Dr Eric Vanman

Senior Lecturer

School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
e.vanman@psy.uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 56213

Overview

Eric J. Vanman is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland Australia. After receiving his Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Southern California in 1994, he was a post-doctoral fellow in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience at USC and then spent a year as a research scientist at Texas A&M University. He was then a lecturer at Emory University until his appointment as an Assistant Professor at Georgia State University in 2000. He left Georgia State in 2007 as an Associate Professor to take up his current position. His research interests include the social neuroscience of emotion and intergroup prejudice, and his studies have incorporated several kinds of psychophysiological and neuroimaging methods.

Research Interests

  • Why Do We Cry? How Do People Respond to Others Who are Crying?
    We are currently investigating the functions of crying by asking people to cry in the laboratory and taking various behavioural and physiological measurements while they do. In other studies, participants view pictures or videos of people who are crying to examine how we respond to those showing tears.
  • How Do I Know I Can Trust You?
    Several factors influence our judgments of the trustworthiness of strangers, including facial features, their group memberships, and their emotional expressions. Our research includes measuring physiological and neural activity while participants look at pictures of strangers who vary in their perceived trustworthiness.
  • How Stressful is it to Use Social Media?
    We have studied how constantly keeping up with friends via social media such as Facebook can have both positive and negative benefits. We found in once recent study, for example, that giving up Facebook for five days was associated with negative feelings about being socially disconnected, but stress (as measured via salivary cortisol) decreased during the same time period.
  • Why Do We Have Less Empathy for People in Other Groups?
    It is well known now that we naturally have less empathy for people who belong to different social groups to our own. This line of research investigates some of the reasons why such empathic biases occur.
  • How Do We Really Feel About Robots?
    Can we have empathy for robots? Why do we fear them? Is it a good idea to design robots that look like humans? This is the newest line of research in our laboratory.

Research Impacts

Dr. Vanman is perhaps best known for his research on racial prejudice, in which participants’ facial EMG activity (i.e., activation of frowning and smiling muscles, in the absence of detectable facial displays of emotion) has been found to be related to prejudice and discriminatory behavior. His work on unconscious bias displayed via psychophysiological measures was among a few early studies that laid the groundwork for research on implicit measures that has dominated this research area for the last decade. More recently, he has used a social neuroscience approach to study the mechanisms of empathy, including factors that might lead to a failure of empathy for others who are different to us.

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Southern California
  • Master of Arts, Southern California

Publications

View all Publications

Supervision

View all Supervision

Publications

Book

Book Chapter

  • Owren, Michael J., Philipp, Michael, Vanman, Eric, Trivedi, Niyati, Schulman, Allison and Bachorowski, Jo-Anne (2013). Understanding spontaneous human laughter: the role of voicing in inducing positive emotion. In Eckart Altenmuller, Sabine Schmidt and Elke Zimmermann (Ed.), Evolution of emotional communication: from sounds in nonhuman mammals to speech and music in man (pp. 175-190) Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.

  • Tassinary, L. G., Cacioppo, J. T. and Vanman, E. J. (2007). The skeletomotor system: Surface electromyography. In J. T. Cacioppo, L. G. Tassinary and G. G. Berntson (Ed.), Handbook of Psychophysiology 3rd ed. (pp. 267-299) New York: Cambridge University Press.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

  • Vanman, Eric J., Horiguchi, Mari and Sharman, Leah (2013). The social function of tears in crying: a facial electromyographic investigation. In: Special Issue: Society for Psychophysiological Research, Abstracts for the 53rd Annual Meeting, Firenze Fiera Congress and Exhibition Center. 53rd Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Florence Italy, (S95-S95). 02 - 06 October 2013. doi:10.1111/psyp.12120

  • Philipp, Michael C., Bernstein, Michael, Vanman, Eric J. and Johnston, Lucy (2012). Adaptive facial mimicry to social exclusion. In: Society for Psychophysiological Research, Abstracts for the Fifty-Second Annual Meeting. 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, New Orleans La, (S39-S39). 19-23 September 2012. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2012.01440.x

  • Vanman, Eric J., Horiguchi, Mari, Philipp, Michael and Johnston, Lucy (2012). What is the role of mimicry in detecting posed and genuine smiles?. In: Society for Psychophysiological Research, Abstracts for the Fifty-Second Annual Meeting. 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, New Orleans La, (S21-S21). 19-23 September 2012. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2012.01437.x

  • Henrion, M. and Vanman, E.J. (2010). Feeling bad about what "we" have done: the p300 as a marker of collective guilt in an intergroup transgression. In: Psychophysiology: Society for Psychophysiological Research Abstracts for the Fiftieth Annual Meeting. 50th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Portland, OR, U.S.A., (S49-S49). 29 September-3 October, 2010. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2010.01111.x

  • Vanman, EJ, Iyer, A, Henrion, M, Witowski, P, Berndt, SL, Greenaway, KH and Hornsey, MJ (2010). Images of terrorism: The emotional impact of viewing scenes of the aftermath. In: Psychophysiology: Society for Psychophysiological Research Abstracts for the Fiftieth Annual Meeting. 50th Annual Meeting of the Society for Psychophysiological Research, Portland, OR, U.S.A., (S100-S100). 29 September-3 October, 2010. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8986.2010.01111.x

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Principal Advisor

    Other advisors:

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor

    Other advisors:

Completed Supervision