Kateri McRae

Kateri McRae

Professor; 4D Faculty RF Well-being

  • Faculty

What I do

My goal is to foster student curiosity, passion and excitement by introducing the ways the scientific method can be applied to understand seemingly intangible phenomena, like human emotion.


emotion and cognition interactions, emotion regulation, neuroscience, neuroimaging, affective science, ASC, social psychology, affect, cognitive psychology

Professional Biography

I study the relationship between emotion and cognition, with a particular focus on how different cognitive processes can impact emotion. I am interested in what causes emotions (at sensory, perceptual, cognitive and social levels).

In addition, I am interested in how attention, thought and memory change and are changed by emotion. Specifically, I examine processes that are characterized by emotion-cognition interactions, such as emotion regulation, the cognitive generation of emotion and emotional awareness.

I teach graduate seminars in affective neuroscience and fMRI methods, and undergraduate courses such as a first-year seminar called, "Exploring Psychology Through Theater" and a community-engaged seminar course for junior and senior psychology students called, "Emotion Regulation." I am devoted to teaching, advising, and mentoring all students, with a particular focus on first-generation and students from minoritized groups.

I am currently the 4D Faculty Fellow for Well-Being at DU, and have previously served as the president of the Social and Affective Neuroscience (an international academic society), the Director of Faculty Advising (DU), an associate editor at the APA journal Emotion, and the Curriculum Coordinator for the Department of Psychology.


  • Ph.D., Psychology, University of Arizona, 2007
  • MA, Psychology, University of Arizona, 2004
  • BA, Human Biology and Drama, Stanford University, 2002

Professional Affiliations

  • Social and Affective Neuroscience Society


I use an interdisciplinary, multi-measure approach to characterize emotional responding and cognitive processing. In experimental contexts, I measure self-reported emotional experience, peripheral physiological responses and whole-brain signals obtained from neuroimaging techniques (PET and fMRI). I supplement these experimental approaches with correlational studies using self-report measures to characterize emotion-related personality variables and executive functioning tasks to evaluate cognitive skills.

I direct the laboratory for the study of automaticity, affect, control and thought (the AACT lab).

Areas of Research

emotion and cognition interactions
emotion regulation
affective science
social psychology
cognitive psychology

Key Projects

  • CAREER: The Effects of Process Facilitation on Emotion Regulation
  • Investigating the neural systems that support the beneficial effects of positive emotion on stress regulation.
  • Reproducibility Project: Psychology
  • Using Positive Reappraisal to COunter Negative Emotion: Its Neural Mechanisms and Role in Resilience

Featured Publications

Yudkin, D. A., Prosser, A., Heller, S. M., McRae, K., Chakroff, A., & Crockett, M. J. (2022). Transformative Experience and Moral Expansion and Secular Mass Gatherings. Nature Communications.
Otto, B., Misra, S., Prasad, A., & McRae, K. (2014). Functional overlap of top-down emotion regulation and generation: An fMRI study identifying common neural substrates between cognitive reappraisal and cognitively generated emotions. . Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 14, 923-938.
McRae, K., Williams, L. M., Coper, N., William, R., & Gross, J. J. (2014). Effects of antidepressant medication on emotion regulation use: An iSPOT-D report. Journal of Affective Disorders.
McRae, K. (2013). Emotion regulation frequency and success: Separating constructs from methods and timescale. Social and Personality Psychology Compass.


  • Fellow, Association for Psychological Science
  • Faculty Adviser of the Year, Academic Advising
  • Preregistration Challenge Prize, Center for Open Science
  • Paper of the Year, Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience

Graduate Mentorship

​​​​​​Dr. McRae will NOT be reviewing applications for fall 2024 admission.