To encourage all SAS members to participate in the important process of recognizing the accomplishments of our members, the nomination form is very brief.  We encourage self-nominations as well as nominations of others. The SAS Awards Committee especially encourages creative nominations (i.e., for individuals or teams) and will recognize multiple awardees, as fitting.

The submission deadline has now passed.

This honor recognizes outstanding dissertation research conducted by SAS members who received their PhD (or other terminal degree) during the calendar year immediately preceding that year’s SAS meeting.

This honor recognizes scientific contributions and early evidence of impact for SAS members who received their PhD (or other terminal degree) fewer than 10 years prior to that year’s SAS meeting. 

This honor celebrates the outstanding scientific impact of SAS members who received their PhD (or other terminal degree) more than 10 and fewer than 25 years prior to that year’s SAS meeting.

This honor recognizes interdisciplinary teams of two or more scholars at any career stage who have together produced a series of works that cross or integrate the theories, perspectives, and methods of two or more academic disciplines or domains of research to advance affective science. Teams could include collaborations across institutions or collaborations within the same laboratory, as long as there is clear cross-field integration (e.g., a PI who is a cognitive neuroscientist and a post-doc with a PhD in computer science). Nominees are asked to describe the disciplines and specific expertise of team members and provide up to 5 works they have jointly produced. At least one member of the team should be a member of SAS.

This honor recognizes individuals at any career stage who have demonstrated sustained commitment to the professional and intellectual development of students and early-career researchers. 

2023 Award Recipients

Best Dissertations in Affective Science Award

Daphne Y. Liu, Stony Brook University

For her dissertation entitled “Interpersonal emotion regulation in current and remitted major depressive disorder: An experience sampling study” that was completed at Washington University in St. Louis under the mentoring of Professor Renee J. Thompson.

Description: Extensive evidence suggests that people with major depressive disorder (MDD) have difficulty regulating emotion on their own. It is important to examine whether these difficulties extend to how they utilize social resources to regulate emotion, or interpersonal emotion regulation (IER). This dissertation examined everyday IER among adults with current MDD, those whose MDD was in remission, and adults with no current or past psychological disorders (i.e., controls) using experience sampling method. It represents initial efforts to elucidate the characteristics and utility of everyday IER at different stages of MDD and informs clinical interventions.

Sean Dae Houlihan, Dartmouth, MIT

For his dissertation entitled “A computational framework for emotion understanding” that was completed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in September 2022 under the mentoring of Professors Rebecca Saxe and Josh Tenenbaum.

Description: To infer others’ emotions, people integrate perceptual information from expressions and contextual information from situations. Using a combination of behavioral paradigms and computational models, this dissertation investigated how people use event context (e.g. what happened and what could have happened) to reason about others’ emotions, expressions, actions, and experiences. A generative model simulated how people predict others’ emotions by abstracting mental state representations from social situations. The Bayesian framework captured how emotion predictions shape diverse cognitive inferences, including people’s interpretation of expressions and causal reasoning about world states. Formally modeling people’s social cognition afforded a way to learn the latent structure of emotion concepts. This work outlines a path for reverse-engineering human emotional intelligence.

Early-Career in Affective Science Awards

Jonathan Stange, University of Southern California

Dr. Jonathan Stange is a leading early-career affective scientist who investigates cognitive and affective processes as they relate to risk for depression and suicide. Dr. Stange’s work integrates several methods and levels of analysis, including ambulatory psychophysiology of affect regulation in everyday life, and neural mechanisms of the regulation process. He has particularly focused on intensive person-centered modeling approaches to elucidate questions about how individuals vary over time, and in what contexts their risk is greatest. This work has implications for identifying personalized targets for intervention to improve regulatory success, and in doing so, to enhance resilience against problems such as depression and suicide. His work has been published in academic journals such as Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Psychological Medicine, and Human Brain Mapping.

