Dr John Lambie

Reader in Psychology

Faculty:Faculty of Science & Technology


Location: Cambridge

Areas of Expertise: Applied, Social and Health Psychology

John’s research focuses on emotion and reflective awareness. He is interested in how being more reflectively aware helps us to cope with emotions and thus have greater well-being.

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John is interested in how emotional awareness and emotion regulation can improve well-being. Some of his work has been theoretical – outlining the ways in which people can be aware or unaware of their emotions. In studies with children, John has looked at how emotional validation by parents can increase children’s emotional awareness. In work with adults, he has investigated how good emotional awareness may lead to better rational decision making. Recently, John has become interested in open-mindedness and written a book, looking at open versus closed mindedness throughout history.

Current projects include looking at emotional coping in children of parents with an acquired brain injury (in collaboration with Headway), and supervising a project looking at the effectiveness of compassion-focused therapy for individuals with traumatic brain injury.

Research interests

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  • Consciousness and emotion experience – theory and phenomenology
  • Coping with emotions – what are the most effective ways?
  • Emotional validation in families
  • Effects of parental brain injury on children
  • What psychological and social factors increase people’s emotional awareness?
  • Does emotional awareness increase rationality?
  • What factors affect open and closed-mindedness? How can we increase open-mindedness?
  • Open-mindedness in science and religion
  • Compassion and mindfulness
  • Psychological aspects of pain

John is a member of our Child Development Research Area which forms part of our Brain and Cognition Research Group and our Emotion and Well-Being Research Area which forms part of our Applied, Social and Health Psychology Research Group.

Areas of research supervision

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  • Factors affecting emotional awareness in children and adults
  • Parenting styles, particularly emotional validation and invalidation, and their effects
  • Emotion regulation styles and their effects on well being

Examples of PhDs supervised to completion include:

  • Lindberg, A. (PhD awarded August 2013). Children’s emotional awareness: its causes, consequences, and the specific role of parental emotional validation
  • Maka, Z. (PhD awarded June 2011). Relational and emotional dynamics in methadone patients and their partners
  • Ashworth, F. (ongoing). Self-criticism and compassion-focused therapy after traumatic brain injury: a randomized controlled trial
  • Mul, C. (ongoing). Interoceptive sensitivity in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (second supervisor)

Find out more about our Psychology PhD.


John teaches on the modules Emotion, Psychological Therapies, and Lifespan Development.


  • PhD Psychology, University of Cambridge, 1997
  • BSc Psychology, University of Sheffield, 1991
  • Master Diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (ongoing), British Psychological Society

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Chartered Psychologist, British Psychological Society
  • Associate Fellow, British Psychological Society
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Medicine

Selected recent publications

Lambie, J.A. and Lindberg, A., in press. The role of maternal emotional validation and invalidation on children’s emotional awareness. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly.

Lambie, J.A., 2014. How to be critically open-minded: A psychological and historical analysis. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.

Lambie, J.A., 2009. Emotion experience, rational action, and self-knowledge. Emotion Review, 1, pp.272-280.

Lambie, J.A., 2008. On the irrationality of emotion and the rationality of awareness. Consciousness and Cognition, 17(3), pp.946-971.

Lambie, J.A. and Baker, K.L., 2003. Intentional avoidance and social understanding in repressors and nonrepressors: Two functions for emotion experience? Consciousness and Emotion, 4, pp.17-42.

Lambie, J.A. and Marcel, A.J., 2002. Consciousness and emotion experience: A theoretical framework. Psychological Review, 109, pp.219-259.

Recent presentations and conferences

Lambie, J.A., 2014. Open-mindedness in science and religion. Public talk at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas.

Lambie, J.A., 2013. Being aware of our own emotions: Theoretical and developmental considerations. Paper presented at conference on Emotions: Nature, Recognition, Culture, Ruhr University Bochum, Germany.

Lambie, J.A., 2012. The affective self as a false self. Paper presented at the Self-Consciousness and Kinds of Self, Interdisciplinary Workshop Series, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Lambie, J.A., 2011. Psychopaths are still responsible: Emotional awareness and moral responsibility. Paper presented at the Character, Capacity, and Personality Workshop, Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics (CAVE), Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

Lambie, J.A., 2002. The varieties of emotion experience. Keynote paper presented at symposium on The first-person experience of emotion: What is it, and how can it be studied? Center for Consciousness Studies, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, U.S.A.