Karen Gasper



Associate Professor of Psychology
Preferred Pronouns: she/her/hers
518 Moore Building University Park, Pa 16802
(814) 863-1713


Ph. D., University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1999

Professional Bio

Research Interests

Karen Gasper is interested in affect and social cognition. Currently, her research examines how feelings shape people’s thoughts and actions. Her work focuses on how everyday feelings, such as boredom, neutrality, happiness, and hope alter people’s creativity, attitudes, decisions, environmental behaviors, and social interactions. She is also investigates how these states arise, how people regulate them, and how feelings shape people’s sense of subjective well-being.

Recent Publications (* indicates student author)

Gasper, K. (2023). A case for neutrality: Why neutral affect is critical for advancing affective science. Affective Science. Online, doi: 10.1007/s47261-023-00214-0

Gallegos, J. M.*, Gasper, K., Schermerhorn, N. E. C.* (2023). Bored and better: Interpersonal boredom results in people feeling not only superior to the boring individual, but also to others. Self and Identity, 22(3), 408-434, doi: 10.1080/15298868.2022.2111341

Hu, D.* & Gasper, K. (2022). Examining the link between neutral and ambivalent attitudes: Their association and their co-occurrence. Social Cognition. 40, 1-28, doi: 10.1521/soco.2022.40.1.1

Park, H. J.*, Hu, D.*, Haynes, E.* & Gasper, K. (2021). When a lack of passion intertwines with thought and action: Neutral feelings about COVID-19 are associated with U.S. presidential candidate attitudes and voting behavior. Emotion, 21, 1796-1800. doi: 10.1037/emo0001051

Geiger, N.*, Swim, J., Gasper, K., Fraser, J., & Flinner, K. (2021). How do I feel when I think about taking action? Hope and boredom, not anxiety and helplessness, predict intentions to take climate action. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 76, doi: 10.1016/j.jenvp.2021.101649.

Gasper, K., Danube, C.,* & Hu, D.* (2021). Making room for neutral affect: Evidence indicating that neutral affect is independent of and co-occurs with eight affective states. Motivation and Emotion, 45, 103-121. doi: 10.1007/s11031-020-09861-3

Gasper, K., Spencer, L. A.*, & Hu, D.* (2019). Does neutral affect exist? How challenging three beliefs about neutral affect can advance affective research. Frontiers in Psychology, Emotion Science, 10, 1- 11. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02476

Gasper, K., Spencer, L. A.*, & Middlewood, B. L.* (2019). Differentiating hope from optimism by examining self-reported appraisals and linguistic content. Journal of Positive Psychology, doi: 10.1080/17439760.2019.1590623'

Gasper, K. (2018). Utilizing neutral affective states in research: Theory, assessment, and recommendations. Emotion Review, 1-12, doi: 10.1177/1754073918765660

Karen Gasper
Karen Gasper