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Dr John Lambie

Associate Professor

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Psychology and Sport Science
Areas of Expertise:
Societies and Groups
Research Supervision:
Courses taught:

John Lambie’s research focuses on emotion and awareness with an emphasis on theory, clinical applications and parenting. He is interested in emotion validation and emotional wellbeing in children and adults.

[email protected]

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John has investigated 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, he has looked at how emotional validation by parents can increase children’s emotional awareness, and how parents can be helped to increase their emotion validation skills. This work, in collaboration with Skylark Learning, has led to My First Emotions, an award-winning product to help with young children’s emotional development. You can watch a talk on John Lambie’s research on emotion validation. My First Emotions has been used to train parents and early years teachers in Cambridgeshire and Somerset. 

John recently worked with the Paper Birds theatre company on an international project called the School of Hope, teaching young people about empathy with an aim to increasing their wellbeing. 

In work with adults, he has investigated how good emotional awareness may lead to better rational decision making and has supervised work on compassion focused training for health visitors. He has also written a book looking at open versus closed mindedness throughout history (see his TEDx talk on this

Research interests

  • Consciousness and emotion experience – theory and phenomenology
  • Emotion regulation
  • Emotional validation in families
  • Parental training in emotion validation
  • Wellbeing in young people
  • Does emotional awareness increase rationality?
  • Self-compassion
  • Open-mindedness in science and religion

John is a member of our Clinical and Wellbeing Group, and also Development and Lifespan Group which form part of our ARU Centre for Mind and Behaviour.

Areas of research supervision

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

Find out more about our Psychology PhD.


John teaches on the modules Emotion, Psychological Therapies, Lifespan Development, Diagnosis and Formulation in Mental Health.


  • PhD Psychology, University of Cambridge, 1997
  • BSc Psychology, University of Sheffield, 1991
  • Master Diploma in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (2020), British Psychological Society

Memberships, editorial boards

  • Chartered Psychologist, British Psychological Society.
  • Associate Fellow, British Psychological Society.
  • Editorial Boards: Psychology, Health & Medicine; Vulnerable Children & Youth Studies

Research grants, consultancy, knowledge exchange

  • Worked with Skylark Learning to develop my first emotions to help young children with emotional development
  • Cambridgeshire Social Services, Child and Family Centre (parenting training)
  • Somerset Country Council (parenting training) 
  • Worked as a honorary CBT therapist with Broomfield Hospital
  • Talks to carers’ groups (eating disorders) about emotional communication skills
  • TEDx talk about open-mindedness
  • Paper Birds theatre company, School of Hope project

Selected recent publications

Ketelaar, L., Lambie, J., Li, B., Eichengreen, A., Zaidman-Zait, A., & Rieffe, C. (2022). Impact of hearing loss on children's emotional development and mental health. In A.C. Samson,  D. Dukes, & E. Walle (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Emotional Development. London: Oxford University Press.

Lambie, J.A. Lambie, H.J, & Sadek, S. (2020). "My child will actually say ‘I am upset’… Before all they would do was scream”: Teaching parents emotion validation in a social care setting.  Child: Care, Health & Development, 46, 627–636 

Lambie, J.A. (2020). The demanding world of emotion: A Gestalt approach to emotion experience. New Ideas in Psychology, 56

Rohleder, P., Lambie, J.A. & Hale, E. (2017). A qualitative study of the emotional coping and support needs of children living with a parent with a brain injury. Brain Injury, 31(2), 199-207.

Lambie, J.A., & Lindberg, A. (2016). The role of maternal emotional validation and invalidation on children’s emotional awareness. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 62(2), 129-157.

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, 272-280.

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

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

Recent presentations and conferences

Lambie, J.A. (2018, October). Parental validation and children's emotional awareness. Paper presented at Leiden University, Emotions Research Lab.

Lambie, J.A. (2017, May). Question everything: Critical open mindedness and reasonable doubt.  Paper presented at ReaDoubt: From Reasonable Doubt to Undue Scepticism. Birkbeck College, London.

Lambie, J.A. (2016, April). Are emotions feedback?. Paper presented at Lorentz Centre Workshop on Emotions as Feedback, Leiden University.

Lambie, J.A. (2015, June). How the world is experienced in emotion: Theories and implications of world-focused emotion experience. Paper presented at conference on Emotion Concepts in Use, Heinrich Heine University, Dusseldorf.

Lambie, J.A. (2014, October). Open-mindedness in science and religion. Public talk at Cambridge Festival of Ideas. 30 October 2014.

Lambie, J.A. (2013, October). The role of emotional validation in emotional awareness. Paper presented for Emotions: Nature, Recognition, Culture conference, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.

Lambie, J.A. (2011, July). Are psychopaths responsible? Paper presented at Character, Capacity, and Personality Workshop, Research Centre for Agency, Values and Ethics (CAVE) and the Agency & Moral Cognition Network, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia.

Lambie, J.A. (2002, March). Keynote speaker. The first-person experience of emotion: What is it, and how can it be studied? Paper presented at Center for Consciousness Studies, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA.

Media experience

Lambie, J.A. & Parrish, H. (2019, October). How to be less opinionated. Healthy Magazine. 

Lambie, J.A. (2018). Should you hide negative emotions from children?. The Conversation, Oct 11, 2018.  http://theconversation.com/should-you-hide-negative-emotions-from-children-104710

Lambie, J.A. (21st September 2016). The toys that teach children to reveal what they’re feeling. Cambridge Independent newspaper.

Lambie, J.A. (12th August 2016).  Cambridge TV news, talking about the launch of the product “My First Emotions”, and the research underpinning it: http://www.cambridge-tv.co.uk/emotional-awareness/

Lambie, J.A. (15th December 2014). Cambridge Evening News, Putting off four difficult conversations. Response to survey that people put off having difficult conversations with partners and family members.

Lambie, J.A. (21st December 2012) Cambridge News, “Twas the nightmare before Christmas” – (How to avoid family stress at Christmas). p. 6.

Lambie, J.A. (23rd April 2007). Live on Radio Cambridgeshire discussing effects of TV on children’s development.

Lambie, J.A. (16th October 2007). Live on Radio Cambridgeshire discussing phobias and overcoming fear.