December 19, 2013


We are interested in affective processes in psychopathologies and typically developing participants.

Currently, we are conducting a large-scale study on emotion reactivity and regulation in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and typically developing controls. The ultimate goal of this research project is to better understand emotion regulation and its neural correlates in psychopathology in order to better formulate treatment implications to improve emotional functioning in children and adolescents.

Other projects revolve around affective processes such as humor, positive emotions, and mixed emotions. For example, humor as an emotion regulation strategy has recently been examined at Stanford. Individual differences and neural correlates of humor, as well as humor in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder has been in the main focus of our group.

Hannah and Yasmin at an Recruitment Event

Andrea C. Samson, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar at the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory, Stanford University

Principal Investigator of the "Stanford Study on Emotion Reactivity and Regulation in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, and Typically Developing Participants"

see my current research interests

James J. Gross Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory, Stanford University

Antonio Hardan Head of the Autism Clinic, Stanford University Medical Center

August 27, 2012

Autism Research on Emotion Regulation at Stanford

News article about our latest research:

Autism Research at Stanford

****We are still recruiting:****
Paid Emotion Regulation Research at Stanford. Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, and Controls Needed – earn up to $200.
We are currently conducting a research study at Stanford University on emotion regulation and reactivity among children with and without an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) compared to children and adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and typically developing participants. We are recruiting children with ASD, ADHD and typically developing children (ie., children without a diagnosis of ASD, ADHD or any other psychiatric illness) between the ages of 8 and 22. The study consists of up to 5 sessions and participants will be reimbursed $30 for each session and an additional $30 if the online components (questionnaires and a daily emotion journal) are completed. The total potential cash reimbursement is up to $200. US Citizens only (must have social security number to receive payment). Please contact us at if you are interested in having your child participate.

For general information about participant rights, contact 1-866-680-2906.

October 11, 2011

Research Interests

My main research interests in affective science revolve around humor, emotion regulation, Autism Spectrum Disorder, mixed emotions, and empathy/Theory of Mind. I use several methods such as behavioral, psychophysiology and neuroimaging (fMRI) to approach various research questions in these domains. Below you find more detailed information about some of them:

HUMOR: Humor is a very important and designating ability of human beings. Since several years, including my time as a PhD student at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland), I have been and still am interested in various questions related to humor and laughter-related phenomena, such as neural correlates of humor, how stimulus characteristics affect cognitive processes involved in humor as well as the affective response, how individual differences affect humor appreciation, and whether humor can be used as a means to regulate emotions and deal with adversities in life.

Affective processes in AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER (ASD): The number of children that get diagnosed with ASD is increasing despite the lack of a cure. In addition, there remains much to be learned about this disorder, in order to better understand individuals with ASD, but also to improve the range of effective treatments. I have studied positive emotions and humor in individuals with ASD (see special issue on humor in ASD), and most recently, I am interested in emotional reactivity and emotion regulation in children and adolescents with ASD compared to typically developing participants and a psychiatric control group (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome). Studying emotion dysregulation with multiple methods in a large-scale study, may ultimately help to better understand their strengths and weaknesses in the domain of emotion regulation, and also help us to answer questions about the effectiveness of treatment implications and what we can do to target emotional disturbances and how to optimize long-term outcomes.

August 1, 2011

Press releases

Stanford psychologists find that jokes help us cope with horrifying images

Press release

Stanford researchers investigate the emotional side of autism 

Press release

January 16, 2010


Publication List Andrea Samson (43)

See also on ResearchGate

Manuscripts in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Samson, A. C., Hardan, A. Y., Podell, R. W., Phillips, J. M., & Gross, J. J. (in press). Emotion regulation in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Research.

Samson, A. C., Glassco, A., Lee, I. A., & Gross, J. J. (in press). Humorous coping and serious reappraisal: Short-term and longer-term effects. European Journal of Psychology.

Samson, A. C., Phillips, J. M., Parker, K. J., Shah, S., Gross, J. J., & Hardan, A. Y. (in press). Emotion dysregulation and the core features of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. DOI 10.1007/s10803-013-2022-5

Sheppes, G., Brady, W. J., & Samson, A. C. (in press). In (visual) search for a new distraction: The efficiency of a novel attentional deployment versus semantic meaning regulation strategies. Frontiers in Psychology.

Papousek, I., Schulter, G., Lackner, H. K., Samson, A. C., & Freudenthaler, H. H. (in press). Experimentally observed responses to humour are related to individual differences in emotion perception and regulation in everyday life.Humor: International Journal of Humor Research.

