Razia Sahi
As a doctoral researcher at UCLA, I study how social interactions and environments shape emotional experiences and well-being from the intersection of social, cognitive, and affective psychology. I work across three laboratories with Dr. Naomi Eisenberger (Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab), Dr. Jennifer Silvers (Social Affective Neuroscience and Development Lab), and Dr. Matthew Lieberman (Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab). We use a variety of research methods, including tightly-controlled lab experiments, naturalistic paradigms, and observational data and integrate behavioral measures, such as emotional reactivity, with biological measures, such as brain activation. I believe this work is crucial for facilitating a deeper mechanistic understanding of affective processes, and that it will promote greater greater emotional intelligence, health, and well-being.

If you'd like to learn more about my work, feel free to browse below. You’ll find links to my published works, alongside relevant blog posts or press articles that distill this work for the broader public.

You are welcome to contact me at rsahi1@ucla.edu with any questions.

Having more virtual interaction partners during COVID-19 physical distancing measures may benefit mental health.

Razia S. Sahi | Miriam Schwyck | Carolyn Parkinson | Naomi I. Eisenbeger

Scientific Reports

Social interactions play an extremely important role in maintaining health and well‑being. The COVID‑19 pandemic and associated physical distancing measures, however, restricted the number of people one could physically interact with on a regular basis.

The comfort in touch: Immediate and lasting effects of handholding on emotional experiences.

Razia S. Sahi | Macrina C. Dieffenbach | Siyan Gan | Maya Lee | Laura I. Hazlett | Shannon M. Burns | Matthew D. Lieberman | Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory | Naomi I. Eisenberger


Consoling touch is a powerful form of social support that has been repeatedly demonstrated to reduce the experience of physical pain. However, it remains unknown whether touch reduces emotional pain in the same way that it reduces physical pain.

With a little help from my friends: Selective social potentiation of emotion regulation.

Razia S. Sahi | Emilia Ninova | Jennifer A. Silvers

Journal of Experimental Psychology: General

Decades of research has pointed to emotion regulation (ER) as a critical ingredient for health, well-being, and social functioning. However, the vast majority of this research has examined emotion regulation in a social vacuum, despite the fact that in everyday life individuals frequently regulate their emotions with help from other people.

Why don’t you like me: The role of the mentalizing network in social rejection.

Razia S. Sahi | Naomi I. Eisenberger

The Neural Basis of Mentalizing - A Social-Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Perspective (M. Gilead & K.N. Ochsner)

The pain of rejection is often tied to the way that we interpret how another person thinks or feels about us. In this review, we explore evidence from the current literature to examine the role of mentalizing, the process by which we think about and understand someone else’s thoughts and feelings, in the experience of social rejection.

Performance and belief-based emotion regulation capacity and tendency: Mapping links with cognitive flexibility and perceived stress.

J. F. Guassi Moreira | Razia S. Sahi | Emilia Ninova | Carolyn Parkinson | Jennifer A. Silvers


Cognitive reappraisal is among the most effective and well-studied emotion regulation strategies humans have at their disposal. Here, in 250 healthy adults across 2 preregistered studies, we examined whether reappraisal capacity (the ability to reappraise) and tendency (the propensity to reappraise) differentially relate to perceived stress.

It’s okay to be angry: A functionalist perspective of the dangers of over-regulating anger.

Razia S. Sahi

Special issue on emotion regulation for Philosophical Topics

Recently, the view that anger is bad, even wrong, to feel and express has gained popularity. Philosophers like Martha Nussbaum and Derk Pereboom posit that anger is fundamentally tied to a desire for retribution (i.e. getting even for past events), which they argue is immoral, counterproductive, and irrational.