufficient number of systematic investigations that adhere to common empirical standards. With our studies, we aim to enrich the scientific literature that will eventually inform on how colour can be linked to affect in a reliable and valid manner. Our different projects encompass three lines of expertise: i) experimental paradigms from cognitive psychology, ii) theoretical frameworks from emotion psychology, and iii) knowledge on colour science in everyday applications.

You can find more information on http://www.colourexperience.ch

Affective reactivity

Personality and appraisal processes

Personality has a significant impact on the behaviour of individuals, systematically leading them to behave and react in a particular way. Emotions are also impacted by personality, particularly on the predisposition to feel certain emotion and not others. According to appraisal theories of emotion, emotional episodes emerge following an appraisal process of the individual’s environment. So far, many studies have linked either appraisal processes and emotion responses or personality and emotion responses. This project aims to reunite these three concepts and to observe how appraisal processes may mediate the relationship between personality and emotion responses at the experiential, expressive and physiological level.

For more information and access to publications: https://people.unil.ch/elisedanglauser/research-projects/

Emotional synchrony

One of the tenets of emotion theory regarding emotion emergence is the necessity to have a co-occurrence of different responses. Some theories talk about patterned responses and some talk about emotional synchrony. One of our research tracks is to better evaluate this synchrony, both at the intra-personal and inter-personal level, to understand the underlying coupling between emotional responses. Notably, we investigate what are the synchrony differences across diverse contexts, with the presence or absence of regulatory processes, or in relationship with individual traits.

For more information and access to publications: https://people.unil.ch/elisedanglauser/research-projects/

Construction of a moral battery for evaluating moral emotions

We are currently collaborating on a project about moral emotions led by Dr. Alfonso Gutiérrez-Zotes, clinical psychologist at the Hospital Universitari Institut Pere Mata, IISPV, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, CIBERSAM, Reus, Spain. With the help of the Geneva Emotion Picture Database (GAPED, Dan-Glauser & Scherer, 2011), we work at better understanding moral emotions, such as shame and guilt. We notably investigate the perception and evaluation of these emotions in various populations, including patients with Borderline Personality Disorders.

For more information and access to publications: https://people.unil.ch/elisedanglauser/research-projects/


The construct of impulsivity broadly regards those behaviours that are poorly conceived, prematurely expressed, unduly risky, or inappropriate to the situation and that typically result in undesirable consequences. Impulsivity is a central construct in various domains of psychology and neuropsychology, and constitutes a trans-diagnostic factor involved in a wide range of psychopathological disorders (e.g., addictive disorders, obsessive and compulsive disorders).

Representative research outcomes and related publications:

We have written the first French comprehensive handbook focusing on the definition, the conceptualization, the assessment, and the treatment of impulsive behaviours. This book targets the following audience: (1) French speaking clinicians (who not necessarily read English scientific literature), (2) researchers (especially those interested to have a complete picture of influential impulsivity models and who want to assess impulsivity in behavioural experiments), and (3) French-speaking bachelor and master students interested in impulsivity.

Billieux, J., Rochat, L., & Van der Linden, M. (2014). L’impulsivité : Ses facettes, son évaluation et son expression clinique. Bruxelles, Belgique : Mardaga. http://www.editionsmardaga.com/impulsivite-ses-facettes-son .

We have created the first short version of one of the most used impulsivity questionnaire, i.e. the UPPS-Impulsivity Scale. This short scale has since been translated into many languages (e.g., Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Arabic) and adapted for the assessment of specific populations (e.g., children, traumatic-brain-injured patients).

Billieux, J., Rochat, L., Ceschi, G., Carré, A., Offerlin-Meyer, I., Defeldre, A.-C., Khazaal, Y., Besche-Richard, C., & Van der Linden, M. (2012). Validation of a short French version of the UPPS-P Impulsive Behaviour Scale. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 53, 609-615. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2011.09.001

Related links :

We have participated in the elucidation of the cognitive and affective mechanisms underlying one specific impulsivity facet, namely “urgency”, which can be defined as the tendency to act rashly when faced to intense negative affect. Our findings, which have been since replicated in independent labs, shown that individuals with high urgency have greater difficulties to inhibit prepotent (or automatic) motor responses and are characterized by hazardous decision-making (assessed by laboratory tasks such as the Iowa Gambling Task). We also showed that heightened urgency is related with the involvement in a wide range of maladaptive and addictive behaviours (e.g., addictive use of smartphones, binge drinking, compulsive sexual behaviours).

