ABOUT BARBARA L. FREDRICKSON, PhD
Barbara L Fredrickson is Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology
and Director of the Positive
Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab (PEP Lab) at the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a leading scholar within
social psychology, affective science, and positive psychology
and the author of the new bestselling book, Love
2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think,
Do, and Become.
Born in the Midwest and raised by "a long
line of stoics" who altogether discouraged emotional expression,
Barb escaped into intellectual pursuits, and obtained her BA in
Psychology, summa cum laude, from Minnesota's Carleton College.
She earned her PhD from Stanford University and became a post-doctoral
fellow at UC Berkeley's Psychophysiology Lab.
After assuming Assistant Professorships, first
in Psychology at Duke University, and then at the University of
Michigan in both Business and Psychology, Barb moved back to North
Carolina to assume Full Professorships at the University of North
Carolina, both in the Department of Psychology and the Kenan-Flagler
School of Business.
Barb's research into positive emotions and human
flourishing has been supported by grants from multiple agencies
within the National Institutes of Health for 16 consecutive years.
Her research and teaching have been recognized with numerous honors,
including, in 2000, the inaugural American Psychological Association's
Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology--for her theory of how
positive emotions have functioned in human evolution-and in 2013,
the Inaugural International Positive Psychology Association's
Christopher Peterson Gold Medal for the scholar whose career exemplifies
the best of positive psychology at the personal, professional,
and academic levels.
She has become one of the most highly-cited psychological
scientists with over 80 peer-reviewed articles to her credit.
Her bestselling book, Positivity,
and her new book, Love
2.0, have been translated into nearly 20 languages, and
she is regularly invited to give keynotes, courses, and interviews
both nationally and internationally.
Barb's scientific contributions have influenced
scholars and practitioners worldwide, in disciplines ranging from
education to business and beyond. She serves on the Board of Governors
for the Center for Creative Leadership, is President-Elect of
the International Positive Psychology Association, and has presented
her research at White House Workshops on public policy. Her research
has been featured in the New York Times, The Times of London,
The Atlantic, The Economist, CNN, PBS, U.S. News & World Report,
USA Today, Oprah Magazine, and elsewhere.
In her PEP
Lab, Barb has investigated the effects of loving-kindness
meditation (self-generated tenderness, warmth, and compassion
for others) on vagal tone, a physiologic measure of emotional
regulation which has been associated with adaptability, social
connection and bonding if high, and risk of inflammation, cardiovascular
disease, and stroke if low.
Findings suggest that people who were able to increase
their vagal tone through meditation totaling about an hour a week
were capable of experiencing more micro-moments of love in their
days--a growing capacity to love. Focusing on increasing this
kind of positive emotion can, in turn, contribute to an upward
spiral of better coping responses to stress, improved health,
and an ever increasing sense of connection to others. In May 2010,
Barb had the honor of being invited to personally brief His Holiness
the Dalai Lama on these research findings.
Barb lives in Carrboro, North Carolina with her
husband, two sons and two cats, from whom she continues to learn