Lynn Smith-Lovin

Lynn Smith-Lovin

Robert L. Wilson Professor Distinguished of Sociology in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

External address: 
339 Soc/Psych Bldg, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
Internal office address: 
Box 90088, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708-0088
(919) 660-5786


I study emotion, identity, and action. I’m interested in the basic question of how identities affect social interaction. I use experimental, observational, survey and simulation methods to describe how identities, actions and emotions are interrelated. The experiments I do usually involve creating social situations where unusual things happen to people, then seeing how they respond behaviorally or emotionally. I observe small task group interactions to see how identities influence conversational behavior. My survey work often focuses on gender and other social positions that influence the groups and networks in which people are imbedded. My simulations studies involve affect control theory, a mathematical model of how identities, actions and emotions affect one another. Now, I’m putting affect control theory together with McPherson’s ecological theory of affiliation to show how social systems, identities, and emotional experience are connected.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1978

  • M.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1976

  • B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1972

Selected Grants

Self and Interaction in an Ecology of Identities awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2003 to 2005

The Relationship Between Networks and Voluntary Groups: A Proposal of Replication of the General Social Survey Voluntary awarded by National Science Foundation (Co-Principal Investigator). 2003 to 2005


Smith-Lovin, L. “"Status, power and emotion: Commentary".” Social Structure and Emotion, edited by Jody Clay-Warner and Dawn T. Robinson, Academic Press, 2008, pp. 13–20.

Smith-Lovin, L., and Dawn T. Robinson. “"Affect Control Theory".” Contemporary Social Psychological Theories, edited by Peter J. Burke, Stanford CA: Stanford University Press, 2006, pp. 137–64.

McPherson, Miller, and L. Smith-Lovin. “Social Networks.” Youth Activism: An International Encyclopedia, edited by Lonnie R. Sherrod, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006.

Smith-Lovin, L., et al. “"Affect Control Theory".” Handbook of the Sociology of Emotions, edited by Jan E. Stets and Jonathan H. Turner, Springer, 2006, pp. 179–202.

Wisecup, Allison, et al. “"Sociology of Emotions".” Handbook of 21st Century Sociology, edited by Dennis L. Peck and Clifton D. Bryant, Sage Publications, 2006, pp. 106–15.

Smith-Lovin, L., and Dawn T. Robinson. “"Control Theories of Identity, Action and Emotion.".” Purpose, Meaning and Action: Control Systems Theories in Sociology, edited by Kent A. McClelland and Thomas J. Fararo, Palgrave MacMillan, 2006, pp. 163–88.

Smith-Lovin, L. ““Affect Control Theory.”.” Handbook of Social Theory, edited by George Ritzer, Sage, 2005.

Smith-Lovin, L. “Foreword.” The Sociology of Emotions, edited by J. H. Turner and J. E. Stets, Stanford University Press, 2005.

Smith-Lovin, L. ““Social psychology.”.” Blackwell Companion to Sociology, edited by Judith Blau, Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2000.

Smith-Lovin, L. ““Sociology of emotions.”.” Encyclopedia of Human Emotions, edited by David Levinson et al., New York: Macmillan., 1999.


Owens, T. J., et al. “Three faces of identity.” Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 36, Aug. 2010, pp. 477–99. Scopus, doi:10.1146/annurev.soc.34.040507.134725. Full Text

Smith-Lovin, L., et al. “"The Many Faces of Identity".” Annual Review of Sociology, vol. 36, 2010, pp. 477–99.

McPherson, M., et al. “Models and marginals: Using survey evidence to study social networks.” American Sociological Review, vol. 74, no. 4, Dec. 2009, pp. 670–81. Scopus, doi:10.1177/000312240907400409. Full Text

Mark, Noah P., et al. “Why do nominal characteristics acquire status value? A minimal explanation for status construction..” Ajs; American Journal of Sociology, vol. 115, no. 3, Nov. 2009, pp. 832–62. Epmc, doi:10.1086/606142. Full Text Open Access Copy

Smith-Lovin, L., et al. “"Loosening the ties that bind".” Contexts, 2008.

McPherson, M., et al. “Social isolation in America: Changes in core discussion networks over two decades.” American Sociological Review, vol. 71, no. 3, Jan. 2006, pp. 353–75. Scopus, doi:10.1177/000312240607100301. Full Text

Smith Lovin, L. “Introduction of Karen S. Cook: Recipient of the 2004 Cooley-Mead Award.” Social Psychology Quarterly, vol. 68, no. 1, Jan. 2005, pp. 1–3. Scopus, doi:10.1177/019027250506800101. Full Text

Smith-Lovin, L., et al. “"Gender Identity Recognition and Task Performance".” Advances in Group Processes: Social Identification in Groups, edited by Shane Thye and Edward Lawler, vol. 22, Elsevier Ltd, 2005, pp. 177–201.