Three representative publications:

Stange, J. P., Kleiman, E. M., Mermelstein, R. J., & Trull, T. J. (2019). Using ambulatory assessment to measure dynamic risk processes in affective disorders. Journal of Affective Disorders, 259, 325-336.
Stange, J. P., Hamilton, J. L., Fresco, D. M., & Alloy, L. B. (2017). Flexible parasympathetic responses to sadness facilitate spontaneous affect regulation. Psychophysiology, 54(7), 1054-1069.
Stange, J. P., Jenkins, L. M., Pocius, S., Kreutzer, K., Bessette, K., DelDonno, S. R., Kling, L. R., Bhaumik, R., Welsh, R. C., Keilp, J. G., Phan, K. L., & Langenecker, S. A. (2020). Using resting-state intrinsic network connectivity to identify suicide risk in mood disorders. Psychological Medicine, 50(14), 2324-2334.

Mid-Career Trajectory in Affective Science Award

Naomi I. Eisenberger, University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Naomi Eisenberger’s research uses neuroimaging and health-relevant assessments to better understand the nature of emotional experiences in close social relationships as well as why social relationships are so critical for mental and physical health. Her research has explored the neural underpinnings of social pain—the painful feelings following social rejection or loss—and has shown that social pain relies on some of the same neural regions that are involved in processing physical pain. She has also explored the neural substrates associated with social connection—including the systems involved in giving and receiving social support from others. Her work also examines the bidirectional relationships between social relationships and health. For instance, she has shown that inflammation can enhance feelings of social disconnection and that certain prosocial behaviors can reduce threat-related responding including inflammatory responding. Her work has been published in top academic journals including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Nature Neuroscience. She is currently the incoming Editor-in-Chief at Emotion.

Integrative Affective Science Award

No award in 2023

Mentorship Award

Wendy Berry Mendes, University of California, San Francisco
The 2023 SAS Mentorship Award is bestowed to Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes. This honor recognizes her unparalleled devotion to the career development not only of her own mentees, but of countless others through contributions at the society level and beyond. Although only three letters of support were permitted, nearly twenty former trainees collaborated to support her nomination and all agreed that, through her mentorship and modeling, she has had a truly transformative influence on their development as psychological scientists and as individuals. In addition, many remarked – with absolute certainty – that they would not be here today, and myriad advances in affective science would not have been made if it wasn’t for Wendy’s mentorship. She is not only a patient mentor that places a high priority on the well-being of her trainees, even years after they leave her lab, but she instills in her mentees a persistence and confidence that makes anything seem possible. Wendy is also well-known for having independently created a summer training program for undergraduates that has been running annually since 2005. One of her central goals with this intensive program is to provide opportunities for students who lack access to large, high-caliber research labs. Admission to her summer program prioritizes students at non-research-intensive schools, first-generation students, and students of color, showing her commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. Wendy gets to know all the interns personally—which is rare for a scholar at her level—she works hard to ensure that students have meaningful and rewarding experiences. That Wendy invested so much time in her mentees this early in their careers is a testament to her genuine passion for mentoring others in the field she loves so much. Overall, Wendy is not only an exceptional mentor, but she has been ringing the bell and blazing the path for underrepresented psychologists her entire career. Clearly, she has left an indelible mark on so many of us, and on the field as a whole, and she is most deserving of this award.

Best Dissertations in Affective Science Award

Hannah S. Savage, Ph.D., The Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University and Radboud University Medical Center.

For her dissertation entitled “The neural basis of threat and safety reversal learning in healthy subjects and patients with social anxiety disorder” that was completed at the University of Melbourne under the mentoring of Professor Ben Harrison.

Description: Responding flexibly to changing sources of threat and safety within the environment is crucial for human wellbeing and survival. This dissertation used complementary methods including functional magnetic resonance imaging at 3 and 7 Tesla, and measures of autonomic and subjective responding to advance current understanding of how the brain processes changing threat and safety signals. It further investigated the hypothesis that maladaptive threat and safety processing characterizes people with social anxiety disorder.

Meltem Yucel, Ph.D., Duke University

For her dissertation entitled “’No fair!’: An investigation of children’s development of fairness” that was completed at University of Virginia in May 2021 under the mentoring of Professor Amrisha Vaish.

