SODAS Lecture: What is emotion?

SODAS Lecture

Talk Title
What is emotion? Methodological and quantitative considerations in the study of emotion phenomenology and physiology

Talk Description
A remarkable feature of emotions is that they are felt — we can experience the sting of rejection just as we can experience the sting of an ant bite. These emotional experiences are a fundamental part of the human condition. As such, researchers across multiple disciplines seek to understand, predict (e.g., via emotion recognition AI), and improve the emotions that are so central to our day-to-day experiences. In this talk, Dr. Nicholas Coles will review methodological and quantitative approaches designed to illuminate the nature of emotional experience. Many theorists posit that emotional experience is built off sensations emanating from the peripheral nervous system (e.g., tensed muscles and accelerated hearts). Dr. Coles will review how these ideas have recently been probed via meta-analysis, an adversarial big team science collaboration, cross-cultural tests of outstanding methodological issues, and a big team machine learning challenge.

Bio: Dr. Nicholas Coles is a Research Scientist at the Stanford University Human-Centered AI center, where he conducts research on emotions, big team science, and quantitative methods. He received his PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Tennessee, with additional postdoctoral training at Harvard University. His work has been published in outlets like Nature, Nature Human Behaviour, and Psychological Bulletin and has received several awards, including: the Einstein Foundation Award for Promoting Quality in Research, the CORES Open Science Innovator Award, and three fellowships from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Starting in August, Nicholas will be an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Department of Psychology.