Jennifer Stellar, PhD

Jennifer Stellar

Jennifer Stellar is an assistant professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto. She received her PhD in Social-Personality Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research examines the impact of prosocial emotions—including awe, compassion, and gratitude—on health and well-being. She explores how these emotions work in concert with our biological systems to support giving, helping, bonding, and overall physical health.

Professor Stellar's research is aimed at understanding how individuals and social groups thrive. She studies how positive emotions promote prosociality, health, and well-being, and how emotions drive us to help others in need or sacrifice our own goals for the good of the group. As an affective scientist, Dr. Stellar explores the antecedents, appraisals, and physiological correlates that define key prosocial emotions such as compassion, awe, gratitude, elevation, love and inspiration. In a related line of research, she investigates morality, a foundation of successful group living, examining its powerful influence on interpersonal judgment. She is also interested in how we judge people who have behaved unethically and why arguments about moral issues can be so intractable.