Billieux, J., Gay, P., Rochat, L., & Van der Linden, M. (2010). The role of urgency and its underlying psychological mechanisms in problematic behaviours. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48, 1085-1096. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2010.07.008

Billieux, J., Van der Linden, M., & Rochat, L. (2008). The role of impulsivity in actual and problematic use of the mobile phone. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 22, 1195-1210. https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.1429

Emotion regulation

Emotion regulation efficiency: Situation selection, reappraisal, distraction and refocusing on planning

Several strategies have been identified to help the individuals regulating their emotional arousal. Some are well-known, and their impact is largely studied. This is the case of reappraisal for example, which shows great efficiency in a large variety of contexts. However, little is known about the skills required to have it function well as a regulation strategy. Some other strategies, like Situation selection or Refocusing on planning, for example, have received less attention and we do not know the mechanism by which this strategy succeeds in regulating emotional arousal. Finally, it may be that strategies may function well for the majority but may be quite difficult for people with a particular condition (for example in case of trait-anxiety).

With these projects, we aim at understanding in which conditions and to what extent a particular strategy could be useful. Moreover, we seek to determine what skills are required for it to function well and what could be the conditions that impede its efficiency.

For more information and access to publications: https://people.unil.ch/elisedanglauser/research-projects/

Personality and emotion regulation efficiency

Personality has a significant impact on the behaviour of the individuals, systematically leading them to behave and react in a particular way. Regarding emotion regulation, several strategies have been identified to help the individuals regulating their emotional arousal and have often been categorized as adaptive or maladaptive. In other words, there are strategies that are good and strategies that are bad. With this project, we go a step further and set the hypothesis that the efficiency of a particular emotion regulation strategy may depend on who is performing the regulation. We seek to determine if there are particular personality profiles (according to the Big-five Model or the Maladaptive Personality Trait Model of Personality) that may benefit the most from certain strategies and not other to regulate emotion. This hypothesis lies on the idea that personality may favour certain skill able to increase the efficiency of certain emotion regulation strategies while impeding the proper functioning of others.

For more information and access to publications: https://people.unil.ch/elisedanglauser/research-projects/

Creativity and reappraisal

Reappraisal consists in reevaluating an emotional situation in order for it to be less emotional and therefore helping us regulate our emotions. It is considered as one of the most efficient emotion regulation strategy. However, it requires many resources like the ability to construct alternative explanations for a situation. We hypothesize that the use and efficiency of reappraisal is conditioned by the creativity level of an individual, assuming that creativity allows for the imagination of many alternative explanations that could be used for reappraising a situation. On the contrary, a low level of creativity impedes successful reappraisal, the individual not having the essential resource to evaluating the situation in a different manner than the original interpretation.

For more information and access to publications: https://people.unil.ch/elisedanglauser/research-projects/

Touch and well-being

Affectionate touch in close relationship, and in particular in couples, promotes well-being. However, still little is known about its differential effects according to individual characteristics (for ex. attachment style), situations (for ex. under stress or in the transition to parenthood), or cultures (for ex. in Latin-American cultures). A series of studies investigates those differences using different methods.

Find more information here.

Representative publications:

Debrot, A., Schoebi, D., Perrez, M., & Horn, A. B. (2013). Touch as an interpersonal emotion regulation process in couple's daily lives: The mediating role of psychological intimacy. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39, 1373-1385. https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167213497592

Jakubiak, B. K., Debrot, A., Kim, J., & Impett, E. A. (2020). Approach and avoidance motives for touch are predicted by attachment and predict daily relationship well-being. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Advance Online Publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0265407520961178