Description: Children are sensitive to (un)fair distributions of resources. Through five studies with over 280 children and 540 adults, this dissertation established how children understand fairness norms, how fairness understanding changes with age, and the role of harm/affect in the moralization of fairness norms. These studies explain why children – and even adults – may not evaluate unfair distributions as negatively as other moral violations, namely, the indirect and less perceptible harm caused by unfairness. They suggest a potential explanation for why resource inequality is widely accepted in many societies. They also point to a potential solution: Emphasizing and making explicit the harm caused by unfairness.

Early-Career in Affective Science Awards

Daryl Cameron, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Daryl Cameron is an accomplished early-career affective scientist who investigates the psychological processes involved in empathy and moral decision-making, with an emphasis on motivational factors and interpersonal behavior. His research is united by the theme that empathy is often a motivated choice: many apparent limitations of empathy may result from how people strategically weigh their costs and benefits. In a second line of research, Cameron uses tools from social cognitive psychology—including implicit measurement and mathematical modeling—to understand individual differences in moral intuitions and empathy for pain. His work has been published in venues such as the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Trends in Cognitive Sciences, and Personality and Social Psychology Review.

Three representative publications:

Cameron, C. D., Hutcherson, C. A., Ferguson, A., Scheffer, J. A., Hadjiandreou, E., & Inzlicht, M. (2019). Empathy is hard work: People choose to avoid empathy because of its cognitive costs. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 148, 962-976.

Spring, V. L., Cameron, C. D., & Cikara, M. (2018). The upside of outrage. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 22, 1067-1069.

Cameron, C. D., Lindquist, K. A., & Gray, K. (2015). A constructionist review of morality and emotions: No evidence for specific links between moral content and discrete emotions. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 19, 371-394.

Dylan Gee, Ph.D., Yale University

Dr. Dylan Gee is a leading early-career affective scientist who studies the development of emotional learning and behavior, with a particular focus on neurodevelopmental mechanisms linking early adversity with risk for internalizing psychopathology. Among her many contributions, Dr. Gee’s research has identified ways in which the developing brain adapts to its early environment and provided novel insight into the impact of early experiences on corticolimbic circuitry and mental health. These findings have broad implications for clinical translation and optimizing interventions for youth with anxiety and stress-related psychopathology. Her work has been broadly recognized and published in academic journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, American Journal of Psychiatry, and Psychological Science.

Three representative publications:

Gee, D.G., & Cohodes, E.M. (2021). Caregiving Influences on Development: A Sensitive Period for Biological Embedding of Predictability and Safety Cues. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 30(5), 376-383.

Cohodes, E.M., McCauley, S., & Gee, D.G. (2021). Parental Buffering of Stress in the Time of COVID-19: Family-Level Factors May Moderate the Association Between Pandemic-Related Stress and Youth Symptomatology. Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology, 49(7), 935-948.

Meyer, H.C., Odriozola, P., Cohodes, E.M., Mandell, J.D., Li, A., Yang, R., Hall, B.S., Haberman, J.T., Zacharek, S.J., Liston, C., Lee, F.S., Gee, D.G. (2019). Ventral hippocampus interacts with prelimbic cortex during inhibition of threat response via learned safety in both mice and humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116(52), 26970-26979.

Mid-Career Trajectory in Affective Science Award

Anthony D. Ong, Ph.D., Cornell University

Dr. Anthony Ong’s research focuses on the pathways linking positive emotions to diverse aspects of psychological functioning and physical health. This work is conducted in studies involving adolescents and adults that incorporate standard laboratory experiments, implicit and explicit behavioral measures, psychophysiology, and intensive longitudinal methods. Dr. Ong has shown that enduring and fragile forms of positive affect exert both risk-protective and risk-augmenting effects on health. Whereas positive affect that is enduring is relatively stable, positive affect that is fragile reflects short-term fluctuations that are variable and subject to external influence. His work has been published in academic journals including Perspectives on Psychological Science, Emotion, Psychological Science, Development and Psychopathology, and JAMA Network Open.

