The Research Team

James W. Pennebaker is the Regents Centennial Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. He has a long history of studying how people, groups, and entire societies approach, think about, and respond to personal and large-scale upheavals. Over the years, he and his students have studied Mt. St. Helens Volcano, the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the death of Princess Diana, 9/11, and the Texas A&M bonfire disaster. He has also published extensively on the ways individuals and groups best cope with major upheavals in their lives. A former chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas, he is the receipient of multiple research and teaching awards. His research is funded, in part, by grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Templeton Foundation, and other agencies. Twitter: @jwpennebaker

Ashwini Ashokkumar is a senior graduate student in social psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. She studies how people interact in social groups and communities and how such interactions are disrupted by threatening events and upheavals. Twitter: @Ashuashok

Laura Vergani is a PhD student in clinical psychology at SEMM - European School of Molecular Medicine, curriculum FOLSATEC - Foundations of the Life Sciences, Bioethics and Cognitive Sciences, at the University of Milan. She is specializing in oncology, doctor-patient relationships, and health psychology.

Additional consultants on the project include:

  • Kate Blackburn, Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
  • Ryan Boyd, Psychology, University of Lancaster, UK
  • Sam Gosling, Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
  • Kayla Jordan, Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
  • Sashank Macharla, Information Studies, University of Texas at Austin
  • Dario Manzoni, University of Milan, Italy
  • Jason Rentfrow, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Sarah Seraj, Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
  • Miti Shah, Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
  • Mohini Tellakat, Psychology, University of Texas at Austin
  • Masao Yogo, Doshisha University, Japan

Collaborators for the multi-lingual versions include:

  • Alex Kellogg, University of Texas Austin
  • Grace Jumonville, University of Texas Austin
  • Fenne große Deters, Psychology/IS, Weizenbaum-Institute, University of Potsdam, Germany
  • Annie Haesung Jung, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Andrea Horn, Psychology, URPP "Dynamics of Health Aging", University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Alice Kathmandu, Stanford University
  • Lara Khalifeh, University of Dayton
  • Marcela Gracia Leiva, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
  • Tabea Meier, Psychology, URPP "Dynamics of Health Aging", University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Anne Milek, Psychology, University of Münster, Germany
  • Dario Monzani, University of Milan
  • Giulia Marton, Silvia Pizzoli, University of Milan
  • Lander Méndez, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
  • Fatih Ozdemir, Bursa Uludağ University
  • Lara Khalifeh, University of Dayton
  • Darío Páez, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
  • Isabel R. Pinto & Catarina L. Carvalho, from University of Porto, Portugal
  • José J. Pizarro, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU
  • Gabriella Pravettoni, University of Milan
  • Sandra Rossi, Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Elza Maria Techio, from Federal University of Bahia, Brazil
  • Nicole Petters, from Jagiellonian University, Poland
  • Paweł Strojny, from Jagiellonian University, Poland
  • Yi-Ying Chang, Taiwan Tech University, Taiwan
  • Yi-Tai Seih, Taiwan Tech University, Taiwan

Relevant papers from the Lab:

  • Pennebaker, J.W. (2011). The secret life of pronouns: What our words say about us. New York: Bloomsbury Press.
  • Pennebaker, J.W. & Smyth, J. (2016). Opening Up by Writing it Down: The Healing Power of Expressive Writing (Third edition). New York: Guilford.
  • Jordan, K.N., Sterling, J., Pennebaker, J.W., & Boyd, R.L. (2019). The language of political leaders: Long-term trends in politics and culture. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
  • Sayer, N. A., Noorbaloochi, S., Frazier, P. A., Pennebaker, J. W., Orazem, R. J., Schnurr, P. P., ... & Litz, B. T. (2015). Randomized Controlled Trial of Online Expressive Writing to Address Readjustment Difficulties Among US Afghanistan and Iraq War Veterans. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 28(5), 381-390.
  • Tausczik, Y., Faasse, K., Pennebaker, J.W., & Petrie, K.J. (2012). Public anxiety and information seeking following the H1N1 outbreak: Blogs, newspaper articles, and Wikipedia visits. Health Communication, 27, 179-185.
  • Fernandez, I., Paez, D., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2009). Comparison of expressive writing after the terrorist attacks of September 11th and March 11th. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 9, 89-103.
  • Pennebaker, J.W., Paez, D., Deschamps, J.C., Rentfrow, J., Davis, M., Techio, E.M., Slawuta, P., Zlobina, A., & Zubieta, E. (2006). The social psychology of history: Defining the most important events of the last 10, 100, and 1000 years. Psicologia Politica, 32, 15-32.
  • Cohn, M.A., Mehl, M.R., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2004). Linguistic Markers of Psychological Change Surrounding September 11, 2001. Psychological Science, 15, 687-693.
  • Gortner, E.M., & Pennebaker, J.W. (2003). The anatomy of a disaster: Media coverage and community-wide health effects of the Texas A&M Bonfire tragedy. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 22, 580-603.
  • Stone, L.D. & Pennebaker, J.W. (2002). Trauma in real time: Talking and avoiding online conversations about the death of Princess Diana. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 24, 172-182.
  • Solano, L., Zoppi, L., Barnaba, L., Fabbrizi, S., Zani, R., Murgia, F., Nicotra, M., Pennebaker, J.W., & Seagal, J.D. (2001). Health consequences of differences in emotional processing and reactivity following the 1997 earthquake in Central Italy. Psychology, Health, & Medicine, 6, 267-275.
  • Pennebaker, J.W. & Harber, K.D. (1993). A social stage model of collective coping: The Persian Gulf War and other natural disasters. Journal of Social Issues, 49, 125-145.
  • Pennebaker, J.W. & Newtson, D. (1983). Observation of a unique event: Psychological impact of Mt. St. Helens. In H. Reis (Ed.), Naturalistic approaches to studying social interaction (pp. 93-109). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

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