Kate Petrova is a first-year PhD student at the Stanford Psychophysiology Laboratory. Her research encompasses two broad domains: basic questions about the nature of emotion as well as applied research at the intersection of affective science and social psychology. Her current interests include how different ways of paying attention to and labeling affective experiences shape emotion regulation. She is also curious about how people regulate their own and others’ emotions in naturalistic social interactions. Kate’s other interests include empathic processes in virtual communication, lay theories of emotion, and the development of emotion regulation across the lifespan. Kate earned her A.B. in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College and spent several years working on the Harvard Study of Adult Development before joining SPL.

Education & Certifications

  • A.B., Bryn Mawr College, Psychology and Neuroscience (2020)

Work Experience

  • Research Assistant, Harvard Study of Adult Development


    United States

All Publications

  • Self-Distancing and Avoidance Mediate the Links Between Trait Mindfulness and Responses to Emotional Challenges MINDFULNESS Petrova, K., Nevarez, M. D., Waldinger, R. J., Preacher, K. J., Schulz, M. S. 2021; 12 (4): 947-958


    Mindfulness has been linked to better emotion regulation and more adaptive responses to stress across a number of studies, but the mechanisms underlying these links remain to be fully understood. The present study examines links between trait mindfulness (Five Facets of Mindfulness Questionnaire; FFMQ) and participants' responses to common emotional challenges, focusing specifically on the roles of reduced avoidance and more self-distanced engagement as key potential mechanisms driving the adaptive benefits of trait mindfulness.Adults (n = 305, age range: 40-72) from the Second Generation Study of the Harvard Study of Adult Development completed two laboratory-based challenges - public speaking combined with difficult math tasks (the Trier Social Stress Test) and writing about a memory of a difficult moment. State anxiety and sadness were assessed immediately before and after the two stressors. To capture different ways of engaging, measures of self-distancing, avoidance, and persistent worry were collected during the lab session.As predicted, individuals who scored higher on the FFMQ experienced less anxiety and persistent worry in response to the social stressors. The FFMQ was also linked to less anxiety and sadness when writing about a difficult moment. The links between mindfulness and negative emotions after the writing task were independently mediated by self-distanced engagement and lower avoidance.Affective benefits of trait mindfulness under stress are associated with both the degree and the nature of emotional engagement. Specifically, reduced avoidance and self-distanced engagement may facilitate reflection on negative experiences that is less affectively aversive.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s12671-020-01559-4

    View details for Web of Science ID 000606410800001

    View details for PubMedID 34149956

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC8210843

  • Coherence Between Feelings and Heart Rate: Links to Early Adversity and Responses to Stress Affective Science Petrova, K., Nevarez, M. D., Rice, J., Waldinger, R. J., Preacher, K. J., Schulz, M. S. 2021; 2 (1): 1–13