Hot cognition: how emotions shape information processing

NVP Mini Symposium
23rd October 2014
University of Amsterdam

Influential theories have argued that affective processing is fundamentally different from cognitive processing. Where and on what basis should theorists draw the line between cognition and emotion, and when is it useful to do so? This symposium compiles different viewpoints on fundamental issues in the relationship between affect and cognition.

  1. If you want to attend the symposium, register here. Limited seats are available.
  2. Are you a Master or PhD student and do you want to give a poster presentation? Submit your abstract here before September 23d, 2014 and then also register via the link above. The best poster will be awarded with 100 euro!
  3. All attendants and presenters need to be members of NVP. If you want to become a member, register here.

13:00-13:15 Welcome and NVP research popularization award
13:15-14:00 Bruno Bocanegra
14:15-15:00 Agneta Fischer
15:00-15:45 Coffee break/Poster Presentation
15:45-16:30 Beatrice de Gelder
16:30-17:15 Nico Frijda
17:15-17:30 Concluding notes
17:30-18:00 Drinks and poster prize

Locatie: REC-M zaal 1.01/ Plantage Muidergracht 12, Amsterdam.

Organizing Committee: Lorenza  Colzato and Mariska Kret



1. Bruno Bocanegra

A Kuhnian Perspective on the Emotion-Cognition Interface

In his seminal work “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, Kuhn developed a theoretical account of the mechanisms underlying scientific progress. This publication was a landmark event in the sociology of science and marked the beginning of social epistemology. In the present talk I will argue that the core mechanism proposed by Kuhn may not only be relevant for explaining scientific progress on a societal level, but may also explain the dynamics of emotion-cognition interactions within an individual. Although this proposal is too abstract to account for specific examples of emotion-cognition interactions, it may be useful for conceptualizing general properties of the overall interface between the two domains.

2. Agneta Fischer

How emotional faces influence information processing

Faces often send emotional signals and observers may automatically react with similar emotional expressions, referred to as emotional mimicry. Emotional mimicry has two major social functions: (1) it facilitates affiliation with others, and (2) it helps us understand how others feel. I will review evidence for these functions, but I will also show that both functions depend on the context in which the emotion is displayed and can be regulated in order to meet other than affiliative goals.

3. Bea de Gelder

After decades of sidestepping the body in favor of only investigating face perception, neuroscientists in this last decade have begun to investigate also body perception. Most studies have focused on how the visual system recognizes the body shape and whether there exists one, two or many brain areas dedicated to the representation of the human body.  After a brief review of this research we will present current studies on the perception of the body as the medium of emotional expressions.  We will argue that the affective, communicative and interactive dimensions of bodies suggest a different blueprint of the perceptual and neural underpinnings of bodies than what is provided by studies of how the body is represented.  The contrast between these two perspectives can then be viewed as one between the body as presence vs. the body as an object of neural representation.

4. Nico H. Frijda

Whence emotions?

Terms like ”emotion” and its near equivalents in languages other than English  (e.g. affectiobhava, pathemaemocion, Gemütsbewegung) appear not to allow of a coherent and consistent definition. So far, no general agreement has been reached on them in the relevant literature.
It appears that words like those mentioned are designations of personal experiences and perceived behaviors of other individuals that strike the perceiver’s eye or ear as being out of the run of the mill experiences and behaviors.
These experiences and behaviors that strike the eye or ear appear to be the variable outcomes of variable sets of a finite number of basic processes that allow the organism’s abilities and sensitivities and that characterize healthy members of a given animal species, notably the human species.

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