James A.
James Coan
Professor of Psychology | Co-Director, College Fellows Program

240M Gilmer Hall

I am an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology and Director of the Virginia Affective Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Virginia. My recent work emphasizes the neural systems supporting social forms of emotion regulation. In 2010, I received the inaugural Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science, and the Early Career Award from the Society for Psychophysiological Research.

Books & Manuals

  • Coan, J. A. & Allen, J. J. B. (2007). The Handbook of Emotion Elicitation and Assessment. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. (Edited Volume).
  • Gottman, J., McCoy, K., Coan, J., & Collier, H. (1995). The Specific Affect Coding System (SPAFF) for Observing Emotional Communication in Marital and Family Interaction. Mahway, NJ: Erlbaum.


  • Coan, J.A., Beckes, L., & Allen, J.P. (under review). Childhood Maternal Support and Neighborhood Quality Moderate the Social Regulation of Neural Threat Responding in Adulthood.
  • Beckes, L. & Coan, J. A. (invited, in preparation). Relationship neuroscience. Chapter to appear in J. Simpson and J. Dovidio (Eds.) APA Handbook of Personality and Social Psychology, Volume 2: Interpersonal Relationships and Group Processes. Washington, DC, APA Press.
  • Mikhail, M., El-Ayat, K., Allen, J.J.B., & Coan, J.A. (in press). Using minimal number of electrodes for emotion detection using brain signals produced from a new elicitation technique. International Journal of Autonomous and Adaptive Communications Systems.
  • Beckes, L. & Coan, J. A. (in press). The neuroscience of social relationships. Chapter to appear in J.Simpson and L.Campbell (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Close Relationships. New York, Oxford University Press.
  • Sherman, G.D., Haidt, J., Iyer, R., & Coan, J.A. (in press). Individual differences in the physical embodiment of care: Prosocially oriented women respond to cuteness by becoming more physically careful. Emotion
  • Zhang, T., Li, F., Beckes, L., Brown, C., & Coan, J.A. (in press). Nonparametric inference of the hemodynamic response using multi-subject fMRI data. Neuroimage.
  • Beckes, L., Coan, J.A. & Hasselmo, K. (in press). Familiarity promotes the blurring of self and other in the neural representation of threat. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
  • Hughes, A. E., Crowell, S. E., Uyegi, L., & Coan, J. A. (2012). A developmental neuroscience of borderline pathology: Emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, and social baseline theory. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40, 21-33.
  • Beckes, L. & Coan, J. A. (2012). Social baseline theory and the social regulation of emotion. In L. Campbell, J. La Guardia, J. M. Olson and M. P Zanna (Eds.) The Science of the Couple (pp. 79-91). Philadelphia, Psychology Press.
  • Hasselmo, K., Coan, J. A, & Beckes, L. (2012). Die »Social Baseline«-Theorie und die soziale Regulierung von Emotionen. In K. H. Brisch (Ed.) Bindungen ? Paare, Sexualität und Kinder (pp. 22-35). Germany, Klett-Cotta.