Dr David Cowan


School of Psychology
Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences
+61 7 334 67561


I am primarily an emotion researcher. I am particularly interested in empathic responses, and the construct of empathy (Affective arousal, Affective perspective taking, and Empathic concern / Motivated empathy).

I am also very interested in how specific patterns of social media usage by ourselves and those we connect with, impact our empathic responses, and overall emotional state.

I use several methods to research emotional responses, including eye-tracking, which can reveal how eye-gaze patterns to faces may relate to the quality of social interaction.

I am keen to work with highly motivated students who are generally interested in emotion research, eye-tracking, or are interested in the emotional impact of social media use.

In 2019 I will have some broad thesis project topics related to my areas of research. These topics may include "The impact of Ghosting", and further research into Negative Behaviour Online.

If any of this interests you, and you'd like to meet to discuss, feel free to email me at d.cowan@psy.uq.edu.au.

Research Interests

  • Emotion
  • Empathy
    Construct of Empathy (Affective Arousal, Affective Perspective Taking, Empathic Concern / Motivated Empathy)
  • Facial Expression Recognition


  • Doctor of Philosophy, The University of Queensland


View all Publications


Journal Article

  • Henry, Julie D., Cowan, David G., Lee, Teresa and Sachdev, Perminder S. (2015) Recent trends in testing social cognition. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 28 2: 133-140. doi:10.1097/YCO.0000000000000139

  • Cowan, David G., Vanman, Eric J. and Nielsen, Mark (2014) Motivated empathy: the mechanics of the empathic gaze. Cognition and Emotion, 28 8: 1522-1530. doi:10.1080/02699931.2014.890563

Other Outputs