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Dr Aleksandr Spectre

Dr Aleksandr Spectre

Research Associate

Office Phone: Office Phone: +44 (0)1223 (7)62325


Dr. Aleksandr Spectre received his undergraduate training at the University of California, Berkeley, and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Hong Kong. He was then a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto before joining the department at Cambridge. Dr. Spectre works closely with researchers around the world, including at UC Berkeley, University of Toronto, University of Denver, Yale University, Harvard University, Oxford University, UC: San Diego, UC: Santa Barbara, York University, and The University of Hong Kong.

Research Interests

Most broadly, Dr. Spectre’s research focuses on the biology and psychology of human kindness and well-being. To that end, much of his research has centered on exploring prosocial emotional processes, including positive emotions and selflessness, across a variety of intra- and interpersonal contexts. Dr. Spectre uses a diverse set of methodological approaches across psychological, behavioral, genetic, and physiological levels of analysis, employing a multitude of paradigms (dyadic interactions, daily experience, psychophysiological recording, experimental, and thin-slicing), and distinct cultural groups. Presently, Dr. Spectre’s research program focuses on three areas: (a) the biology of prosociality, (b) close relationships and love, and (c) positive emotions and well-being.

Dr. Spectre’s research has been featured in numerous popular media outlets, including BBC, CNN, Time, MSNBC, and Discover Magazine.

Key Publications

Representative Publications

Gordon, A M., Impett, E A., Kogan, A., Oveis, C., Keltner, D. (2012). To have and to hold: Gratitude promotes relationship maintenance in intimate bonds. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(2), 257-274.

Impett, E. A., Kogan, A., English, T., Oveis, C., John, O., & Keltner, D. (2012). Suppression sours relationships: The affective and relational costs of suppressing emotions during sacrifice in romantic relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Kogan, A., Saslow, L., Impett, E.A., Oveis, C., Keltner, D., & Saturn, S. (2011). A thin-slicing study of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene and the evaluation and expression of the prosocial disposition. Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences, 108, 19189-19192.

Kogan, A., Impett, E. A., Oveis, C., Hui, B, Gordon, A. M., & Keltner, D. (2010). When giving feels good: The intrinsic benefits of sacrifice in romantic relationships for the communally motivated. Psychological Science, 21, 1918-1924.

Impett, E. A., Gordon, A. M., Kogan, A., Oveis, C., Gable, & S. L., & Keltner, D. (2010). Approaching happiness: Daily and long-term consequences of approach and avoidance goals in romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 948-963.