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Background

Emotions are present in almost every moment of our daily lives, adding colour to our experience of the world. Emotions can range from mild enjoyment or annoyance–often triggered by everyday pleasures or hassles, to intense joy or sadness–usually in response to more momentous events. Although emotions have traditionally been defined as very brief, psychologists are discovering that they can last anywhere from seconds to hours or days. While our emotions are often very helpful, at times we also seek to control and manage how and when our emotions unfold. This ability to regulate emotions is thought to be critical to health and well-being.

Scientists studying emotions are only beginning to understand the complexities of how emotions function in daily life. Although important discoveries have been made in the lab, we don't know how much these findings apply to how people experience and manage their emotions in the "real world". The FEEL Lab aims to discover how emotions function in the rich and complex environments we encounter in our daily lives.

Lab News

Why are we calling it ‘social distancing’? Right now, we need social connections more than ever

Dr. Katie Greenaway adds to the growing list of voices urging people to stay socially connected while being physically distant. We require physical distancing rather than social distancing.

The Conversation - https://theconversation.com/why-are-we-calling-it-social-distancing-right-now-we-need-social-connections-more-than-ever-134249

Also see Katie's other articles related to COVID-19
Pursuit Article on what we can learn from disaster movies - https://pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/articles/what-disaster-movies-can-teach-us-about-coping-with-covid-19

Why winners shouldn't always be grinners (March 2019)

How do you feel when an Australian tennis player wins that Grand Slam? Do you jump up and down with excitement? What about when your colleague gets that promotion you wanted? Do you celebrate with them but feel slightly annoyed that they're telling everyone about it? Dr Katie Greenaway talks with Hilary Harper on Life Matters about her research that finds demonstrating positive emotions when you 'win' actually has wide-ranging consequences.

Audio Link: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/success/10893602

The mental cost of keeping secrets (Feb 2019)

There is a mental cost to keeping secrets, but also keeping the secrets of others. According to new research when someone confides a secret in us we can feel important, but also experience stress. Dr Katharine Greenaway talks to Life Matters on ABC Radio National and says we often try and problem solve on behalf of the other person.

Audio Link: https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/the-cost-of-keeping-secrets/10762154

Shame, guilt, and secrets on the mind (Jan 2019)

How many secrets are you carrying around? What is the cost of keeping all these secrets?  Dr Elise Kalokerinos, Dr Katie Greenaway, & Dr Michael Slepian are studying the science of secrets, estimating the costs of secrecy - from lost productivity to mental health issues - and testing solutions that might reduce them. Dr. Kalokerinos chats with ABC Newcastle Radio on the online database of nearly four thousand anonymous secrets.

Audio Link: https://www.abc.net.au/radio/newcastle/programs/breakfast/science-secrets/10766260

Is emotional stability all it’s cracked up to be? (May, 2018)

Emotional stability is often described as a hallmark of psychological health and well-being. Yet, one of the primary functions of our emotions is to fluctuate and change over time following the ebb and flow of daily life. This lecture, presented by Dr Peter Koval will explore recent research on “emotion dynamics”, which suggests that emotional stability may not necessarily be a good thing. Psychological health requires emotions to be flexible rather than stable. Ideally emotions respond to environmental changes, but are also well regulated. The lecture will examine research, conducted inside the laboratory and outside in our everyday environments, that links emotional flexibility with better psychological functioning and well-being.

Lecture Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7qZhtd067k