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Dawn T Robinson

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Professor of Sociology
Distinguished Scholar and Director of Faculty Development, Owens Institute for Behavioral Research

Dawn T. Robinson is Professor of Sociology and Fellow in the Owens Institute of Behavioral Research at the University of Georgia where she founded and co-directs the Laboratory for the Study of Social Interaction and the Computational Social Science Work Group. Dr. Robinson received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Cornell University and held an NIMH postdoctoral fellowship in Normal and Abnormal Group Processes at Stanford University. Prior to coming to the University of Georgia, Dr. Robinson taught at the University of Iowa and at Louisiana State University.

Dr. Robinson's research examines how macro-level social structures are produced, conserved, and altered during face-to-face interaction. In particular, she works with formal theories of identity and emotion that model the link between structure, culture, and individual social action and experience. Much of Dr. Robinson's work involves testing these theories using experimental methods. 

In 2009, Dr. Robinson was selected as a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences. She is past Chair of the Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity Section, the Social Psychology Section, and of the Sociology of Emotion Section of American Sociological Association. She also has held elected offices in the International Society for Research on Emotion and the Southern Sociological Society. Dr. Robinson is a member of the professional honor society, the Sociological Research Association. She served on the Committee of Visitors for the National Science Foundation program on Human and Social Dynamics.

Dr. Robinson's recent research includes a four-country study on representations of affective-linguistic culture, developing new mathematical models of cross-cultural interactions, developing  non-reactive emotion measures of emotion in social interaction (with Jody Clay-Warner), studying emotional responses to injustice, research on gender and networks, and investigations of social structure and conversational interaction. Her co-edited book (with Jody Clay-Warner), Social Structure and Emotion, received the 2010 Best Book Award from the ASA Section on the Sociology of Emotion. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Office of Naval Research, and the Army Research Office and has appeared in outlets including American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Social Forces, and Social Psychology Quarterly.  Her latest project, funded by the Army Research Office, is on Computational Models of Cultural Meaning and Social Interaction.

