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dr. S.A. (Svenja) Wolf

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Programme group Work and Organizational Psychology

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 129
  • Room number: 2.33
Postal address
  • Postbus 15919
    1001 NK Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Research

    In my research, I focus primarily on the intersection between emotions and teams in contexts such as sport, performing arts, and high-pressured work-settings (e.g., restaurant kitchens). Employing a variety of designs (e.g., longitudinal field studies; field, lab, and online experiments) and methods (e.g., questionnaires, video observation, interviews), my work centers on two main themes, (1) collective emotions and (2) ambivalent group influences on cognition, emotion, and motivation.

    Collective Emotions

    Under this theme, my first focus lies on collective emotions in sport. Here, I work to provide evidence for the existence of collective emotions in sport (e.g., statistical agreement of member responses, convergent non-verbal behaviors), their task-related and social consequences (e.g., team performance, member adherence), relevant boundary factors (e.g., member personality, emotion norms, task interdependence), and the underlying mechanisms that cause emotional congruence and convergence (e.g., team identification, emotional mimicry, socialization). 

    As a second focus, I pursue the idea of emotional conformity as a cause of emotional convergence in teams. Based on established conformity theory, I postulate, that individuals can also attend to and match their teammates' emotions (or at least their expressions) out of strategic, underlying motives, namely to gain an accurate understanding of reality, to form and maintain social relationships, and to uphold intrapersonal consonance. These motives then determine, for example, through which mechanisms emotional convergence will primarily operate and which situational properties will trigger it.

    Ambivalent Group Influences on Cognition, Emotion, and Motivation

    Under this theme, I investigate group properties that are usually regarded as either adaptive and maladaptive, for example, to team performance or member well-being, but that can, infact, also have the opposite effect. As such, I explore social responsibility as a cause of both enhanced collective motivation and members' choking under pressure, group cohesion as both a buffer against external threats to members' self-esteem and a source of internal self-esteem threats, and, as part of a collaboration, subgroups as both a danger to teams' social relationships and a facilitator of optimal task functioning.

  • Publications


    • van Kleef, G. A., Cheshin, A., Koning, L. F., & Wolf, S. A. (2019). Emotional games: How coaches' emotional expressions shape players' emotions, inferences, and team performance. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 41, 1-11.


    • Wolf, S. A., Harenberg, S., Tamminen, K., & Schmitz, H. (2018). “'Cause You Can't Play This by Yourself”: Athletes' Perceptions of Team Influence on Their Precompetitive Psychological States. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 30(2), 185-203. [details]


    • Sylvester, B. D., Lubans, D. R., Eather, N., Standage, M., Wolf, S. A., McEwan, D., ... Beauchamp, M. R. (2016). Experimental effects of variety support on exercise related well-being. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 38(Supplement), S263. [details]


    • Harenberg, S., Wolf, S. A., McCaffrey, R., & Carleton, R. N. (2016). The relationship between intolerance of uncertainty, competitive trait anxiety, and pre-competitive emotions in CIS female soccer athletes.
    • Wolf, S. A., & Feddes, A. R. (2016). Perceptions matter more than observations: Different operationalizations of team unity and their relationship to individual and team outcomes.. Poster session presented at Annual meeting of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


    • Wolf, S. A. (2016). Research Fellowship.

    Media appearance

    • Wolf, S. A. (01-05-2017). Pieken op het juiste moment. Hoe doe je dat? [Radio] NOS op 3. Interview: Pieken op het juiste moment. Hoe doe je dat?.

    Talk / presentation

    • Wolf, S. A. (speaker) (6-2016). Everything is cool when you're part of a team? Team-influence on precompetitive emotions in sport., Social Cognition Center Cologne, Germany.
    • Wolf, S. A. (speaker) (5-2016). Meet the Post-Docs., Meet the Post-docs. Invited symposium at the 20th Research Workshop of the German Association of Sport Psychology, Münster, Germany.
    • Wolf, S. A. (speaker) (1-2016). Everything is cool when you're part of a team? Emotions, groups, and group emotions in sport and physical activity., Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Department, Utah State University, Logan, USA.
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • No ancillary activities