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Department of Psychology|College of Arts & Sciences

Ben WilkowskiBen Wilkowski

Associate Professor

Anger; Aggression; Emotion; Social Cognition; Personality

Social Psychology


Ph.D., North Dakota State University 2008

M.S., North Dakota State University 2005

B.A., Ohio University, 2002 • 766-2272 • Bio Sciences Bldg 123


Academic Positions

Assistant Professor, University of Wyoming, 2008-present.

Pre-doctoral Fellow, North Dakota State University, 2006-2008


Click here for vitae (complete listing of publications, grants, teaching, etc.)


Research Interests

My primary interest is in understanding why certain people are angrier and more aggressive than others.  My colleagues and I take a social-cognitive approach to answering this question, suggesting that people differ in how they cognitively process social situations they encounter.  We have developed a model in which three cognitive processes are important in determining a person's dispositional level of anger and aggression (Wilkowski & Robinson, 2008).  The first cognitive process involves a tendency to automatically interpret other people's behavior as hostile in nature, and this leads to the more frequent elicitation of anger.  The second cognitive process involves a tendency to dwell and ruminate upon hostile events and hostile thoughts, and this process is proposed to be involved in prolonging and intensifying angry mood states.  The final cognitive process involves using cognitive control resources to down-regulate one's anger once it has arisen.

Aside from this major interest, I am more broadly interested in how social-cognitive factors contribute to an understanding of the elicitation and regulation of emotions, and how our emotions shape our social behavior, social relationships, and health.



Psyc 2000: Research Methods

Psyc 2380: Social Psychology

Psyc 3390: Theories of Personality

Psyc 4740: Advanced Social Psychology

Psyc 5650: Theories of Social Psychology

Psyc 5785: Graduate Seminar, Emotions and their Social Consequences



Representative Publications

Wilkowski, B.M., Robinson, M.D., & Friesen, C.K. (2009). Gaze-triggered orienting as a tool of the belongingness self-regulation system. Psychological Science, 20, 495-500.

Wilkowski, B.M. & Robinson, M.D. (in press). Associative and spontaneous appraisal processes independently contribute to anger-elicitation in daily life. Emotion.

Wilkowski, B.M., Meier, B.P., Robinson, M.D., Carter, M.S., & Feltman, R. (2009). "Hotheaded" is more than an expression: The embodied representation of anger in terms of heat. Emotion, 9, 464-477.

Wilkowski, B.M., & Robinson, M.D. (2008). Clear heads are cool heads: Emotional clarity and the down-regulation of antisocial affect. Cognition and Emotion 22, 308-326.

Wilkowski, B.M., & Robinson, M.D. (2008). The cognitive basis of trait anger and reactive aggression: An integrative analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12, 3-28.

Wilkowski, B.M., & Robinson, M.D. (2008). Guarding against hostile thoughts: Trait anger and the recruitment of cognitive control. Emotion, 8, 578-583.

Wilkowski, B.M., & Robinson, M.D. (2007). Keeping your cool: Trait anger, Hostile thoughts, and the recruitment of limited capacity control. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 1201-1213.

Wilkowski, B.M., Robinson, M.D., Gordon, R.D., & Troop-Gordon, W. (2007). Tracking the evil eye: Trait anger and selective attention within ambiguously hostile scenes. Journal of Research in Personality, 41, 650-666.

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