Keynote Debate

Friday, March 1, 2024

What do we learn about emotions from neural decoding studies?

Ajay Satpute, Northeastern University, USA

The Brain Basis of Emotion: A Category Construction Problem

Scientists seek to uncover conclusions about the world that exist beyond the means of discovery. Psychological scientists know how challenging this goal can be. In this talk, I’ll critically assess the evidence from decoding studies suggesting emotions are categorically represented in the brain. I propose that such conclusions may depend on the methodologies employed in these studies.

Phil Kragel, Emory University, USA

Neuroimaging Reveals Distributed Brain Representations of Emotion Categories

Humans effortlessly categorize and label emotional experiences. However, the neural processes that underlie emotion remain contentious. Framing neuroimaging as a pattern recognition problem clarifies how brain states reflect distinct aspects of emotion. In this talk, I will present evidence that representations of emotion are distributed across brain systems and enable inferences about human behavior across individuals and studies.

Diversity Symposium

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Anthony D. Ong, Cornell University

Capturing Dynamic Processes at the Interface of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture:  Insights from Affective Science 

A little over fifty years ago, stress and coping researchers began writing about everyday stressful experiences. A key insight was that minor daily stressors can predict health outcomes beyond major life events alone. Perhaps the most important consequence of accepting this insight was that dynamic processes related to cumulative stress exposure could be distinguished from static personal traits. The success of conceptualizing daily stressors as unfolding phenomena led to widespread interest in dynamic parameters such as reactivity, recovery, and complexity to understand health disparities. A similar transformation may be on the horizon with the integration of affective science into research on race, ethnicity, and culture. It is likely that multiple time-scale designs, coupled with measures of intraindividual variability and analytic methods for modeling within-person dynamics, may inform powerful new models of cultural mental health.  Such approaches may allow the distilling of stable markers of vulnerability and resilience from parameters of dynamic affective processes. This talk invites researchers across disciplines to explore how affective science can enhance understanding of racial, ethnic, and cultural variations in well-being.

TED-Style Talks

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Affect Around the World

Vivian Dzokoto, Virginia Commonwealth University

If You Are Too Emotional, You Suffer: West African Views of Affect and Emotion

This talk will highlight norms concerning linguistic, regulation, and attentional bias characteristics of affective experience, expression and communication observed in West African settings. These examples of cultural variation in Emotion Norms have implications for global understandings of affect, emotion regulation, and mental health.

José-Miguel Fernandez-Dols, The Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain

A Foreign View of Affect and Emotion

Foreigners like me, if they are lucky enough, are natural guests at a cosmopolitan event. It so happens that this particular cosmopolitan event explores a cosmopolitan view of affect. My talk is about how my foreignness influences my views in this field, and how those views have compelled me and my collaborators to push for a worldly approach to the many ways through which humans experience, represent, and express what Western academia calls “affect” and “emotion”.

Sun Yoon, Sungkyunkwan University, Korea

Emotion Regulation in East Asian Cultural Contexts

My talk will explore how culture influences our attitudes towards emotions, their regulation processes, and consequences, with a focus on East Asian cultures. As a Korean researcher trained in the US and now back in South Korea, I also aim to share my personal journey of how this transition drew me into research on cultural differences in emotion and emotion regulation.

Eunsoo Choi, Korea University, Korea

Anger You Cannot Express

In this presentation, I will discuss a distinctive emotional experience that can be comprehended within the framework of Korean culture. I will introduce a specific emotional cultural script for situations in which individuals couldn’t resist enduring prolonged unfairness. The talk will delve into emotional experiences and associated psychopathology to illuminate the intricate interplay between emotion and culture.

Awards Symposia

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Best Dissertation in Affective Science Award

Daphne Yunjing Liu, University of Denver

Interpersonal Emotion Regulation in Depression: Characteristics, Benefits, and Implications

People with major depressive disorder (MDD) have difficulty regulating emotion on their own. It is important to examine whether these difficulties extend to how they utilize social resources to regulate emotion, or interpersonal emotion regulation (IER). My research focuses on everyday IER among adults with depressive psychopathology using experience sampling. The findings shed light on the characteristics and utility of everyday IER in those with MDD.

Sean Dae Houlihan, MIT, Dartmouth

Reverse-Engineering Human Emotion Understanding

Human emotion understanding can show remarkable sophistication and also dramatic limitations. Situating emotion concepts in a Bayesian Theory of Mind reveals that these seemingly irreconcilable characteristics share common mechanisms. I show how probabilistic programs can reverse-engineer emotion understanding, simultaneously generating insight into the human mind and tools for building social AI.

Early-Career in Affective Science Award

Jonathan Stange, University of Southern California

Intensively Sampling the Physiology of Affect Regulation to Inform Mechanisms and Intervention Targets in Everyday Life

Affect regulation and physiological flexibility often are disrupted in affective disorders. This talk will highlight recent work demonstrating how physiology changes in the moments before affective distress, and how physiology responds to regulation in everyday life. These methods can shine light on potential mechanisms of affect dysregulation, with implications for novel intervention targets.

