Feature

There’s much we don’t know about how emotions affect our lives. For example, if you are angry at your spouse when you come to work, how does that feeling alter what you do or see on the job? How might fear influence the way you make financial decisions? How do gratitude and compassion affect your social relationships?

As incoming editor of the journal Emotion, David DeSteno, PhD, wants to see more articles answering those kinds of questions.

“We’ve already exerted a lot of effort examining what emotions are and how they are represented in the brain,” says DeSteno, of Northeastern University, who explores how emotions affect social behaviors. But, while he will continue to publish articles on such important topics, he wants more research on how emotions influence decisions, behaviors and processes that shape people’s lives — research that can show why we should care about emotions.

“To the extent we can do that,” he says, “we’re going to broaden interest in these topics even beyond the wide audience we have now.”

DeSteno welcomes submissions from psychology’s subfields, such as developmental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, social psychology and decision-making, as well as other relevant fields, such as behavioral economics and legal decision-making.

“This breadth is what makes Emotion an exciting journal,” he says.

While the journal’s mainstays are traditional research articles, it features two other article types as well, DeSteno says:

  • “Brief Reports,” which highlight important findings that may not be entirely fleshed out but that promise to spur a wealth of research activity. He is shortening these items from 3,400 words to 2,500 words to allow more of them to be published and to better capture readers’ attention.

  • “Perspectives,” modeled after a section in Science magazine that features commentaries on important issues, such as how new findings may alter the field’s view of previous research or how opposing views on a debated topic might be reconciled.

Because it is a basic science journal, Emotion doesn’t accept articles that examine emotions in the context of therapeutic process or outcomes. However, DeSteno is open to studies that look at emotional processes in the context of specific patient populations “if they can illuminate something about the basic processes of how emotions work,” he says.

To keep pace with the journal’s popularity, APA has increased its number of associate editors from eight to 12, which should speed up review time considerably, DeSteno adds.

To submit manuscripts to Emotion, visit the journal’s online submissions portal.


Tori DeAngelis is a writer in Syracuse, N.Y.