UMass Amherst

Linda M. Isbell, PhD

Professor of Psychology
Department of Psychology
University of Massachusetts
135 Hicks Way -- 630 Tobin Hall
Amherst, Massachusetts 01003

Office Phone: 413-545-5960
Email: lisbell@psych.umass.edu

Feelings play a ubiquitous role in our everyday lives and have a significant influence on everything from how satisfied we are to how we perceive stimuli in the world around us. Given this, it is not surprising that feelings influence many significant real-world judgments, including diagnoses of cancer, evaluations of job applicants, and voting decisions. A fundamental assumption in my work is that affective feelings convey valuable information that guides individuals’ thoughts, judgments, and actions. My work embraces the notion that affect and cognition are necessary allies that work in tandem to produce adaptive responses to the world. My research aims to better understand the ways in which affect influences ordinary, everyday information processing and judgment across a number of important social psychological and real-world domains. Much of my research investigates the impact of affective experiences on how individuals seek out, process, and evaluate information about hypothetical political candidates, job applicants, ordinary people, stereotyped others, and the self. I am currently applying research on affect and information processing to understand how affect impacts medical decision-making by health care providers when treating individuals afflicted with mental health and substance use disorders. By relying on theory and research in social cognition, I identify and explore the underlying social cognitive processes that account for the different influences of affect on cognition. A list of publications relevant to this primary line of research, as well as to some secondary lines of work, can be found here.