UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution & Culture
I apply an evolutionary perspective to topics at the intersection of threat-detection, emotion, and morality.
My doctoral thesis explored the influence of unconsciously perceived threats on intergroup bias in Tibet, Northern Ireland, and the United States.
Current studies focus on representations of threat via conceptual metaphors of bodily size and strength, and on
the role of positive emotions (e.g., love, elevation) in threat-assessment, personal sacrifice, and defensive aggression.
In recent projects, I have also examined the psychobiology of parental precautions against potential threats to children, rationales people use to justify
inflicting harm, and folk concepts of intentionality in contexts of immoral harm.
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., Tiokhin, L., Holbrook, C., & Snyder, J. K. (in press). Foundations of the "Crazy Bastard" Hypothesis:
Nonviolent physical risk-taking enhances conceptualized formidability. Evolution and Human Behavior.
Holbrook, C., Piazza, J., & Fessler, D.M.T. (in press). Further challenges to the "Authentic" /
"Hubristic" model of pride: Conceptual clarifications and new evidence. Emotion.
Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., Pollack, J., & Hahn-Holbrook, J. (in press). Stranger danger: Parenthood and child presence
increase the envisioned bodily formidability of menacing men. Evolution and Human Behavior.
Jonas, E., McGregor, I., Klackl, J., Agroskin, D., Fritsche, I., Holbrook, C., Nash, K., Proulx, T., & Quirin, M.
(in press). Threat and defense: From anxiety to approach. In J. M. Olson & M. P. Zanna (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
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., Piazza, J., & Fessler, D.M.T. (2013). Conceptual and empirical challenges to the 'Authentic' versus 'Hubristic' model of pride. Emotion.
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.
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., Hahn-Holbrook, J., & Holt-Lunstad, J. (under review). Self-reported spirituality
correlates with endogenous oxytocin.
Holbrook, C., Hahn-Holbrook, J., & Holt-Lunstad, J. (in preparation). Endogenous
oxytocin enhances emotional face detection during dyadic conflict.
Holbrook, C., Fessler, D.M.T., & Navarrete, C. (in preparation). Racial stereotypes of physical formidability mediate perceived aggressiveness.
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.
Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., & Dashoff, D.A. (in preparation). In the face of the enemy: Objective commitment increases the envisioned bodily formidability of an opponent.
A few images from my research in Tibet: