UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution, & Culture
I study the psychology of threat, with particular emphasis on the pathways by which
threat-perception influences prejudice and aggression. Current studies focus on i) the neural mechanisms by
which threat intensifies ethnocentrism, and ii) the cognitive representation of threat via conceptual metaphors of bodily size
and muscularity. In related work, I examine factors that lead people to morally justify inflicting harm and the role of
positive emotions (e.g., parental love) in defensive aggression.
Holbrook, C., Galperin, A., Fessler, D.M.T., Johnson, K., Bryant, G., & Haselton, M. (in press). If
looks could kill: Anger judgments are intensified by affordances for doing harm. Emotion.
Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., & Gervais, M. (in press). Men's physical
strength moderates conceptualizations of prospective foes in two disparate human societies. Human Nature.
Holbrook, C., & Fessler, D.M.T. (forthcoming). The same, only different: Threat management systems
as homologues in the tree of life. In A. L. Wichman, P. J. Carroll, & R. M. Arkin (Eds.), Handbook
of psychological security. New York: Psychology Press.
Fessler, D.M.T., Tiokhin, L., Holbrook, C., Gervais, M., & Snyder, J.K. (2014). Foundations of the "Crazy Bastard" Hypothesis:
Nonviolent physical risk-taking enhances conceptualized formidability. Evolution and Human Behavior, 35, 26-33.
Holbrook, C., Piazza, J., & Fessler, D.M.T. (2014). Further challenges to the "Authentic" /
"Hubristic" model of pride: Conceptual clarifications and new evidence. Emotion, 14, 38-42.
Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., Pollack, J., & Hahn-Holbrook, J. (2014). Stranger danger: Parenthood and child presence
increase the envisioned bodily formidability of menacing men. Evolution and Human Behavior, 35, 109-117.
Jonas, E., McGregor, I., Klackl, J., Agroskin, D., Fritsche, I., Holbrook, C., Nash, K., Proulx, T., & Quirin, M.
(2014). Threat and defense: From anxiety to approach. In J. M. Olson & M. P. Zanna (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (pp. 219 - 286). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Holbrook, C., Piazza, J., & Fessler, D.M.T. (2014). Conceptual and empirical challenges to the 'Authentic' versus 'Hubristic' model of pride. Emotion, 14, 17-32.
Fessler, D.M.T., & Holbrook, C. (2013). Bound to lose: Physical incapacitation increases
the conceptualized size of an antagonist in men. PLOS-ONE.
Piazza, J., Sousa, P., & Holbrook, C. (2013). Authority dependence and judgments of utilitarian harm. Cognition, 128, 261-270.
Holbrook, C., & Sousa, P. (2013). Supernatural beliefs, unconscious threat, and judgment bias in Tibetan Buddhists. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 13, 33-56.
Fessler, D.M.T., & Holbrook, C. (2013). Friends shrink foes: The presence of comrades decreases the envisioned physical formidability of an opponent. Psychological Science, 24, 797-802.
Holbrook, C., & Fessler, D.M.T. (2013). Sizing up the threat: The envisioned physical formidability of terrorists tracks their leaders' failures and successes. Cognition, 127, 46-56.
Holbrook, C., Fessler, D.M.T., & Gervais, M. (2013). Revenge without redundancy:
Functional outcomes do not require discrete adaptations for vengeance or forgiveness [Commentary].
Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36, 22-23.
Fessler, D.M.T., & Holbrook, C. (2013). Baumard et al.'s moral markets lack market dynamics [Commentary].
Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36, 89-90.
Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., & Snyder, J.K. (2012). Weapons make the man
(larger): Relative formidability influences perceived size and strength. PLOS-ONE.
Holbrook, C., Sousa, P., & Hahn-Holbrook, J. (2011). Unconscious vigilance:
Worldview defense without adaptations for terror, coalition or uncertainty management. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 451-466.
Hahn-Holbrook, J., Holt-Lunstad, J., Holbrook, C., Coyne, S., & Lawson, E. T. (2011).
Maternal defense: Breastfeeding increases aggression by decreasing stress. Psychological Science, 22, 1288-1295.
Hahn-Holbrook, J.*, Holbrook, C.*, & Haselton, M. (2011). Parental precaution: Adaptive
ends and neurobiological means. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 35, 1052-1066.
(*equal authorship.) PDF
Sousa, P., & Holbrook, C. (2010). Folk concepts of intentional action in the contexts
of amoral and immoral luck. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 1, 351-370.
Hahn-Holbrook, J., Holbrook, C., & Bering, J. (2010). Snakes, spiders, strangers:
How the evolved fear of strangers may misdirect efforts to protect children from
harm. In J. M. Lampinen & K. Sexton-Radek (Eds.) Protecting children from violence:
Evidence-based interventions. New York: Psychology Press.
Sousa, P., Holbrook, C., & Piazza, J. (2009). The morality of harm. Cognition, 113, 80-92.
Holbrook, C., Hahn-Holbrook, J., & Holt-Lunstad, J. (revise and resubmit). Self-reported spirituality
correlates with endogenous oxytocin. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.
Fessler, D.M.T., & Holbrook, C. (revise and resubmit). A cold wildfire: Declination and the spread of
antisocial behavior. Evolution and Human Behavior.
Holbrook, C., Izuma, K., Deblieck, C., Iacoboni, M., & Fessler, D. M .T. (under review). Neuromodulation
of group prejudice and religious belief. Psychological Science.
Holbrook, C., Fessler, D.M.T., & Navarrete, C. (under review). Stature or danger? Racial stereotypes
influence the conceptual links between threat, social status, and physical size. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., & Dashoff, D.A. (submitted). Dressed to kill? Visible markers of coalitional affiliation enhance conceptualized formidability.
Fessler, D.M.T., & Holbrook, C. (submitted). Marching into battle: Synchronous walking diminishes the conceptualized formidability of a foe.
Fessler, D.M.T., Barrett, H.C., Kanovsky, M., Stich, S., Holbrook, C., Henrich, J., Bolyanatz, A.H., Gervais,
M., Gurven, M., Kushnick, G., Pisor, A.C., von Reuden, C., & Laurence, S. (submitted). Moral
parochialism and contextual contingency across seven disparate societies.
Holbrook, C., Hahn-Holbrook, J., & Holt-Lunstad, J. (in preparation). Endogenous
oxytocin enhances emotional face detection during dyadic conflict.
Holbrook, C., Rosch, E., & Hahn-Holbrook, J. (in preparation). Known unknowns: Inductive reasoning under conscious ignorance.
Holbrook, C., Fessler, D.M.T., & Pollack, J. (in preparation). With God on your side: Religious
primes reduce the envisioned formidability of a prospective adversary.
A few images from my research in Tibet: