Colin Holbrook

Assistant Professor of Cognitive and Information Sciences
University of California, Merced

I research decision-making under contexts of threat, with particular focus on political orientation, group prejudice, and the representation of mental states.


Holbrook, C.,* Pollack, J.,* Zerbe, J.G., & Hahn-Holbrook, J. (in press). Perceived supernatural support enhances battle confidence: A knife combat field study. Religion, Brain & Behavior. PDF
(“*”equal authorship.)

Holbrook, C., Gordon, C.G., & Iacoboni, M. (forthcoming). Continuous theta burst stimulation of posterior medial frontal cortex to experimentally reduce ideological threat responses. Journal of Visualized Experiments.

Pollack, J.,* Holbrook, C.,* Fessler, D.M.T., Sparks, A. M., & Zerbe, J.G. (in press). May God guide our guns: Visualized supernatural aid heightens team confidence in a paintball battle simulation. Human Nature. PDF
(“*”equal authorship.)

Holbrook, C., López-Rodríguez, L., Gómez, Á. (in press). Battle of wits: Militaristic conservatism and warfare cues enhance the perceived intellect of allies versus adversaries. Social Psychological and Personality Science. PDF

Holbrook, C. (in press). Cues of violent intergroup conflict diminish perceptions of robotic personhood. Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems. PDF

Holbrook, C. (forthcoming). Adaptation, co-optation, variation: Emotions in evolutionary context. In A. Scarantino, (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Emotion Theory. New York: Taylor & Francis. PDF

Hahn-Holbrook, J., & Holbrook, C. (forthcoming). The social neuroendocrinology of pregnancy and breastfeeding in mothers (and others). In P. Mehta and O. Schultheiss, (Eds.), International Handbook of Social Neuroendocrinology. New York: Routledge Press.

Sparks, A., Fessler, D.M.T., Chan, K.Q., Ashokkumar, A., & Holbrook, C. (in press). Disgust as a mechanism for decision making under risk: Illuminating sex differences and individual risk-taking correlates of disgust propensity. Emotion. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T., Pisor, A.C., & Holbrook, C. (2017). Political orientation predicts credulity regarding putative hazards. Psychological Science, 28(5), 651-660. PDF

Holbrook, C., López-Rodríguez, L., Fessler, D.M.T., Vázquez, A., Gómez. A. (2017). Gulliver’s politics: Conservatives envision potential enemies as readily vanquished and physically small. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8, 670-678. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T. & Holbrook, C. (2016). Synchronized behavior increases assessments of the formidability and cohesion of coalitions. Evolution and Human Behavior, 6, 502-509. PDF

Holbrook, C., Izuma, K., Deblieck, C., Fessler, D.M.T., & Iacoboni, M. (2016). Neuromodulation of group prejudice and religious belief. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 11, 387-394. PDF

Holbrook, C. (2016). Branches of a twisting tree: Domain-specific threat psychologies derive from shared mechanisms. Current Opinion in Psychology, 7, 81-86. PDF

Holbrook, C., Fessler, D.M.T., & Navarrete, C. (2016). Looming large in others’ eyes: Racial stereotypes illuminate dual adaptations for representing threat versus prestige as physical size. Evolution and Human Behavior, 37, 67-78. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., Kanovsky, M., Barrett, H.C., Bolyanatz, A.H., Gervais, M., Gurven, M., Henrich, J., Kushnick, G., Pisor, A.C., Stich, S., von Reuden, C., & Laurence, S. (2016). Moral parochialism misunderstood: A reply to Piazza and Sousa. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. PDF
* Note that this reply also contains extensive additional analyses.

Holbrook, C., Fessler, D.M.T., & Pollack, J. (2016). With God on your side: Religious primes reduce the envisioned physical formidability of a menacing adversary. Cognition, 146, 387-392. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., & Dashoff, D. (2016). Dressed to kill? Visible markers of coalitional affiliation enhance conceptualized formidability. Aggressive Behavior, 42, 299-309. PDF

Sousa, P., Holbrook, C., & Swiney, L. (2015). Moral asymmetries in judgments of agency withstand ludicrous causal deviance. Frontiers in Psychology. PDF

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. (2015). Moral parochialism and contextual contingency across seven disparate societies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 282, 20150907. PDF

Holbrook, C., & Fessler, D.M.T. (2015). The same, only different: Threat management systems as homologues in the tree of life. In Handbook of Personal Security, P. J. Carroll, R. M. Arkin, and A. L. Wichman, eds., pp. 95-109. New York: Psychology Press. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., & Fleischman, D.S. (2015). Assets at risk: Menstrual cycle variation in the envisioned formidability of a potential sexual assailant reveals a component of threat assessment. Adaptive Human Behavior & Physiology, 1, 270-290. PDF

Holbrook, C., Hahn-Holbrook, J., & Holt-Lunstad, J. (2015). Self-reported spirituality correlates with endogenous oxytocin. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 7, 46-50. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T., & Holbrook, C. (2014). Marching into battle: Synchronized walking diminishes the conceptualized formidability of an antagonist in men. Biology Letters. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., Tiohkin, L., & Snyder, J.K. (2014). Sizing up Helen: Nonviolent physical risk-taking enhances the envisioned bodily formidability of women. Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 12, 67-80. PDF

Holbrook, C., Galperin, A., Fessler, D.M.T., Johnson, K., Bryant, G., & Haselton, M. (2014). If looks could kill: Anger judgments are intensified by affordances for doing harm. Emotion, 14, 455-461. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., & Gervais, M. (2014). Men's physical strength moderates conceptualizations of prospective foes in two disparate human societies. Human Nature, 25, 393-409. PDF

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. PDF

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. PDF

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. PDF

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. PDF

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. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T., & Holbrook, C. (2013). Bound to lose: Physical incapacitation increases the conceptualized size of an antagonist in men. PLOS-ONE. PDF

Piazza, J., Sousa, P., & Holbrook, C. (2013). Authority dependence and judgments of utilitarian harm. Cognition, 128, 261-270. PDF

Holbrook, C., & Sousa, P. (2013). Supernatural beliefs, unconscious threat, and judgment bias in Tibetan Buddhists. Journal of Cognition and Culture, 13, 33-56. PDF

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. PDF

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. PDF

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. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T., & Holbrook, C. (2013). Baumard et al.'s moral markets lack market dynamics [Commentary]. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36, 89-90. PDF

Fessler, D.M.T., Holbrook, C., & Snyder, J.K. (2012). Weapons make the man (larger): Relative formidability influences perceived size and strength. PLOS-ONE. PDF

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. PDF

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. PDF

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. PDF

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. PDF

Sousa, P., Holbrook, C., & Piazza, J. (2009). The morality of harm. Cognition, 113, 80-92. PDF

A few images from Tibet: