Emily image

Emily Impett


Area of Research

social psychology; close relationships; sexuality; emotions; motivation


Broadly speaking, the work in my lab is focused on understanding when and for whom “giving” in the context of close relationships helps and when it hurts. In our close relationships, we are motivated to give to and help our partners and we do so in a variety of ways. For example, we make sacrifices for our family and friends and we engage in sexual activity to benefit our romantic partner. Some of these acts of giving are made at considerable cost to the self. What motivates people to give even in the face of personal costs? How do people regulate their emotions when they sacrifice for the good of others? And when does giving lead to good outcomes and when might good intentions to help close others backfire and potentially detract from the quality of our relationships? To answer these questions, my lab draws on several theoretical perspectives including approach-avoidance motivational theory, theories of communal relationships, and recent insights about emotions and emotion regulation.


B.Sc. (Psychology, James Madison University)
M.A. (Social Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles)
Ph. D. (Social Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles)


Recent representative publications:

Impett, E. A., Le, B. M., Asyaby-Eshghi, B., Day, L. C., & Kogan, A. (2013). To give or not to give? Sacrificing for avoidance goals is not costly for the highly interdependent. Social Psychological and Personality Science. Advance online publication.

Impett, E. A., Kogan, A., English, T., John O., Oveis, C., Gordon, A., & Keltner, D. (2012). Suppression sours sacrifice: Emotional and relational costs of suppressing emotions in romantic relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 707-720.

Muise, A., Impett, E. A., Kogan, A., & Desmarais, S. (2012). Keeping the spark alive: Being motivated to meet a partner’s sexual needs sustains sexual desire in long-term romantic relationships. Social Psychological and Personality Science.  Advance Online Publication.

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

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.