Shelly Gable

Shelly Gable

Professor and Chair

Research Area

Social Psychology


Shelly Gable received a BA in Psychology from Muhlenberg College and a Master of Arts in Psychology from the College of William & Mary. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Rochester in 2000. She began her career in 2000 as an Assistant Professor at UCLA where she earned tenure and co-founded the Interdisciplinary Relationship Science Program before joining the faculty at UCSB in January 2007. Dr. Gable’s research focuses on motivation, close relationships, and positive emotions. Her work has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Positive Psychology Network. She is currently funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER grant for newer investigators. She serves on the editorial board of several journals and received a distinguished teaching award from the Psychology Department at UCLA. In 2005 she received the Early Career Award from the Close Relationships Group of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology; and in 2006 she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President George W. Bush.


My current research focuses on appetitive and aversive motivation in social interaction and close relationships. I am particularly interested in how approach and avoidance social motives contribute to the course and quality of social interactions and close relationships. My research also examines the positive aspects of close relationships and their role in physical and emotional health.

Selected Publications

Maisel N. & Gable, S. L. (2009). The paradox of received social support: The importance of responsiveness. Psychological Science, 20, 928-932.

Gable, S. L, & Poore, J. (2008). Which thoughts count? Algorithms for evaluating satisfaction in relationships. Psychological Science, 19, 1030-1036

Algoe, S., Haidt, J., & Gable, S. L. (2008). Beyond reciprocity: Gratitude and relationships in everyday life. Emotion, 8, 425-429.

Impett, E., Strachman, A., Finkel, E. & Gable, S. L. (2008). Maintaining Sexual Desire in Intimate Relationships: The Importance of Approach Goals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 808-823.

Scinta, A. & Gable, S. L. (2007). Implicit attitudes about romantic partners. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 1008-1022.

Gable, S. L., Gonzaga, G., & Strachman, A. (2006). Will you be there for me when things go right? Social Support for Positive Events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 91, 904-917.

Gable, S. L. (2006). Approach and avoidance social motives and goals. Journal of Personality, 71, 175-222.

Gable, S. L. & Haidt, J. (2005). What (and why) is Positive Psychology? Review of General Psychology, 9, 103-110.

Gable, S. L., Reis, H. T., Impett, E., & Asher, E. R. (2004). What do you do when things go right? The intrapersonal and interpersonal benefits of sharing positive events. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 228-245.

Gable, S. L., Reis, H. T., & Elliot, A. J. (2000). Behavioral activation and inhibition in everyday life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 78, 1135-1149.