Associate Professor Lisa Anne Williams
Associate Professor

Associate Professor Lisa Anne Williams

School of Psychology



I am a social psychologist whose research explores how emotions shape and are shaped by social processes. Specifically, my research focuses on the adaptive functions of positive social emotions such as pride and gratitude. This program of research covers intrapersonal (within person), interpersonal (between individuals), and intergroup (between groups) processes.


  • Ph.D. Social Psychology, Northeastern University, 2009
  • M.A. Social Psychology, Northeastern University, 2006
  • B.A. Psychology, Lewis and Clark College, 2004


Research Goals

  • To apply functional approaches to the empirical study of emotional experience
  • To identify how discrete positive emotional experience influences wellbeing, prosocial behaviour, and interpersonal accord
  • To understand the process via which socio-affective experience supports social interactions.

Research in Detail

The goal of my research is to uncover, via empirical methods, the nature of socio-affective experience and the myriad ways that such experience shapes and is shaped by social interactions. Specifically, I consider how emotions that appear to have functions that are adaptive for social interactions (e.g., pride, gratitude, compassion) shape behaviour. I also engage in research that applies the principles of affective science into applied domains, including the motivation that underlies blood donation. To achieve these goals, I employ a variety of methods, including interpersonal emotion inductions, experience sampling procedures, and psychophysiology. I collaborate extensively with colleagues at UNSW, at other Australian universities, and around the world.

Research Grants

  • ARC Linkage Project (LP140100034) 2014-2016: The emotional psychology of blood donors: understanding and using the affective key to donor return
  • ARC Discovery Project (DP103102110) 2013-2015: To be or not to be proud: Identifying the functionality of pride in intergroup settings
  • ARC Discovery Project (DP130104468) 2013-2015: Emotional responses to comparisons in romantic relationships: Implications for relationship wellbeing

Supervision Opportunities/Areas

I am open to supervising new postgraduate and/or Honours students in the areas listed above as well as other, related topics. Interested students should contact me via email to discuss these options.


Courses I teach

PSYC3121: Social Psychology
PSYC1001: Psychology 1A

Professional affiliations and service positions

I am Associate Editor at the journal Emotion. I engage in ad hoc reviewing for 16 other journals across the field of psychology and other related disciplines. I am a frequent contributor to The Conversation. I am a member of the Self-Assessment Team for the UNSW SAGE Athena Swan Pilot. I am an active member of the Society for Affective Science and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.



2017 UNSW Faculty of Science June Griffith Fellowship for Women in Leadership
2014 Australian Psychological Society UNSW Lecturer of the Year

02 9385 1643
School of Psychology University of New South Wales Sydney NSW 2052 Mathews Building Room 1302A


