Emotion: An Interdisciplinary Symposium

This symposium will describe cross-disciplinary approaches to the conceptualizations and study of emotion. The event will feature Daniel Gross, Associate Professor of English, University of California at Irvine; Stephanie Preston, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Michigan; and Jeffrey Cohn, Professor of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh.

From a cognitive science perspective, Dr. Preston assumes that stable emotion prototypes and corresponding neural correlates exist, and explain the common belief in "basic emotions." However, because neural systems are dynamic and construct representations are online, such measurements are highly sensitive to context and experience, and more consistent with non-discrete emotion theories and sociological views. Understanding neural systems allows us to appreciate both sides of a typically contentious debate.

Professor Cohn will discuss emotion from the perspective of affective computing. He develops advanced methods of automatic analysis and synthesis of emotion expression and applies them to the study of emotion, social development, and psychopathology. Dr. Cohn will discuss his theoretical approach that integrates basic emotions and dimensional perspectives with a strong emphasis on interpersonal mechanisms.

Dr. Gross will discuss Charles Darwin's The expression of the emotions in man and animals (1872), a work that has been rediscovered with the rise of emotion studies across disciplines. Darwin's work has been rediscovered primarily as foundational science that established a method for recognizing the expression of emotions in the face. Strangely unnoticed is how Darwin worked on the emotions from a humanities perspective, which runs deeply into his methodology. In the talk I will draw out this humanities perspective still relevant today across the disciplines, focusing on Darwin's treatment of the sympathy so important to the Victorian culture in which he lived and wrote. [Note: Dr. Gross will also be lecture on Martin Heidegger on April 8. Click here for more information.]

This event is also sponsored by the Department of Communications, the Department of English, the Department of Psychology, and the Humanities Center. For more information, contact Daniel Shaw at danielshaw@pitt.edu.


Thursday, April 7, 2016 - 3:00pm

Location and Address

Martin Auditorium, 4th Floor, Sennott Square