  • Ph.D., Sociology, Cornell University, 1992
  • M.A., Sociology, Cornell Uniersity, 1989
  • B.A. (department and university honors) Sociology and Psychology, Texas Christian University, 1987
  • 2020-2024. "Collaborative Research: DTI: ImageSTEM: Middle School Teacher and Student's Experiences with Artificial Intelligence via Computational Cameras.” Co-PI, with Ramana Pidaparti (PI), Suren Jayasuriya (PI), John Mativo (Co-PI), Wendy Barnard (Co-PI) and Terry Kurtz (Co-PI) . National Science Foundation. Total amount awarded $1.7 million. UGA amount awarded: $702,826.
  • “Overcoming Physical Distances With the Virtual Family Room: Virtual Reality Communication for Deployed Military Families.” Co-Principal Investigator. July 1, 2019-December 30, 2022. UGA Office of the President. Amount Awarded: $145,767.15.
  • 2017-2022. "Measuring Emotion." PI. Army Research Office. Amount awarded:$337,288.
  • 2015-2019. "Computational Models of Meaning and Social Interaction." PI, with Lynn Smith-Lovin (co-PI). Army Research Office. Amount awarded: $499,464.
  • 2011-2012. “Survey Of Quantification And Distance Functions Used For Internet-Based Weak-Link Sociological Phenomena” Co-PI with Ming-Jun Lai (PI). Army Research Office.  August 1, 2011-May 31, 2012. Amount Awarded: $49,998.
  • 2010-2014. “Interpreting and Responding to Arab Cultures: Affective Dynamics” Co-PI with Lynn Smith-Lovin (PI). October 1, 2010-September 30, 2014. Office of Naval Research. Total amount awarded: $2,197,788.  University of Georgia amount: $460,575
  • 2010-2012. “Collaborative Research Examining Emotional Reactions To Standards of Justice” Co-PI with Jody Clay-Warner (PI) and Lynn Smith-Lovin (co-PI).  National Science Foundation SES-0966536.  University of Georgia Award: $98,155
  • 2007-2010. “DHB: Testing a Dynamic Theory of Social Emotions using Infrared Imaging” with Jody Clay-Warner, Chi Thai and Kevin McCully (co-PIs). National Science Foundation SES 0729396. December 15, 2007-December 14, 2010. Total Amount Awarded: $717,375.00.
  • 2005-2007. "Collaborative Research Assessing the Relationship Between Identity, Injustice, and Emotion." (PI) With Jody Clay-Warner (co-PI) and Lynn Smith-Lovin (co-PI). National Science Foundation SES 0519969. Total amount awarded: $222,000. University of Georgia Award: $156,400.
  • 2001-2003. “Collaborative Research Testing Affect Control Theory: Restoring the Challenged Identities of Others” (PI) with Lynn Smith-Lovin (co-PI). National Science Foundation SES 0111291. August 1, 2001, August 1, 2003. Total amount awarded: $238,000; University of Iowa Award: $114, 000.
Selected Publications:
  • Cannon, Bryan C. and Dawn T. Robinson. Forthcoming, 2023. “A Simplest Mathematics of Turn-Taking: Conversational Deep Structure, Emergence, and Permeation.” Network Science. Firstview:
  • Lee, Emily S., Michele Lease, Dawn T. Robinson, Stacey Neuharth-Pritchett, and Jiajun Xu, Jiajun. 2022. “Individual Difference in Perceptions of Social Structure: Social Standing Predicts Accuracy in Social Network Perception.” Social Development. 31(3):549-567
  • Zhao, Jun, Dawn T. Robinson, and Chyi-In Wu. 2020. “Isolation but Diffusion? A Structural Account of Depression Clustering among Adolescents.” Social Psychology Quarterly 83(4):363-382.
  • Rukangu Andrew M., Kelsey Mattingly, Anton E. Franzluebbers, Alexander Tuttle, Catherine O'Neal, Dawn T Robinson, Sun Joo Ahn, Kyle J Johnsen. 2020. “Virtual family room: Bridging the physical distance with virtual reality.” Published in the 2020 Proceedings of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (IITSEC).
    • Selected as 2020 Best Paper by the Simulation Subcommittee.
  • Robinson, Dawn T, Lynn Smith-Lovin, and Jun Zhao. 2020. "The Role of the Other: How Interaction Partners influence Identity Maintenance." In Brian Powell, Richard Serpe and Robin Stryker.(eds). Identity and Symbolic Interaction: Deepening Foundations; Building Bridges. New York: Oxford University Press.
    • Springer Nature 2020 Highlight: One of the most accessed Springer sociology publications in 2020
  • Cannon, Bryan C., Dawn T. Robinson and Lynn Smith-Lovin. 2019. "How Do We “Do Gender”? Permeation as over-Talking and Talking Over." Socius.
  • Shank, Daniel B., Dawn T Robinson. 2019. “Who’s Responsible? How Regulated or Independent Representatives of Organizations Alter Customers’ Emotion and Interaction” Journal of Consumer Marketing 36(1):155-167.
  • Robinson, Dawn T. and Lynn Smith-Lovin. Forthcoming, 2018. “Affect Control Theories of Social Interaction and Self.” In Contemporary Social Psychological Theories, 2nd Edition. Edited by Peter J. Burke. Stanford University Press. Palo Alto, CA.
  • Kriegel, Darys J., Muhammad Abdul-Mageed, Jesse K. Clark, Robert E. Freeland, David R. Heise, Dawn T. Robinson, Kimberly B. Rogers and Lynn Smith-Lovin. 2017. "A Multilevel Investigation of Arabic-Language Impression Change." International Journal of Sociology 47(4):278-95.
  • Clay-Warner, Jody, Dawn T. Robinson, Lynn Smith-Lovin, Kimberly B. Rogers and Katie R. James. 2016. "Justice Standard Determines Emotional Responses to over-Reward." Social Psychology Quarterly 79(1):44-67. doi: 10.1177/0190272516628299.
  • Clay-Warner, Jody and Dawn T. Robinson. 2015. “Infrared Thermography as a Measure of Emotion Response.” Emotion Review.7:1557-162.
  • Robinson, Dawn T. 2014. "The Role of Cultural Meanings and Situated Interaction in Shaping Emotion." Emotion Review 6:189-195.
  • Rogers, Kimberly B. and Dawn T. Robinson. 2014. "Measuring Affect and Emotions." Pp. 283-303 in Handbook of the Sociology of Emotions: Volume II, edited by J. E. Stets and J. H. Turner: Springer Netherlands.
  • Robinson, Dawn T. 2014. "Comment: Growing a Multilevel Science of Emotion." Emotion Review 6:137-138.
  • Neil, J. MacKinnon and Dawn T. Robinson. 2014. "Back to the Future: 25 Years of Research in Affect Control Theory." Advances in Group Processes 31:139-173.
  • Robinson, Dawn T., Jody Clay-Warner, Christopher D. Moore, Tiffani Everett, Alexander Watts, Traci Tucker, and Chi Thai. 2012.“Toward an Unobtrusive Measure of Emotion during Social Interaction: Thermographic Imaging Techniques.” Advances in Group Processes 29:255-266
  • Owens, Timothy J., Dawn T. Robinson, and Lynn Smith-Lovin. 2010. "Three Faces of Identity." Annual Review of Sociology 36:477-499.
  • Youngreen, Reef, Bridget Conlon, Michael Lovaglia and Dawn T. Robinson. 2009. “Identity Maintenance and Cognitive Test Performance.” Social Science Research. 38:438-446.
  • Jody Clay-Warner and Dawn T. Robinson (Editors). 2008.  Social Structure and Emotion. Elsevier/Academic Press.
  • Robinson, Dawn T. 2007. “Control Theories in Sociology.” Annual Review of Sociology. 33:157-174.
  • Robinson, Dawn T. and Lynn Smith-Lovin. 2001. "Getting a Laugh: Gender, Status and Humor in Task Group Discussions." Social Forces 80:123-158.
  • Ridgeway, Cecilia, Elizabeth Boyle, Kathy Jean Kuipers and Dawn T. Robinson. 1998. "How do Status Beliefs Develop? The Role of Resources and Interactional Experience." American Sociological Review 63:331-350.
  • Robinson, Dawn T. and James W. Balkwell. 1995. "Density, Transitivity, and Diffuse Status in Task-Oriented Groups." Social Psychology Quarterly 58:241-254.
  • Robinson, Dawn T., Lynn Smith-Lovin, and Olga Tsoudis. 1994. "Heinous Crime or Unfortunate Accident?: Effects of Remorse on Responses to Mock Criminal Confessions." Social Forces 73:175-190.
Of Note:


  • 2021. 2021 Service Legacy Award, Owens Institute for Behavioral Research, University of Georgia
  • 2020. Best Paper, Simulation Subcommittee, Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC).
  • 2011. Franklin College Outstanding Academic Advisor Award, University of Georgia.
  • 2010. Outstanding Recent Contribution to the Literature: Book Award. Sociology of Emotions Section of the American Sociological Association. For Social Structure and Emotion, Co-edited with Jody Clay Warner.
  • 2009. Fellow, Society for Experimental Social Psychology
  • 2009. Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow, National Academy of Sciences.
  • 2009. University of Georgia Excellence in Undergraduate Research Mentoring Early Career Award.
  • 2008.  Inducted into the Sociological Research Association.

Elected Offices and Editorial Experience

  • 2024-2025. President, Southern Sociological Society
  • 2022-2023. Chair, Mathematical Sociology Section, American Sociological Association
  • 2021-2024. Co-Editor, Social Psychology Quarterly
  • 2014-1015. Chair, Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity Section, American Sociological Association
  • 2008-2011. Board of Directors, International Society for Research on Emotion
  • 2009-2010. Chair, Social Psychology Section, American Sociological Association.
  • 2006-2007. Chair, Emotions Section, American Sociological Association.
Articles Featuring Dawn T Robinson

The Department of Sociology is proud to announce that Dr. Dawn Robinson received the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sociology of Emotions Section of the American Sociological Association at their annual meetings in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Her superb research agenda concerning emotions and affect control theory, her commitment to the section and the field of Emotions, and so many other of her contributions to the understanding of emotions have made this year’s committee decision…

Events featuring Dawn T Robinson
MLC 213
MLC 213

This workshop is open to graduate students and investigators who have never submitted or successfully competed for internal and external grant applications. Attendants will learn the basic principles of grant writing, funder prospecting, as well as evaluation.