Mid-Career Trajectory in Affective Science Award

Naomi Eisenberger, University of California, Los Angeles

Dissecting the Caregiving System: A Closer Look at the Effect of Prosocial Behavior on Emotion, Well-Being, and Health

Humans and other mammalian species will go to great lengths to engage in prosocial behaviors, helping others even when it comes at a cost to themselves. While these types of other-focused behaviors can seem surprising to some, they are thought to be deeply rooted in the mammalian caregiving system, which serves to prioritize the needs of offspring. In this talk, I will explore some of the interesting consequences of the mammalian caregiving system, which reinforces these other-focused behaviors. First, I will show that engaging in prosocial behavior activates neural regions that also play a role in both reward and caregiving behavior and serve to reinforce this behavior. Second, based on the ability of the caregiving system to attenuate threat-responses in the caregiver, I will explore the ability of prosocial behavior to reduce stress responding in the caregiver and the consequences of such effects for physical and mental health. Finally, I will discuss some of the more nuanced experiential differences between prosocial reward and other types of self-focused reward and highlight future directions to disentangle these rewarding experiences.

Keynote Symposium

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Affect

Laura Silva, Université Laval

Who’s Afraid of Philosophy of Emotion? Promises, Challenges, and a New Concern for Justice

In this talk I will introduce philosophy of emotion and outline what it has to offer the interdisciplinary study of emotion (spoiler: a lot!). I will also highlight challenges that may arise when psychologists and philosophers try to work together and make some suggestions as to how we might overcome them. I will focus on ‘traditional’ philosophy of emotion but also on the more recent feminist, or critical, approaches to the philosophy of emotion that I believe are particularly relevant to future work in the affective sciences.

Richard Firth Godbehere, Queen Mary University, London

The Feeling of What Happened: How Emotions Can Have a History

This talk will discuss how history uses emotions and why it is important. For a long time, emotions were, at best, taken for granted in history and, at worst, excluded from historiography altogether. The great irony is that history has shown that “emotions” are not only Anglocentric but historically contingent. This presentation aims to demonstrate why feelings should be a part of any investigation into the past and why it is important to understand them from the point of view of people in the past rather than force modern emotional ideas onto them.

Terry Maroney, Vanderbilt University

What Judges Feel: Investigating the Emotional Elements of Judging

Judges’ emotions infuse how they rule, a reality that sits uncomfortably with the cultural notion that emotions corrode impartiality. Here, I’ll preview my forthcoming book and present a decade-long mixed-methods study of both state and federal judges in the U.S. Data reveal how judges experience emotion in the course of their work, the range of emotion regulation strategies they use to shape their emotional experiences/expressions, how those emotions affect their work, and how emotion fits into their identities.

Presidential Symposium

Sunday, March 3, 2024

‘A’ffecting Change

The Presidential Symposium will be centered around the idea of how we move our research out of the lab to effect real change in the world. We are hoping to inspire people with real examples of the change we – as academics – are making in the world. Our speakers will talk about their efforts to extend their work to effect change in different domains, including popular media, education, and law. They will share their experiences engaging in this translational work, including their motivation for engaging in these efforts, and the challenges they experienced along the way.

Modupe Akinola, Columbia University

Podcast and Stress Coach and Consultant…Oh My!

I will share my journey hosting the TED Business Podcast, serving as Chris Hemsworth’s stress coach in the National Geographic series “Limitless”, advising Disney in their culture change efforts, and managing the realities of academic life during a pandemic and a racial reckoning.

Adam Bryant Miller , RTI International (Research Triangle Institute)

Suicide Prevention From a Multidisciplinary Lens

Suicidal ideation and behavior are high among adolescents, particularly among girls and minoritized youth. My research leverages tools and techniques from several disciplines, including developmental psychopathology and developmental cognitive neuroscience, to address this pressing public health concern. This talk will focus on how I attempt to balance clinical application with basic scientific inquiry in my research.

Leah Somerville, Harvard University

Using Neuroscience and Affective Science to Impact Juvenile Justice

The American criminal system deems a person an adult on their eighteenth birthday, but many areas of research – including affective science – have shown us that we continue to develop well beyond. In my talk, I will describe how affective science and neuroscience have been invoked to impact policies and laws surrounding youth, along with the difficulties in translating basic science to policy spaces.

Laurie Santos, Yale University

Best Practices for Communicating Psychological Insights with Large Audiences

In this talk, I’ll share what I’ve learned to date about communicating the science of well-being with an audience of millions of learners. I’ll explore the best practices I’ve discovered for sharing evidence-based insights for improving emotional well-being across a number of different platforms: from massive-open online courses to podcasts to (most recently) children’s television shows.

Thank you to our Sponsors & Exhibitors