Stephanie Brown, PhD
Evolutionary Theories of Altruism
Hormones and Behavior
Office Phone: (631) 638-2022
Stephanie Brown is an Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at SUNY Stony Brook and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She received a B.S. degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, and a Ph. D. in Social Psychology from Arizona State University. She completed a 2-year N.I.M.H. postdoctoral training program in “Psychosocial Factors in Mental Health and Illness” at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. Following her postdoctoral training, Dr. Brown received a research scientist career development award (K-01) to study whether dialysis patients who provide social support to others suffer fewer symptoms of depression. This project led to a series of empirical papers conducted with fellow Center faculty member Dylan Smith, suggesting that the health benefits of social contact are due to the provision, as opposed to the receipt, of social support. Dr. Brown spent three years as an Assistant Professor on the faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at SUNY Stony Brook in December 2009. Dr. Brown’s research currently focuses on the neuro-affective mechanisms underlying altruistic and prosocial behavior and she has a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to examine the physiological consequences of helping others. Together with center member, Dylan Smith, Dr. Brown’s research examines (a) the role that other-focused motivational states play in stress regulation (b) the implications of helping-induced stress-regulation for physical health and longevity and (c) the contribution of other-focused motivational states and behaviors to the darker side of human experience including depression, suicidality, and PTSD. These lines of research are designed to shed light into the mechanisms underlying a caregiving motivational system, including its evolutionary origins and its implications for compassionate care, medicine, economic behavior, ethnic and international conflict, and other political attitudes and behaviors.
Selected Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Brown, R. M., Brown, S. L., A. Johnson, Olsen, B., Melver, K., & Sullivan, M. (in press). Empirical Support for an Evolutionary Model of Self-destructive Motivation, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior.
Cohen, M., Fredrickson, B., Brown, S. L., Mikels, J., & Conway, A. et al. (in press). Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions build resources by building resilience. Emotion.
Brown, S. L., Fredrickson, B. L., Wirth, M., Poulin, M., Meirer, E., Heaphy, E., Cohen, M., & Schultheiss, O., (2009). Closeness increases salivary progesterone in humans. Hormones and Behavior, 56, 108-111.
Brown, S. L. Smith, D. M., Schulz, R. Kabeto, M., Ubel, P., Yee, J., Kim, C. & Langa, K. (2009). Caregiving and Decreased Mortality in a National Sample of Older Adults, Psychological Science, 20(4): 488-494, 2009.
Brown, S. L., Brown, R. M., House, J. S., & Smith, D. M. (2008). Coping with spousal loss: The potential buffering effects of self-reported helping behavior. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 849-861.
Swartz, R. Perry, E., Brown, S. L., Swartz, J., & Vinokur, A. D. (2008). Patient-Staff Interactions and Mental Health in Chronic Dialysis Patients. Health and Social Work, 33, 87-92.
Brown, S. L. (2007). Health Effects of Caregiving: Studies of Helping Behavior Needed! Alzheimer Care Quarterly, 8, 235-246.
Brown, R. M., & Brown, S. L. (2007). Towards uniting the behavioral sciences with a gene-centered approach to altruism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 30, 19-20.
Heisler, M., Halasyamani, L., Resnicow, K., Neaton, M., Shanahan, J., Brown, S., & Piette, J. (2007). “I am Not Alone”: The feasibility and acceptability of interactive voice response (IVR)-facilitated telephone peer support among older adults with heart failure (HF). Congestive Heart Failure, 13, 149-157.
Schulz, R., Herbert, R., Dew, A., Brown, S. L., Scheier, M., Beach, S., Czaja, S., Martire, L., Coon, D., Langa, K., Gitlin, L., Stevens, A., & Nichols, L., (2007). Perceived Patient Suffering and Caregiver Compassion: New Opportunities for Research, Practice, and Policy. The Gerontologist, 47, 1-13.
Brown, R. M. & Brown, S. L. (2006). SIT Stands and Delivers: A Reply to the Commentaries. Psychological Inquiry, 17, 60-74.
Brown, S. L. & Brown, R. M. (2006). Selective Investment Theory: Recasting the Functional Significance of Close Relationships. Psychological Inquiry (Target Article), 17, 1-29.
Brown, S. L., & Brown, R. M. (2005) Social bonds, motivational conflict, and altruism: Implications for Neurobiology. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 28. 351-352.
Perry, E., Swartz, J., Brown, S. L., Smith, D., Kelly, G. & Swartz, R. (2005). Peer Mentoring: A Culturally Sensitive Approach To End-of-Life Planning For Chronic Dialysis Patients. American Journal of Kidney Disease, 46, 111-119.
Brown, S. L., Nesse, R. M., House, J. S., & Utz, R. (2004). Religion and Emotional Compensation: Results from a Prospective Study of Widowhood. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 30, 1165-1174.
Brown, S. L., Nesse, R., Vinokur, A. D., & Smith, D. M. (2003). Providing Support may be More Beneficial than Receiving It: Results from a Prospective Study of Mortality. Psychological Science, 14, 320-327.
Brown, S. L. & Vinokur, A. D. (2003). The inter-relations among poor health, depression, and loved ones’ messages of support and criticism as risk factors for suicide and suicide risk. American Journal of Community Psychology. 32, 131-141.
Maner, J., Luce, C., Neuberg, S., Cialdini, R. B., Brown, S. L., Sagarin, B., et al. (2002). The Effects of Perspective Taking on Motivations for Helping: Still No Evidence for Altruism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 1601-1610.