Five representative publications:

Ong, A. D., & Leger, K. (2022). Advancing the study of resilience to daily stressors. Perspectives on Psychological Science.

Ong, A. D., Urganci, B., Burrow, A. L., & DeHart, T. (2022). The relational wear and tear of everyday racism among African American couples. Psychological Science.

Ong, A. D., & Steptoe, A. (2020). Association of positive affect instability with all-cause mortality in older adults in England. JAMA Network Open. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.7725.

Ong, A. D., & Burrow, A. L. (2018). Affective reactivity to daily racial discrimination as a prospective predictor of depressive symptoms in African American graduate and post-graduate students. Development and Psychopathology, 30, 1649-1659.

Ong, A. D., Benson, L. Zautra, A., & Ram, N. (2018). Emodiversity and biomarkers of inflammation. Emotion, 18, 3-14.

Integrative Affective Science Award

Jonathan Gratch, Ph.D., University of Southern California

Dr. Jonathan Gratch’s research focuses on computational models of human cognitive and social processes, especially emotion, and explores these models’ potential to both advance psychological theory and shape human-machine interaction.  Trained in artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology, Dr. Gratch is notable for having built bridges across disciplines. For example, his collaboration with Stacy Marsella established synergistic connections between cognitive appraisal theory and research on intelligent software agents. His joint research with Judee Burgoon helped create “virtual humans” that could establish rapport with human partners, which has led to practical applications such as helping depressed individuals overcome their fear of disclosing their symptoms. His collaboration with social psychologists Tony Manstead, Brian Parkinson and Peter Carnevale led to theoretical advances on how facial expression influence social decisions and methodological advances in the use of computer techniques to study emotional signals. Dr. Gratch has also worked tirelessly to break down silos across affective science through his organizational activities at conferences (e.g., SAS, ISRE and ACII), journals (e.g., IEEE TAC, Emotion Review, and Affective Science) and teaching.

Four Representative Publications:

Gratch, J. & Marsella, S. (2014). Social Emotions in Nature and Artifact. Oxford University Press.

D’Mello, S., Kappas, A. & Gratch, J. (2018). The Affective Computing Approach to Affect Measurement. Emotion Review, 10, 174-183.

de Melo, C., Carnevale, P., Read, S. & Gratch, J. (2014). Reading people’s minds from emotion expressions in interdependent decision making.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 73-88.

Gratch, J. & Marsella, S. (2004). A Domain-independent Framework for Modeling Emotion. Journal of Cognitive Systems Research, 5, 269-306.

Mentorship Award

The inaugural SAS Mentorship Award is jointly bestowed to Drs. Lisa Feldman Barrett and James Gross. This recognizes not only their respective outstanding devotion to the career development of their own mentees over the past three decades, but also their shared vision to create—and countless volunteer hours to build—the Society for Affective Science. Former trainees from the respective universities of Drs. Barrett and Gross remarked with great detail and sincere gratitude how the steady guidance, resources, advocacy, and kindnesses they received as a mentee shaped who they are today. In addition, unbeknownst to most current and former student members of our Society, SAS was launched expressly as a means to provide career support to more junior members of our field, especially those still in training. Through perennial SAS events such as Preconferences, Salons, Methods Workshops, and Speed Networking, Drs. Barrett and Gross opened up a steady stream of intergenerational conversations that continue to bolster and inspire early career affective scientists worldwide.

Lisa Feldman Barrett, Ph.D., Northeastern University

James J. Gross, Ph.D., Stanford University

Best Dissertation in Affective Science Award
Jennifer K. MacCormack
, Ph.D.,University of Pittsburgh

For her dissertation entitled “Minding the body: The role of interoception in linking physiology and emotion during stress” that was completed at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the mentoring of Professor Kristen Lindquist.

