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Arvid Kappas

Arvid Kappas is professor of psychology and dean at Jacobs University Bremen. He has been conducting research on emotions for over three decades. Having obtained his PhD at Dartmouth College, NH, USA, he has lived and worked in Switzerland, Canada, the UK, and in Germany. He was also visiting professor in Austria and in Italy. His research addresses how factors, such as the social context, or certain cognitive processes, influence how components of the emotion system interact, such as what people feel, what expressions they show, and how their body reacts. He sees emotions as social processes, thus, the perception and interpretation of expressive behavior, empathy, and social regulation of affective processes are equally important to his work. Currently, Arvid is president of the International Society for Research on Emotions (ISRE). He is a fellow and charter member of the Association for Psychological Science (APS), a fellow of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) and is active in various societies, such as the executive board of AAAC (formerly HUMAINE). He was associate editor of the APA journal Emotion and of Biological Psychology and serves on the editorial board of several journals, such as Cognition and Emotion or the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. He has published numerous scientific articles and chapters. In 2011 he edited, "Face to face communication over the Internet". with Nicole Krämer at Cambridge University Press. In 2015 the Oxford Handbook of Affective Computing (edited with Rafael Calvo, Sidney D'Mello, and Jon Gratch) appeared. His current research includes work in the context of three EU funded projects: "CYBEREMOTIONS: Collective emotions in cyberspace" (2009-2013), "eCUTE: Education in Cultural Understanding Technology Enhanced" (2010-2013), and "EMOTE: EMbOdied-perceptive Tutors for Empathy-based learning" (2012-2016).

Arvid Kappas
Arvid Kappas
Jacobs University Bremen
Key research interests:

Expressive behavior in social context (often measured using facial EMG) :: Perception of emotion :: Appraisals :: Physiological responses associated with affective processes :: Empathy and facial feedback :: Psychological underpinnings of the uncanny valley :: Collective emotions in Cyberspace :: Face-to-face communication over the Internet :: Emotional reactions to press photography :: Social neuroscience
File Kappas, A. (2002). The science of emotion as a multidisciplinary research paradigm. In Behavioural Processes, 60, 85-98.
I discuss the emergence of a science of emotion and argue that research in this domain requires an appreciation of the organization of emotional processes at different levels as postulated by social neuroscience. Emotions cannot be understood without relying on a program of multidisciplinary research. Local multidisciplinarity cannot be achieved without a programmatic framework that takes three issues into account (1) the relationship of multiple levels of emotions and connected processes, (2) the mutually informative study of humans, animals, and artificial systems, and (3) the dynamic nature of emotions in a dynamic systems approach. Illustrations for my arguments are provided relating to facial expressions of humans.
File Krumhuber, E., Manstead, A. S. R., & Kappas, A. (2007). Temporal aspects of facial displays in person and expression perception: The effects of smile dynamics, head-tilt, and gender. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 31, 39-56.
Recent work suggests that temporal aspects of facial displays influence the perception of the perceived authenticity of a smile. In the present research, the impact of temporal aspects of smiles on person and expression perception was explored in combination with head-tilt and gender. One hundred participants were shown different types of smiles (slow versus fast onset) in combination with three forms of head-tilt (none, left, or right) exhibited by six computer-generated male and female encoders. The encoders were rated for perceived attractiveness, trustworthiness, dominance, and the smiles were rated for flirtatiousness and authenticity. Slow onset smiles led to more positive evaluations of the encoder and the smiles. Judgments were also significantly influenced by head-tilt and participant and encoder gender, demonstrating the combined effect of all three variables on expression and person perception.
File Social regulation of emotion: messy layers
Emotions are evolved systems of intra- and interpersonal processes that are regulatory in nature, dealing mostly with issues of personal or social concern. They regulate social interaction and in extension, the social sphere. In turn, processes in the social sphere regulate emotions of individuals and groups. In other words, intrapersonal processes project in the interpersonal space, and inversely, interpersonal experiences deeply influence intrapersonal processes. Thus, I argue that the concepts of emotion generation and regulation should not be artificially separated. Similarly, interpersonal emotions should not be reduced to interacting systems of intraindividual processes. Instead, we can consider emotions at different social levels, ranging from dyads to large scale e-communities. The interaction between these levels is complex and does not only involve influences from one level to the next. In this sense the levels of emotion/regulation are messy and a challenge for empirical study. In this article, I discuss the concepts of emotions and regulation at different intra- and interpersonal levels. I extend the concept of auto-regulation of emotions (Kappas, 2008, 2011a,b) to social processes. Furthermore, I argue for the necessity of including mediated communication, particularly in cyberspace in contemporary models of emotion/regulation. Lastly, I suggest the use of concepts from systems dynamics and complex systems to tackle the challenge of the “messy layers.”
File Garcia, D., Kappas, A., Küster, D., & Schweitzer, F. (2016). The dynamics of emotions in online interactions. Royal Society Open Science, 3: 160059.
We study the changes in emotional states induced by reading and participating in online discussions, empirically testing a computational model of online emotional interaction. Using principles of dynamical systems, we quantify changes in valence and arousal through subjective reports, as recorded in three independent studies including 207 participants (110 female). In the context of online discussions, the dynamics of valence and arousal is composed of two forces: an internal relaxation towards baseline values independent of the emotional charge of the discussion and a driving force of emotional states that depends on the content of the discussion. The dynamics of valence show the existence of positive and negative tendencies, while arousal increases when reading emotional content regardless of its polarity. The tendency of participants to take part in the discussion increases with positive arousal. When participating in an online discussion, the content of participants' expression depends on their valence, and their arousal significantly decreases afterwards as a regulation mechanism. We illustrate how these results allow the design of agent-based models to reproduce and analyse emotions in online communities. Our work empirically validates the microdynamics of a model of online collective emotions, bridging online data analysis with research in the laboratory.
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