Shelley Taylor Ph.D. Professor of Psychology This Emotional Life - PBS

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Experts Biography

Awards and Credentials

  1. Elected to the National Academy of Sciences, 2009
  2. Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2003
  3. Elected to the Institute of Medicine, 2003
  4. Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Psychology Award from the American Psychological Association, 1996

Shelley Taylor Ph.D.


Dr. Taylor is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology. She studies social relationships and how they protect people against stress. Her tend-and-befriend model, which was developed in response to the fight-or-flight metaphor that usually guides stress research, builds on the fact that, in response to stress, people come together with others for joint protection of self and offspring.

Dr. Taylor also studies self-regulation, stress, and coping, and explores the skills that people develop and use for anticipating stressful events and for minimizing their adverse effects when they do occur. Finally, she studies how positive beliefs are protective of mental and physical health. She shows that positive illusions, namely beliefs that center on optimism, self-enhancement, and an illusion of control, can protect against threats or traumas, not only psychologically but also in terms of physical health.

Dr. Taylor received her doctorate from Yale University. She is the author of more than 350 publications in journals and books and is the author of Social Cognition, Positive Illusions, and Health Psychology.