Alison Wood Brooks

Assistant Professor of Business Administration

Alison Wood Brooks is an assistant professor of business administration in the Negotiation, Organizations & Markets Unit at Harvard Business School. She teaches the Negotiation course in the MBA elective curriculum and is affiliated with the Behavioral Insights Group at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership.

In her research, Professor Brooks focuses on how emotions influence cognition and behavior, particularly in the workplace. Much of her work examines the behavioral consequences of anxiety, and how individuals can regulate their anxious feelings. Her research has been published in leading academic journals, including the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Psychological Science, and has been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, The Economic Times, The Huffington Post, and CIO Magazine.

Professor Brooks holds a Ph.D. in decision processes from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor's degree in psychology and finance from Princeton University.

  1. Overview

    Professor Brooks studies topics at the intersection of emotion, cognition, and behavior. Much of her research has focused on anxiety, one of the most pervasive emotions experienced in the workplace. She focuses on state anxiety, which is triggered by the potential for adverse consequences, rather than anxiety as a personality trait, and she investigates both the intrapersonal experience and interpersonal expression of anxiety. Professor Brooks’ work on anxiety—and other emotions such as anger, excitement, calmness, envy, admiration, pity, and disgust—has led her to examine how individuals navigate interpersonal interaction in the workplace more broadly. For example, she also studies trust, which involves overcoming social anxiety and making oneself vulnerable to others. Her work points to the importance of understanding and exercising emotional intelligence at work, and to ways people can regulate their emotions strategically to make themselves and their organizations more effective.

    Keywords: Anxiety; Emotion; Emotion Regulation; Reappraisal; negotiation; trust; Performance;