  • Book Chapters | 2021
    Bliss-Moreau E; Williams LA; Karaskiewicz CL, 2021, 'Evolution of Emotion in Social Context', in Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, Springer International Publishing, pp. 2487 - 2499,
    Book Chapters | 2018
    Williams LA, 2018, 'Emotions of Excellence: Communal and Agentic Functions of Pride, Moral Elevation, and Admiration', in Lench H (ed.), The Function of Emotions When and Why Emotions Help Us, Springer, pp. 235 - 252,
    Book Chapters | 2018
    Bliss-Moreau E; Williams LA; Karaskiewicz CL, 2018, 'Evolution of Emotion in Social Context', in Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, Springer International Publishing, pp. 1 - 13,
    Book Chapters | 2018
    Bliss-Moreau E; Williams L; Karaskiewicz C, 2018, 'Evolution of Emotion in Social Context', in Shackelford TK; Weekes-Shackelford VA (ed.), Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science, Springer, Cham,
    Book Chapters | 2017
    Williams LA; Davies J, 2017, 'Beyond the self: Pride felt in relation to others', in Carter JA; Gordon EC (ed.), The moral psychology of pride, edn. Moral Psychology of the Emotions, Rowman & Littlefield International, London, pp. 43 - 68,
    Book Chapters | 2015
    Williams LA; Barrett-Cheetham E, 2015, 'Social psychological perspectives on compassion', in On compassion, Createspace Publishers
    Book Chapters | 2014
    Williams LA; DeSteno D, 2014, 'How Positive Social Emotions Motivate Actions for the Future Self', in Positive Emotion, Oxford University Press, pp. 206 - 224,
    Book Chapters | 2014
    Williams LA; DeSteno D, 2014, 'Building bonds, attaining ambitions, and establishing esteem: How positive emotions serve intrapersonal needs', in Gruber J; Moskowitz JT (ed.), Positive emotion: Integrating the light sides and dark sides, Oxford University Press, New York, pp. 206 - 224,
  • Journal articles | 2021
    Gruber J; Mendle J; Lindquist KA; Schmader T; Clark LA; Bliss-Moreau E; Akinola M; Atlas L; Barch DM; Barrett LF; Borelli JL; Brannon TN; Bunge SA; Campos B; Cantlon J; Carter R; Carter-Sowell AR; Chen S; Craske MG; Cuddy AJC; Crum A; Davachi L; Duckworth AL; Dutra SJ; Eisenberger NI; Ferguson M; Ford BQ; Fredrickson BL; Goodman SH; Gopnik A; Greenaway VP; Harkness KL; Hebl M; Heller W; Hooley J; Jampol L; Johnson SL; Joormann J; Kinzler KD; Kober H; Kring AM; Paluck EL; Lombrozo T; Lourenco SF; McRae K; Monin JK; Moskowitz JT; Natsuaki MN; Oettingen G; Pfeifer JH; Prause N; Saxbe D; Smith PK; Spellman BA; Sturm V; Teachman BA; Thompson RJ; Weinstock LM; Williams LA, 2021, 'The Future of Women in Psychological Science', Perspectives on Psychological Science, vol. 16, pp. 483 - 516,
    Journal articles | 2021
    Marey T; Baker S; Williams LA; Tzelios K, 2021, 'Equity and STEM in elite contexts: challenging institutional assumptions and critiquing student support', International Journal of Inclusive Education,
    Journal articles | 2021
    van Dongen A; Williams LA; Masser BM; Briggs N; Thijsen A; Davison TE, 2021, 'The Impact of Temporal Trajectories of Emotional Experience on Blood Donor Return', Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 55, pp. 686 - 692,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Masser B; Ferguson E; Merz EM; Williams L, 2020, 'Beyond Description: The Predictive Role of Affect, Memory, and Context in the Decision to Donate or Not Donate Blood', Transfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy, vol. 47, pp. 175 - 185,
    Journal articles | 2020
    France CR; France JL; Himawan LK; Jeitani A; Williams LA, 2020, 'Emotional mechanisms and format effects of motivational questions for blood donation', Transfusion, vol. 60, pp. 1998 - 2009,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Williams LA; Brosnan SF; Clay Z, 2020, 'Anthropomorphism in comparative affective science: Advocating a mindful approach', Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, vol. 115, pp. 299 - 307,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Tzelios K; Williams LA, 2020, 'Supplemental Material for The psychological impact of digital signatures: A multistudy replication.', Technology, Mind, and Behavior, vol. 1,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Tzelios K; Williams LA, 2020, 'The psychological impact of digital signatures: A multistudy replication.', Technology, Mind, and Behavior, vol. 1,
    Journal articles | 2020
    Bliss-Moreau E; Williams LA; Santistevan AC, 2020, 'The immutability of valence and arousal in the foundation of emotion', Emotion, vol. 20, pp. 993 - 1004,
    Journal articles | 2018
    Greenaway KH; Kalokerinos EK; Williams LA, 2018, 'Context is Everything (in Emotion Research)', Social and Personality Psychology Compass, vol. 12,
    Journal articles | 2019