Kreibig, S. D., Samson, A. C., & Gross, J. J. (2013). The psychophysiology of mixed emotional states. Psychophysiology, 50, 8, 799–811. DOI: 10.1111/psyp.12064

Lackner, H. K., Weiss, E. M., Schulter, G., Hinghofer-Szalkay, & Samson, A. C., & Papousek, I. (2013). I got it! Transient Cardiovascular Response to the Perception of Humor. Biological Psychology, 93(1), 33-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2013.01.014

Mueller, S., Keeser, D., Samson, A. C., Kirsch, V., Blautzik, J., Grothe, M., Erat, O., Hegenloh, M., Coeates, U., Reiser, M. F., Hennig-Fast, K., & Meindl, T. (2013).Convergent findings of altered functional and structural brain connectivity in individuals with high functioning autism: a multimodal study. PLoS One, 8(6), e67329.

Papousek, I., Reiser, E., Weiss, E., Fink A., Samson, A. C., Lackner, H., & Schulter, G. (2013). State-dependent changes of prefrontal-posterior coupling in the context of affective processing: Susceptibility to humor. Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 13, 252-261. DOI: 10.3758/s13415-012-0135-5 

Papousek, I., Schulter, G., Weiss, E. M., Samson, A. C., Freudenthaler, H. H., & Lackner, H. K. (2013). Frontal brain asymmetry and transient cardiovascular responses to the perception of humor. Biological Psychology, 93(1), 114-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.12.004

Samson, A. C. (2013). Humor(lessness) elucidated - sense of humor in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Review and introduction. In: A. C. Samson (Ed.) Special Issue on Humor in Autism Spectrum Disorders. International Journal of Humor Research, 26(3), 393–409. DOI: 10.1515/humor-2013-0027

Samson, A. C. & Antonelli, Y. (2013). Humor as character strength and its relation to life satisfaction and orientation to happiness in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In: A. C. Samson (Ed.) Special Issue on Humor in Autism Spectrum Disorders. International Journal of Humor Research, 26(3), 477–491. DOI: 10.1515/humor-2013-0031

Samson, A. C., Huber, O., & Ruch, W. (2013). Seven decades after Hans Asperger's observations: a comprehensive study of humor in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In: A. C. Samson (Ed.) Special Issue on Humor in Autism Spectrum Disorders. International Journal of Humor Research, 26(3), 441 – 460. DOI: 10.1515/humor-2013-0026

Schipper, M., Kullik, A., Samson, A. C., Koglin, U., & Petermann, F. (2013). Emotionsdysregulation im Kindes- und Jugendalter [Emotiondysregulation in childhood and youth]. Psychologische Rundschau, 64(4), 228-234.   

Weiss, E. M., Gschaidbauer, B. C., Samson, A. C., Steinbäcker, K., Fink, A., & Papousek, I. (2013). From Ice Age to Madagascar: Appreciation of slapstick humor in children with Asperger’s syndrome. In: A. C. Samson (Ed.) Special Issue on Humor in Autism Spectrum Disorders. International Journal of Humor Research, 26(3), 423–440. DOI: 10.1515/humor-2013-0029

Samson, A. C. (2012). The influence of empathizing and systemizing on humor processing: Theory of Mind and humor. Humor: International Journal of Humor research, 25(1), 75-98.

Samson, A. C. & Gross, J. J. (2012). Humor as emotion regulation: The differential consequences of negative versus positive humor. Cognition & Emotion, 26, 2, 375-384. DOI: 10.1080/02699931.2011.585069

Korb, S., Grandjean, D., Samson, A. C., Delplanque, S., & Scherer, K. R. (2012). Stop laughing! Humor perception with and without expressive suppression.Social Neuroscience, 7(5), 510-524DOI: 10.1080/17470919.2012.667573

Samson, A. C., Huber, O., & Gross, J. J. (2012). Emotion regulation in Asperger’s syndrome and High Functioning Autism. Emotion, 12(4), 659-665. DOI: 10.1037/a0027975

Samson, A. C., Lackner, H. K., Weiss, E. M., & Papousek, I. (2012). Perception of Other People's Mental States Affects Humor in Social Anxiety. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 43, 625-631. DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.08.007

Samson, A. C. & Hempelmann, C. F. (2011). Jokes and cartoons with and without background incongruity: Does more required suspension of disbelief affect humor perception? Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 24(4), 167-186.

Samson, A. C., Huber, O., & Ruch, W. (2011). Teasing, ridiculing and the relation to the fear of being laughed at in individuals with Asperger’s syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41, 475-483.

