Prof. Russell's research centers on human emotion. His interest began with the question of how large-scale environments (such as homes, offices, malls) and social events (chatting with a friend, working with a team) influence emotion and thereby influence various activities and outcomes. This led to the fundamental question of how emotions can be described and then assessed. Some specific ideas pursued are a circumplex model of emotion, a prototype theory of emotion concepts, which leads to the idea that specific emotions are understood in terms of scripts, a defence of the traditional view that displeasure is the opposite of pleasure, a skeptical review of the traditional view that basic emotions are universally and easily recognized from facial expressions. More recently, the question has arisen of how these various ideas fit together within a larger framework. An analysis is being developed called "the psychological construction of emotion."
Russell, J. A. (2012). From a psychological constructionist perspective. In P. Zachar & R. Ellis (Eds.), Categorical versus dimensional models of affect: A seminar on the theories of Panksepp and Russell. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.
Russell, J. A. (2003). Core affect and the psychological construction of emotion. Psychological Review, 110, 145-172.
Russell, J. A., & Lemay, G. (2000). Concepts of emotion. In M. Lewis & J. Haviland (Eds.) Handbook of Emotions, 2nd edition. New York: Guilford.
Russell, J.A., & Fernandez-Dols, J.M. (Eds.) (1997). The psychology of facial expression. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Russell, J. A. (1994). Is there universal recognition of emotion from facial expression? A review of the cross-cultural studies. Psychological Bulletin, 115, 102-141.