Issue 1 – Student Committee Update

SAS Student Committee Update

The SAS student committee (“SASSC”) plays an integral role in our society’s functioning. We highlight our student committee’s ongoing contributions to the SAS student body and the broader SAS community as a whole. This edition’s update was written by SASSC Secretary Dasha Yermol, and SASSC Vice-Chair Jordan Wylie.

Are you looking for an opportunity to network with other students, have some free time in between talks, or just trying to take a break from all the back-to-back Zoom sessions? If you answered “yes” to any (or all) of those questions, come join us in the GatherTown Student Lounge! The 2022 student lounge will be packed with activities to connect with fellow conference-goers. So, stop by to upregulate your positive emotions with a friendly game of Tetris or Pictionary, and grab a *virtual* beer with someone new; after all, chatting with a stranger can be considered a “micro-moment of love” (Sandstrom, SAS 2021).

The SAS Student Committee is also hosting two salons for undergraduate and graduate students this year. Undergraduates, get ready to chat with current graduate students about the ins and outs of grad school; and graduate students, don’t miss our salon geared towards postdoctoral and industry opportunities. Both salons will be very interactive so come with questions and comments!

Finally, let’s not forget about the opportunity to connect one-on-one. Folks at all career stages are welcome to meet at a virtual table to share their advice and experiences in the field of affective science, the current project you’re working on, or even the cutest photos of your pets. We can’t wait to spark up some lively conversations at the student lounge this year! See you all there!

To keep up with all of the SAS Student Committee news, follow us on Twitter (@SASstudents) and join our Facebook group (Society for Affective Science Students & Trainees).

Issue 1 – Student Spotlight

Angela M. Smith

Do you know a student (undergrad or graduate) who should be featured for their contribution to the study of affective science? Submit your nominations to

For our inaugural student spotlight, we are excited to feature the contributions and work of Angela Smith, the current Chair of the Society for Affective Science Student Committee (SASSC).

Angela Smith is a third-year PhD student in the social/personality psychology program at the University of Toronto working with Dr. Brett Ford in the Affective Science and Health Laboratory. Their research examines the ways in which emotion and emotion regulation are influenced by socioeconomic and cultural factors, and how this, in turn, influences physical and psychological health. Additionally, they are interested in the role that emotion regulation plays in the contexts of politics and social justice. Their work has been published in some of our field’s prominent outlets, including Psychological Science and Psychosomatic Medicine.

In addition to their exemplary research, Angela has been actively involved with SAS for the last several years – starting as the executive secretary for SASSC (2019-2021), moving up to vice chair (2020-2021), and now chair (2021-2022). In addition to their work with SASSC, Angela was also actively involved with planning the Emotion Regulation Pre-Conference at SAS in 2019. During this time, Angela has been a true advocate for students. To name a few, they successfully spearheaded a joint initiative creating the 2022 diversity award program for graduate students and postdocs, helped to create a video series highlighting the diversity of SAS’s student membership, and organized a series of student-focused salons that will be part of the official programming at SAS 2022.

As this year’s SASSC chair, Angela is excited to continue working with students and faculty to increase and highlight the diversity within the SAS community — and they hope to see you at SAS 2022 in April!

Issue 1 – Science Feature

By Dr. Katie Hoemann, KU Leuven

An inside look at interoception: How does it matter for our emotions during stress?

“How do you feel right now?” Many of us might answer this question by focusing on what’s going on in our minds – our thoughts, expectations, or hopes. However, what’s going on in our bodies – including how well we attend to it and what we believe about it – has a larger effect on our current emotional experience than we might think.

Interoception – how the brain and mind perceive and interpret internal physiological changes – is a hot topic in affective science. Although it was first introduced in the early 20th Century, interest in interoception has sky-rocketed in the past couple of decades. For example, a search of Google Ngram Viewer over the past 100 years shows an almost 600% increase in the incidence of the term since 2010 alone:

Despite its popularity, interoception remains poorly understood as the field grapples with its related constructs and the best ways to measure them. Interoception is most popularly measured as objective accuracy in detecting internal physiological changes (i.e., interoceptive ability) or as self-characterized awareness of bodily sensations (i.e., interoceptive sensibility). Yet people can also hold interoceptive beliefs about bodily sensations’ value or harm, and these beliefs might help shape how interoceptive signals are attended to and used. A test of the relationships between interoceptive ability, sensibility, and beliefs, and the role they play in linking physiological changes to emotional experience, could shed new light on the connection between body and mind.

2021 Best Dissertation in Affective Science Award winner Dr. Jennifer MacCormack performed just such a test. She conducted a large, laboratory-based study of physiological reactivity, emotional experience, and these three aspects of interoception (ability, sensibility, beliefs) in the context of an acute stress induction, putting over 200 healthy young adults through the Trier Social Stress Test. Dr. MacCormack’s aim was to clarify: What matters more for predicting emotional intensity – individuals’ physiological reactivity; how accurately they can detect physiological changes; whether they think they are sensitive to their bodies; or what they believe about their bodily sensations?

In line with past work, Dr. MacCormack found that greater physiological reactivity was related to more intense negative, high arousal emotions during the stressor task. In contrast, greater interoceptive ability was related to less intense negative, high arousal emotions while interoceptive sensibility was unrelated. Perhaps counterintuitively, interoceptive beliefs were the most consistent and robust predictor of acute stress experiences. Individuals with more positive interoceptive beliefs had less intense negative, high arousal emotions and these beliefs moderated the relation between physiological reactivity and subjective stress.

Methodologically, Dr. MacCormack’s dissertation brings clarity to research on interoception. Most studies focus on only one measure of interoception at a time and do not control for potential confounds with physiological reactivity, while also relying on image or film clip emotion inductions. Simultaneously examining multiple interoceptive constructs and physiological reactivity together in the context of an acute stressor

Theoretically, Dr. MacCormack’s findings suggest that although physiological changes and the ability to detect them matter for acute stress experiences, a priori beliefs about those physiological changes may matter more. Because interoceptive beliefs are likely acquired throughout life, they can also likely be changed to promote adaptive (i.e., less stressed) experiences. Her work dovetails with other research suggesting that the beliefs we hold – be they about our emotions (Ford & Gross, 2019), stress (Crum et al., 2017), or physiological arousal (Jamieson et al., 2010) – impact our bodily and affective states, for good and ill. On the whole, this work opens new research questions about intersections between psychopathology, development, and health, and the role our bodies play in these psychological processes.


Crum, A. J., Akinola, M., Martin, A., & Fath, S. (2017). The role of stress mindset in shaping cognitive, emotional, and physiological responses to challenging and threatening stress. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 30, 379–395.

Ford, B. Q., & Gross, J. J. (2019). Why beliefs about emotion matter: An emotion-regulation perspective. Current Directions in Psychological Science28(1), 74-81.

Jamieson, J. P., Mendes, W. B., Blackstock, E., & Schmader, T. (2010). Turning the knots in your stomach into bows: Reappraising arousal improves performance on the GRE. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46, 208–212.

MacCormack, J. K. (2020). Minding the body: The role of interoception in linking physiology and emotion during acute stress. Dissertation, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

MacCormack, J. K., Bonar, A. S., & Lindquist, K. A. (under review). Interoceptive beliefs moderate the link between physiological reactivity and emotion during an acute stressor.

Issue 1 – 4 and a Half Questions

…With Your SAS President

Meet Professor Elaine Fox, the 2021 SAS President. Elaine answers questions about research, the future of affective science, and what does the SAS President do, anyway?

Professor Maya Tamir will be SAS President in 2022 – stay tuned for 4 and a Half Questions with her!

February 2022