Eddie Harmon-Jones is professor of psychology at the University of New South Wales. He is recognized for his research on social neuroscience, cognitive dissonance, and the motivating aspects of emotions.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Harmon-Jones and his colleagues began a series of studies examining whether affective valence (positive vs. negative affect) or motivational direction (approach vs. withdrawal) best explained the relationship between properties of emotions and left vs. right prefrontal cortical activation. Prior to this work, most researchers thought the left prefrontal cortex was involved in the expression and experience of positive emotions, whereas the right prefrontal cortex was involved in the expression and experience of negative emotions. However, the past research had confounded positivity with approach motivation (and negativity with withdrawal motivation), so that all tests examined positive emotions associated with approach motivation inclinations (joy that urges one to move toward the source of the joy).
By investigating anger, a negative emotion that urges approach motivation, Harmon-Jones and colleagues were able to tease apart the valence from motivational direction views. They found that anger caused greater relative left frontal cortical activity, and thus posited that asymmetrical frontal cortical activity was due to motivational direction rather than affective valence.
Harmon-Jones' research has been covered in national news on several occasions.
Awards & Honours
- Society for Psychophysiological Research Distinguished Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychophysiology, 2002
- Fellow Association for Psychological Science (2008—present)
- Listed in the Institute for Scientific Information’s Essential Science Indicators representing the top 1% of cited scientists in Psychiatry/Psychology
- Harmon-Jones, E., & Peterson, C. K. (2009). Supine body position reduces neural response to anger evocation. Psychological Science.
- Peterson, C. K., Shackman, A. J., & Harmon-Jones, E. (2008). The role of asymmetrical frontal cortical activity in aggression. Psychophysiology, 45, 86-92. 45, 86-92.
- Gable, P. A., & Harmon-Jones, E. (2008). Approach-motivated positive affect reduces breadth of attention. Psychological Science, 19, 476-482.
- Harmon-Jones, E., & Gable, P. A. (2009). Neural activity underlying the effect of approach-motivated positive affect on narrowed attention. Psychological Science, 20, 406-409.
- Harmon-Jones, E., Abramson, L. Y., Nusslock, R., Sigelman, J. D., Urosevic, S., Turonie, L., Alloy, L. B., & Fearn, M. (2008). Effect of bipolar disorder on left frontal cortical responses to goals differing in valence and task difficulty. Biological Psychiatry, 63, 693-698.
- Harmon-Jones, E., Harmon-Jones, C., Fearn, M., Sigelman, J. D., & Johnson, P. (2008). Action orientation, relative left frontal cortical activation, and spreading of alternatives: A test of the action-based model of dissonance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 1-15.
- Harmon-Jones, E., Lueck, L., Fearn, M., & Harmon-Jones, C. (2006). The effect of personal relevance and approach-related action expectation on relative left frontal cortical activity. Psychological Science, 17, 434-440.
- Harmon-Jones, E., & Beer, J. S. (2009). Methods in social neuroscience. Guilford Publications: New York. 
- Harmon-Jones, E., & Winkielman, P. (2007). Social Neuroscience: Integrating Biological and Psychological Explanations of Social Behavior. Guilford Publications: New York. 
- Harmon-Jones, E., & Mills, J. (1999). Cognitive Dissonance: Progress on a pivotal theory in social psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. 
- Eddie Harmon-Jones' Academic Website