James Pennebaker and Expressive Writing
Claudia Hammond meets James Pennebaker, who proved that simply writing about how you feel can improve your health and so revolutionised how emotions are viewed within psychology.
Claudia Hammond returns with the history of psychology series examining the work of the people who have changed our understanding of the human mind. This week she meets the American social psychologist, James Pennebaker, to discuss his work on expressive writing.
Pennebaker's ground-breaking experiment was published in 1986; he showed that simply writing about one's emotions can significantly improve one's health. His work revolutionised how emotions are viewed within psychology.
Claudia travelled to New Orleans, to the American Society for Personality and Social Psychology annual gathering, to speak to James Pennebaker, who was there to receive a Distinguished Scholar Award and to take up the Society's Presidency. She also met others who have worked with him and taken his work on expressive writing forward in various directions. These include Annette Stanton -Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at UCLA, Laura King - Professor of Psychology at the University of Missouri at Columbia, Kent Harber - Associate Professor of Psychology at Rutgers University, Sam Gosling - Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, Adriel Boals - Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of North Texas, Matthias Mehl - Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Arizona, and John Weinman, Professor of Psychology as Applied to Medicine at King's College.
Producer: Marya Burgess.