W. Jake Jacobs

W. Jake Jacobs's picture
Real name: 
Director, Anxiety Research Group
(520) 626-4825
Psychology 529
Research Interests: 


  • Hot/Cool emotional states (e.g., fear, anxiety, satisfaction: learning/remembering, cognitive mapping),
  • Interactions among Hot/Cool system (e.g., instrumental learning, classical conditioning, and habitual modes of responding) that produce
  • Automatic/habitual states (e.g., procedural/skill or automatic habits)

I am interested in interactions among hot emotional states (e.g., fear, anxiety, satisfaction); cool cognitive states (e.g., learning/remembering, cognitive mapping), neutral automatic states (e.g., procedural/skill or automatic habits); and interactions among them (e.g., instrumental learning, classical conditioning, and habitual modes of responding). At the individual level our interests manifest in the study of acquisition of rule governance, cognitive mapping, and habitual compliance/obedience/adherence (etc.) to rules.  At the societal level our interests manifest in understanding the role of acquired norms/rules/memes in cultural stability and evolution. At the theoretical level, we attempt to link our behavioral findings to neural states that may underpin hot systems, cool systems, and systems of habits. 

Selected Publications: 

Jacobs, W. J. & Nadel, L. (1985). Stress induced recovery of fears and phobias. Psychological Review, 92, 512-531.

Metcalfe, J., & Jacobs, W. J. (2000). Can 'Hot' Human Emotions be captured by 'Cool' Mathematical Models? In E. Tulving (Ed.), Memory, Consciousness, and the Brain: The Tallinn Conference (pp. 228-242). Philadelphia: Psychology Press.

Doll, B., Jacobs, W. J., Sanfey, A., & Frank, M. (2009). Instructional control of reinforcement learning: A behavioral and computational investigation. Brain Research, 1299, 74-94.

Jacobs, W. J., Sisco , M., Hill, D. Malter , F. & Figueredo, A. J. (2012). On the Practice of Theory-based Evaluation: Information, Norms, and Adherence,  Evaluation and Program Planning, 35, 354-369.

Brown, S. D., Furrow, D., Hill, D. F., Gable, J. C., Porter, L. P., & Jacobs, W. J. (2014). A Duty to Describe: Better the Devil You Know Than the Devil You Don't. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9, 626 – 640.

Adams, T. G., ., Lohr, J. M., & Jacobs, W. J. (2015). A meta-analysis of CBT components for anxiety disorders. Behavior Therapist, 87-97.

Research Area: 
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