Erik Nook

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Harvard University


Emotions are a cornerstone of the human experience. Feelings of joy, fear, sadness, excitement, and pride are woven through our everyday experiences. Emotions guide our actions, shape our relationships, and they bring meaning to our lives and the lives of those around us. Emotions can also overwhelm us, reaching impairing levels of distress that characterize psychological disorders like anxiety and depression. I study how emotions like these "work," specifically focusing on how language and emotion interact. I integrate three primary lenses to advance understanding of how language shapes emotion: (i) a developmental approach to understand how children and adolescents learn to identify what they are feeling, (ii) a neuroscientific approach to understand how brain systems allow us to represent and regulate our emotions, and (iii) a translational approach to understand how emotions and emotional language relate to psychopathology and its treatment. As a fully trained clinical psychologist, I am ultimately interested in producing knowledge about human emotion that can improve psychological health and well-being.