We are excited to announce that there will be three preconferences affiliated with the 2020 SAS conference! More information about the preconferences will be updated on this page.

For general inquiries about the preconferences, please contact Maital Neta at and Ajay Satpute at

Emotions, Brain, and the Microbiome

OrganizerLisa Aziz-Zadeh (University of Southern California)

A growing number of studies support the concept that gut microbiota can signal to the brain by neural, endocrine, immune, and hormonal pathways. These microbial effects on the brain may modulate outputs in behavior and emotions, as well as in autonomic and neuroendocrine function. These may effect not only behaviors in typical populations, but also may influence neuropsychological disorders such as anxiety and depression. Here we discuss the interaction between the gut microbiome, the brain, and affective behavior, discuss recent findings in both animals and humans, and relate these to clinical disorders.

Emotion Regulation

OrganizersBrett Q. Ford (University of Toronto), Gal Sheppes (Tel Aviv University), James Gross (Stanford University), Maital Neta (University of Nebreska-Lincoln)

The Emotion Regulation Pre-Conference will feature emotion regulation research from various disciplines and topics, consider emotion regulation from different perspectives, and share exciting new findings and methods. It will feature a range of formats from short talks to panel discussions to breakout groups. All presentations will be invited. Our goal is to have fun, build connections among those interested in emotion regulation (faculty, post-docs, students), and share ideas about new directions in emotion regulation research. This year’s program includes a methods spotlight on the use EMA (ecological momentary assessment) in emotion regulation research.

Positive Emotions

OrganizerElise Kalokerinos (University of Melbourne)

The Seventh Annual SAS Positive Emotions Pre-Conference will feature state-of-the-science research on positive emotions. The Positive Emotions Pre-Conference is designed to bring researchers together from a variety of fields to advance the science of positive emotions using a data-centric approach. We encourage thinking, discussing, and integrating across disciplines, and feature speakers who range across research lab traditions to promote diversity in positive-emotion research. This year’s pre-conference will feature talks showcasing the latest findings in the field and ample opportunities for collaborative discussions and for attendees to connect with one another. Highlights include an interactive panel on big data in positive affective science, featuring speakers from both academia and industry, and a series of invited talks focusing on new and unpublished work. The preconference also features submitted flash talks and posters, and offers prizes for the best flash talk and posters presented by trainees.