Kateri McRae

Kateri McRae

Associate Professor

What I do

My goal is to foster student curiosity, passion and excitement by introducing the ways the scientific method can be applied to understand seemingly intangible phenomena, like human emotion.


emotion and cognition interactions, emotion regulation, neuroscience, neuroimaging, affective science

Professional Biography

I study the relationship between emotion and cognition, with a particular focus on how different cognitive processes can impact emotion. I am interested in what causes emotions (at sensory, perceptual, cognitive and social levels).

In addition, I am interested in how attention, thought and memory change and are changed by emotion. Specifically, I examine processes that are characterized by emotion-cognition interactions, such as emotion regulation, the cognitive generation of emotion and emotional awareness.

I teach graduate seminars in affective neuroscience and fMRI methods, and undergraduate courses such as a first-year seminar called, "Exploring Psychology Through Theater" and a service-learning seminar course for junior and senior psychology students called, "Emotion Regulation." I am devoted to teaching, advising, and mentoring all students, with a particular focus on first-generation and students from minoritized groups.

I am currently the curriculum coordinator and head of the Affective, Social and Cognitive (ASC) area for the Department of Psychology and serve as an associate editor for the APA journal Emotion.


  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Arizona, 2007
  • MA, Psychology, University of Arizona, 2004
  • BA, Human Biology and Drama, Stanford University, 2002

Professional Affiliations

  • Social and Affective Neuroscience Society


I use an interdisciplinary, multi-measure approach to characterize emotional responding and cognitive processing. In experimental contexts, I measure self-reported emotional experience, peripheral physiological responses and whole-brain signals obtained from neuroimaging techniques (PET and fMRI). I supplement these experimental approaches with correlational studies using self-report measures to characterize emotion-related personality variables and executive functioning tasks to evaluate cognitive skills.

I direct the laboratory for the study of automaticity, affect, control and thought (the AACT lab).

Areas of Research

emotion and cognition interactions
emotion regulation
affective science

Key Projects

  • CAREER: The Effects of Process Facilitation on Emotion Regulation
  • Investigating the neural systems that support the beneficial effects of positive emotion on stress regulation.
  • Reproducibility Project: Psychology
  • Using Positive Reappraisal to COunter Negative Emotion: Its Neural Mechanisms and Role in Resilience


McRae, K., & Penner, A. C. (2018). The Actor's Mind.


  • Faculty Adviser of the Year, Academic Advising
  • Paper of the Year, Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Preregistration Challenge Prize, Center for Open Science

Graduate Mentorship

Dr. McRae will be reviewing applications for fall 2022 admission.