Skip to main content
Expand AU Menu

Psychology | Emotions and Positive Psychology Lab



Emotions and Positive Psychology Lab
Professor Anthony Ahrens, Director

The Emotions and Positive Psychology Lab (EPPL) studies gratitude, mindfulness, and fear of emotion. We are doing a variety of research on gratitude. One line of work distinguishes between two types of grateful emotions, related to distinctions made by Lambert and his colleagues and also by Steindl-Rast. Most research defines gratitude as a reaction to benefits received from others. But some individuals also report gratitude for benefits for which there is no clear origin. For instance, some people report being grateful for being at the beach on a sunny day, though they might not report being grateful to anyone. We have examined the difference between being “grateful for” rather than “grateful to” in daily diary and questionnaire data.

We have a variety of interests in mindfulness, as well. We are particularly interested in understanding the effects of mindfulness training, and in learning how those effects come about. For instance, recent studies from our lab have examined the relation of mindfulness to task persistence and empathy. Finally, we are interested in fear of emotion and how it might change people’s experience of the present moment, for instance, by leading to experiential avoidance. We are currently studying whether fear of emotion dampens people’s ability to distinguish the experience of different emotions.

Professor Anthony Ahrens is the director of the Emotions and Positive Psychology lab. Follow Professor Ahrens’s blog, Psych Geek!

If you are interested in gaining research experience though volunteering in the Emotions and Positive Psychology lab, please contact Professor Ahrens at

This is the Spring 2013 lab. Left to right: Kate Stewart, Tony Ahrens,
Alisa Breetz, Vicki Farrow, Sharone Weltfreid, Kate Caffery, Elin Ryd,
Michael Mullarkey

2013-2014 Lab Members

(see Lab Member Bios)

  • Duaa Abdel Hameid
  • Alisa Breetz
  • Cate Caffery
  • Emily Farr
  • Victoria Farrow
  • Kim Gilroy
  • Laura Herron
  • Kate Kerpez
  • Emily Maher
  • Rubie Peters
  • Elin Ryd
  • Kate Stewart
  • Sharone Weltfreid


Members of the EPPL Lab