    Williams L; Sun J; Masser B, 2019, 'Integrating self‐determination theory and the theory of planned behaviour to predict intention to donate blood', Transfusion Medicine, vol. 29, pp. 59 - 64,
    Journal articles | 2018
    Klein RA; Vianello M; Hasselman F; Adams BG; Adams RB; Alper S; Aveyard M; Axt JR; Babalola MT; Bahník Š; Batra R; Berkics M; Bernstein MJ; Berry DR; Bialobrzeska O; Binan ED; Bocian K; Brandt MJ; Busching R; Rédei AC; Cai H; Cambier F; Cantarero K; Carmichael CL; Ceric F; Chandler J; Chang JH; Chatard A; Chen EE; Cheong W; Cicero DC; Coen S; Coleman JA; Collisson B; Conway MA; Corker KS; Curran PG; Cushman F; Dagona ZK; Dalgar I; Dalla Rosa A; Davis WE; de Bruijn M; De Schutter L; Devos T; de Vries M; Doğulu C; Dozo N; Dukes KN; Dunham Y; Durrheim K; Ebersole CR; Edlund JE; Eller A; English AS; Finck C; Frankowska N; Freyre MÁ; Friedman M; Galliani EM; Gandi JC; Ghoshal T; Giessner SR; Gill T; Gnambs T; Gómez Á; González R; Graham J; Grahe JE; Grahek I; Green EGT; Hai K; Haigh M; Haines EL; Hall MP; Heffernan ME; Hicks JA; Houdek P; Huntsinger JR; Huynh HP; Ijzerman H; Inbar Y; Innes-Ker ÅH; Jiménez-Leal W; John MS; Joy-Gaba JA; Kamiloğlu RG; Kappes HB; Karabati S; Karick H; Keller VN; Kende A; Kervyn N; Knežević G; Kovacs C; Krueger LE; Kurapov G; Kurtz J; Lakens D; Lazarević LB, 2018, 'Many labs 2: Investigating variation in replicability across samples and settings', Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, vol. 1, pp. 443 - 490,
    Journal articles | 2018
    Garg N; Williams LA; Lerner J, 2018, 'The Misery-Is-Not-Miserly Effect Revisited: Replication Despite Opportunities for Compensatory Consumption', PLoS ONE, vol. 13, pp. e0199433,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Williams LA; Masser B; Van Dongen A; Thijsen A; Davison T, 2017, 'The emotional psychology of blood donors: a time-course approach', ISBT Science Series,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Crone DL; Williams LA, 2017, 'Crowdsourcing participants for psychological research in Australia: A test of Microworkers', Australian Journal of Psychology, vol. 69, pp. 39 - 47,
    Journal articles | 2017
    Williams LA; Schofield TP; Whitford TJ, 2017, 'Romantic red: Testing the characteristics of color–attraction effects in a novel paradigm', Collabra: Psychology, vol. 3,
    Journal articles | 2016
    Barrett-Cheetham E; Williams LA; Bednall TC, 2016, 'A differentiated approach to the link between positive emotion, motivation, and eudaimonic well-being', Journal of Positive Psychology, vol. 11, pp. 595 - 608,
    Journal articles | 2016
    Williams LA; Bliss-Moreau E, 2016, 'Humans are ultrasocial and emotional', The Behavioral and brain sciences, vol. 39, pp. e117,
    Journal articles | 2015
    Williams LA; Masser B; Sun J, 2015, 'Revisiting the effect of anthropomorphizing a social cause campaign', PLoS ONE, vol. 10, pp. e0138886,
    Journal articles | 2015
    Gooley SL; Zadro L; Williams LA; Svetieva E; Gonsalkorale K, 2015, 'Ostracizing for a Reason: A Novel Source Paradigm for Examining the Nature and Consequences of Motivated Ostracism', Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 155, pp. 410 - 431,
    Journal articles | 2014
    Williams LA; Bartlett MY, 2014, 'Warm Thanks: Gratitude Expression Facilitates Social Affiliation in New Relationships via Perceived Warmth.', Emotion, vol. 15, pp. 1 - 5,
    Journal articles | 2014
    Masser B; Smith G; Williams LA, 2014, 'Donor Research in Australia: Challenges and Promise', Transfusion Medicine and Hemotherapy, vol. 41, pp. 296 - 301,
    Journal articles | 2014
    Bliss-Moreau E; Williams LA, 2014, 'Tag, you're it: Affect tagging promotes goal formation and selection', Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol. 37, pp. 138 - 139,
    Journal articles | 2010
    Desteno D; Bartlett M; Baumann J; Williams L; Dickens L, 2010, 'Gratitude as moral sentiment: Emotion-guided cooperation in economic exchange', Emotion, vol. 10, pp. 289 - 293,
    Journal articles | 2010
    Williams L; Desteno D, 2010, 'Pride in parsimony', Emotion Review, vol. 2, pp. 180 - 181,
    Journal articles | 2009
    Williams L; Desteno D, 2009, 'Pride: adaptive social emotion or seventh sin?', Psychological Science, vol. 20, pp. 284 - 288,
    Journal articles | 2009
    Dasgupta N; Desteno D; Williams L; Hunsinger M, 2009, 'Fanning the Flames of Prejudice: The Influence of Specific Incidental Emotions on Implicit Prejudice', Emotion, vol. 9, pp. 585 - 591,
    Journal articles | 2008
    Williams L; Desteno D, 2008, 'Pride and Perseverance: The Motivational Role of Pride', Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 94, pp. 1007 - 1017,
    Journal articles | 2021
    Williams LA, 2021, 'From human wellbeing to animal welfare', Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, vol. 131, pp. 941 - 952,