One line of my research lies within the interdisciplinary field of emotion science, drawing on theory and methods from social and personality psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science. Topics of interest include dispositional happiness, the nature and function of positive emotions, time perception, mindfulness, affective responses to social ambiguity, and the role of technology in social interaction and well-being.

A more recent line of inquiry focuses on pedagogical best practices and evidence-based teaching methods. I have studied the role of collaboration in learning, with particular interest in collaboration during assessment. Our work has found that students who take exams or quizzes in small groups tend to learn more, perform better, and experience a more positive testing environment.

I’m always interested in working with perceptive, curious, and motivated students. Feel free to get in touch if you’d like to investigate any of these questions together.


Selected publications / presentations

Emotion research

  • Kirkland, T., Gruber, J., & Cunningham, W. A. (2015). Comparing happiness and hypomania risk: A study of extraversion and neuroticism aspects. Public Library of Science ONE, 10, e0132438. [pdf]
  • Cunningham, W. A., & Kirkland, T. (2014). The joyful, yet balanced, amygdala: Moderated responses to positive but not negative stimuli in trait happiness. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 9, 760-766. [pdf]
  • Kirkland, T., & Cunningham, W. A. (2012). Mapping emotions through time: How affective trajectories inform the language of emotion. Emotion, 12, 268-282. [pdf]
  • Cunningham, W. A., & Kirkland, T. (2012). Emotion, cognition, and the classical elements of mind. Emotion Review, 4, 369-370[pdf]
  • Kirkland, T., & Cunningham, W. A. (2011). Neural basis of affect and emotion. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Sciences, 2, 656-665. [pdf]

Pedagogical research 

  • Kirkland, T., & Karkhanis, D. G. (2017/01). Want your students to learn more? Test them in groups! Noba Project. [link]
  • Karkhanis, D. G., & Kirkland Turowski, T. (2015/05). Group exams improve student learning. Psychology Teacher Network, 25, 8-10. [pdf]
  • Kirkland Turowski, T. & Karkhanis, D. G. (2014/10). Group exams improve student learning. Poster presented to the Society for the Teaching of Psychology at Annual Conference on Teaching. Recipient of Early Career Psychologist Committee Outstanding Poster Award. [pdf]