Description: Interoception is a popular yet less understood construct in affective science, with most measures studied in isolation or without consideration of individual differences in physiological reactivity. Using a large sample, multi-methods, and advanced statistical modeling, this dissertation tested which facets of interoception (ability, sensibility, beliefs) may uniquely moderate the relation between physiological reactivity and subjective stress (emotion, somatic sensations). In particular, this work found that positive interoceptive beliefs can buffer against the deleterious effects of physiological reactivity and poor interoceptive ability in the context of acute stress—paving the way for new questions on mind-body relations in emotional experience.

Early-Career in Affective Science Award
Katharine H. Greenaway, Ph.D., University of Melbourne

Dr. Katie Greenaway is a leading early-career affective scientist, whose research focuses on the affective antecedents and consequences of social connection. Specifically, Dr. Greenaway has led two complementary lines of research that have shaped our field’s understanding of the role of emotions in social processes. First, her work exploring how emotions shape social connections, focusing on how emotion can be regulated to create social harmony or social distance, has made important contributions to our understanding of emotional expression and suppression. This work challenged basic assumptions about positive emotion expression and suppression, showing that expressing positive emotion can have social costs and suppressing positive emotion can have social benefits. Second, Dr. Greenaway’s research has explored how and why social groups improve emotional health and well-being. In this line of work, she has identified mechanisms through which social connections affect emotional well-being, for example, by demonstrating that feeling connected to social groups enhances feelings of personal control, and partly through this process reduces depression and increase life satisfaction.

Three representative publications:

Greenaway, K. H., Kalokerinos, E. K., & Williams, L. A. (2018). Context is everything (in emotion research). Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 12(6), e12393.

Greenaway, K. H., & Kalokerinos, E. K. (2017). Suppress for success? Exploring the contexts in which expressing positive emotion can have social costs. European Review of Social Psychology, 28(1), 134-174.

Greenaway, K. H., & Kalokerinos, E. K. (2019). The intersection of goals to experience and express emotion. Emotion Review, 11(1), 50-62.

Mid-Career Trajectory in Affective Science Award
Abigail A. Marsh, Ph.D., Georgetown University

Dr. Abby Marsh’s areas of expertise include social and affective neuroscience, particularly understanding emotional processes like empathy and how they relate to altruism, aggression, and psychopathy. This work is conducted in studies of adolescents and adults that incorporate neuroimaging, cognitive and behavioral testing, and pharmacology techniques. In some of this work, Dr. Marsh has shown that the amygdala volume is larger in altruists and smaller in psychopaths, suggesting also that these two groups lie on opposite ends of a spectrum. She has also demonstrated through multiple studies that when altruists watch someone else feel pain, they have levels of activity in similar regions of their brain as when they were feeling the pain themselves, and concluded that altruists are better at recognizing the fear of others. Relatedly, Dr. Marsh leads work at Georgetown with altruistic donors, particularly those who donated kidneys to strangers. Her work has been published in academic journals including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Psychological Science, the American Journal of Psychiatry, and JAMA Psychiatry. And her lab’s work on neural and cognitive correlates of extraordinary altruism was awarded the Cozzarelli Prize by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Five representative publications:

Marsh, A. A., Kozak, M. N., & Ambady, N. (2007). Accurate identification of fear facial expressions predicts prosocial behavior. Emotion, 7(2), 239.

Lozier, L. M., Cardinale, E. M., VanMeter, J. W., & Marsh, A. A. (2014). Mediation of the relationship between callous-unemotional traits and proactive aggression by amygdala response to fear among children with conduct problems. JAMA psychiatry, 71(6), 627-636.

Marsh, A. A., Stoycos, S. A., Brethel-Haurwitz, K. M., Robinson, P., VanMeter, J. W., & Cardinale, E. M. (2014). Neural and cognitive characteristics of extraordinary altruists. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(42), 15036-15041.

Marsh, A. A. (2019). The caring continuum: Evolved hormonal and proximal mechanisms explain prosocial and antisocial extremes. Annual Review of Psychology, 70, 347-371.

Rhoads, S. A., Gunter, D., Ryan, R. M., & Marsh, A. A. (2021). Global variation in subjective well-being predicts seven forms of altruism. Psychological Science, 32(8), 1247-1261.