Samson, A. C., Proyer, R. T., Ceschi, G., Pedrini, P. P. & Ruch, W. (2011). Fearing to be laughed at in Switzerland: Are there regional differences and what’s got Positive Psychology to do with it? Swiss Journal of Psychology, 70(2), 53-62.

Samson, A. C., Scheuerecker, J., Schoepf, V., Wiesmann, M., Meisenzahl, E., & Frodl, T. (2011). Brain activation predicts treatment improvement in patients with Major Depressive Disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 45, 1214-1222.

Samson, A. C. & Hegenloh, M. (2010). Stimulus properties affect humor processing in individuals with Asperger syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(4), 438-447.

Samson, A. C. & Huber, O. W. (2010). Short German versions of empathizing and systemizing self-assessment scales. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 69(4), 239-244.

Samson, A. C. & Meyer, Y. N. (2010). Perception of aggressive humor in relation to gelotophobia, gelotophilia and katagelasticism. Special issue, Psychological Test and Assessment Modeling, 52(2), 217-230.

Samson, A. C., Thibault, P., Proyer, R. T. & Ruch, W. (2010). The subjective assessment of the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia): French adaptation of the GELOPH<15> questionnaireEuropean Review of Applied Psychology / Revue Européenne de Psychologie Appliquée, 60, 4, 247-253.

Proyer, R. T., Ruch, W., Ali, N. S., Al-Olimat, H. S., Amemiya, T., . . . Samson, A. C., . . . Ruch, W. (2009). Breaking ground in cross-cultural research on the fear of being laughed at (gelotophobia): A multi-national study involving 73 countries.Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 22(1-2), 253–279.

Samson, A. C., Hempelmann, C. F., Huber, O. & Zysset, S. (2009). Neural substrates of incongruity-resolution and nonsense humor. Neuropsychologia, 47, 1023-1033.

Samson, A. C., Zysset, S. & Huber, O. (2008). Cognitive humor processing: Different logical mechanisms in non-verbal cartoons – an fMRI study. Social Neuroscience, 3(2), 125-140.

Samson, A. C. & Huber, O. (2007). The interaction of cartoonist’s gender and formal features of cartoons. Humor: International Journal of Humor Research, 20(1), 1-25.

Zysset, S., Huber, O., Samson, A., Ferstl, E. C. & von Cramon, D. Y. (2003). Functional specialization within the anterior medial prefrontal cortex: a functional magnetic resonance imaging study with human subjects.Neuroscience Letters, 335, 183-186.

Samson, A. C. (2009). Cognitive and Neural Humor Processing: Stimulus characteristics and Theory of Mind. PhD ThesisUniversity of Fribourg,Switzerland.

Samson, A. C. (2003). Humor und Cartoons: Der Einfluss des Geschlechtes auf die Stilelemente von Cartoonisten und Cartoonistinnen [Humor and cartoons: The impact of gender on style elements of cartoonists]. Lizentiat. University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Book chapters
Samson, A. C. (in press). Brain and Humor. In S. Attardo (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Humor: A Social History. 

Samson, A. C. (in press). Psychiatric disorders. In S. Attardo (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Humor: A Social History. 

Samson, A. C. (in press). Stimulus characteristics. In S. Attardo (Ed.). Encyclopedia of Humor: A Social History.

Samson, A. C. & Gross, J. J. (2014). The dark and light sides of humor: an emotion regulation perspective. In J. Gruber & J. Moskowitz (Eds.): The Dark and Light Sides of Positive Emotion (pp. 169-182). New York: Oxford University Press.

Beermann, U. & Samson, A. C. (2012). Humor: Haben Sie bitte Spass! [Humor: Please have fun!]. In: R. Zihlmann, D. Jungo, & Ch. Steinebach (Eds.). Positive Psychologie in der Praxis (pp. 68-75). Weinheim: Beltz.

Hempelmann, C. F. & Samson, A. C. (2008). Cartoons: Drawn Jokes? In: V. Raskin (Ed.). The Primer of Humor Research (pp. 609-640). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Hempelmann, C. F. & Samson, A. C. (2007). Visual punning: merely analogical description or similar pseudological mechanism? In S. Attardo & D. Popa (Eds). New Approaches to the Linguistics of Humor (pp. 180-196). Galati: Dunarea de Jos.

Non peer-reviewed
Samson, A. C. & Beermann, U. (2006). Humor und Lachen: Wonach suchen Humorforscher? [Humor and Laughter: What are humor researchers looking for?] Psychoscope, 9, 10-12.