The Mosaic Institute

The Societal Impact of Emotions: Understanding how the Mis-regulation of Emotion Contributes to Social Prejudices


A Partnership Project with The Mosaic Institute and:

Dr. Jordan Mansell Post-Doctoral Researcher Political Communications and Public Opinion Lab The University du Québec in Montréal (UQAM)

Dr. Allison Harell Chair, Political Psychology of Social Solidarity The University du Québec in Montréal (UQAM)

Dr. Michael Bang Petersen Professor and Director Evolution and Politics Research Lab Aarhus University, Copenhagen, Denmark

Focusing on prejudice towards immigrants and ethnic out-groups, this project integrates the study of attitude formation from political science with the study of emotion in psychology by asking the question: How do differences in emotional experience and emotional regulation affect the development of prejudicial attitudes?

This project investigates whether the suppression of negative emotions contributes to the expression of prejudicial attitudes. The project’s objective is to use research on emotional regulation to develop more effective anti-prejudice policies. Research demonstrates a strong correlation between prejudice and individuals’ sensitivity to negatively arousing stimuli; however, the mechanism responsible for this relation is understudied. One explanation of this phenomenon is emotional regulation. Studies find that emotional suppression as a regulatory strategy causes several adverse psychological effects which are often associated with prejudice. Using a sample of threat sensitive subjects, this project will investigate whether emotional suppression predicts their levels of prejudice.

The project plans to disseminate its findings to a diverse community of decisionmakers through a policy workshop held in conjunction with the Mosaic Institute that brings together members of academic, not-for-profit, and policy communities to discuss the policy implications of research on emotion, cognition, and prejudice. The workshop, originally planned for June 2021, will result in a policy brief highlighting key recommendations for the improvement of anti-prejudice policies and programs. This document, as well as a summary of this project’s research, will be published in due course.

This project is funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant

For further information, contact: 10 February, 2019

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