Tong, Eddie M. W.

Associate Professor (National University of Singapore)
+65 65163654
Blk AS4 #04-01, Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore, 9 Arts Link, Singapore 117570

I am interested in positive emotion, appraisal theory, and religion processes.

Positive Emotion

In this decade, I have invested much of my research resources into the study of positive emotion. As a result of both serious contemplation and causal wonderings, and with the help of an able and dedicated team of students and expert collaborators, I have contributed papers specifically on hope (Tong, Fredrickson, Chang, & Lim, 2010), romantic love (Chan, Tong, Tan, & Joh, 2013), pride (Ho, Tong, & Jia, 2016), humility (Tong et al., 2016), and awe (Koh, Tong, & Yuen, accepted). My next paper will be about self-compassion.

Beyond these scattered findings, the bulk of my work on positive emotion centers on gratitude. Since obtaining tenure (2011), I have been developing and testing a new idea called the social alignment perspective of gratitude. This work examines how the grateful person responds to social forces, and predicts that gratitude makes a person more likely to align with the thoughts, emotions, behaviors, attitudes, and needs of other people. I have found preliminary evidence to support this view (Jia, Tong & Lee, 2014, Jia, Lee, & Tong, 2015; Ng, Tong, Sim, Teo, Loy, & Giesbrecht, 2017). Currently, I am pursuing and pushing this idea further, in a bid to uncover the conditions that render a grateful person more vulnerable to social influence.

Appraisal Theory

My Masters thesis (under Prof. George Bishop) and Ph.D. dissertation (Prof. Phoebe Ellsworth) examined the appraisal theory of emotion. Appraisal theory is a major theoretical framework that explains the elicitation, differentiation, and consequences of emotions by means of specific patterns of appraisals.  My work has examined non-conscious appraisal-emotion processes (Yang & Tong, 2010; Tong, Tan & Tan, 2013; Tong & Teo, accepted), non-linear appraisal-emotion relationships (Tong, Ellsworth, & Bishop, 2009; Tong & Tay, 2011), personality influences (Tong, 2010, JoP), sufficiency and necessity relations (Tong, 2010, C&E), differentiation of positive emotions (Tong, 2015; Tong & Jia, 2017), meta-appraisal confidence (Tong, Teo, & Chia, 2014), temporal trajectories of appraisals (Tong et al., 2009), and the issue of methodological precision in measuring appraisals (Tong et al., 2005), among others. My collaborators and I have also examined the appraisal profile of self-anger (Ellsworth & Tong, 2006) and tested a novel construct called appraisal differentiation (Tong & Keng, 2017). Hence, my research tests the boundaries of appraisal theory and goes beyond examining appraisal structures to investigating complex appraisal-emotion processes.

Religion

I am new to the science of religion. I often wonder how people might respond under the influence of religion. History shows us that both good and bad things can come out of it. I have made some modest headways by showing how religious factors affect or are related to risk assessment (Chan, Tong, & Tan, 2014), prosociality (Lin, Tong, Lee, Low, & Gomes, 2016), and emotion (Tong, 2017; Tong & Teo, accepted). I am now embarking on an ambitious project with Dr. Paul Reddish that contrasts different theories on religion and bridges the science of religion with the science of emotion.

Tong, Eddie M. W.