Haas Scholars

Gregg Sparkman

Fostering Pro-social Behavior: Emotional, Non-verbal, Vocal Cues and the Vagus Nerve

While navigating the world, we must discover if either we need to prioritize ourselves first, as others will, so that we may succeed, or if people will be there for us so that we may likewise be able to support others. Gregg’s project will explore this decisive process by focusing on whether pro-social vocal bursts, like a compassionate ‘aww,’ will lead individuals to behave more pro-socially in socio-economic games. The study asks if emotional, non-word cues observed in the general social environment will cause similar cooperative (or competitive) behaviors and a physiological change accompanying this disposition. The impact of something smaller than a word on socio-economic behavior could illuminate the significance and spectrum of conveyed emotions, contributing to and bridging the growing literature on pro-social emotions, physiology, and behavior.

  • Major: Psychology/Anthropology
  • Mentor: Dacher Keltner, Psychology