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The Neuroscience of Emotion: From Reaction to Regulation
2009 Third Annual Tufts University Conference on Emerging Trends in Behavioral, Affective, Social, and Cognitive (BASC) Neurosciences
Aidekman Arts Center, June 4-6, 2009
40 Talbot Ave, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 02155


Key Organizer: Heather L. Urry, Department of Psychology, Tufts University
Sponsored by American Psychological Association and Tufts University

Introduction

As we move about in the world, we are barraged with events that we rapidly evaluate as "good" or "bad" with respect to their effect on meeting our goals. These often intense, sometimes short-lived affective changes and evaluations are reflected in subjective experience, expressive behavior, and central and peripheral physiology. It has been argued that these affective changes orient attention and engender the energy we need to make appropriate behavioral responses. What are the neural mechanisms by which this affective system operates? How does it change over the course of the lifespan or with experience? How do "hot" emotions interact with "cold" cognitive processes? How does emotional responding go awry in psychopathology, and how can we regain control when it does?  Our third conference will bring together speakers who can provide answers to these fundamental and important psychological questions using diverse measures of behavior, physiology, and neural structure and function in both humans and non-human animals. Particularly important for the field to move forward is an explication of the affect-related information processing taking place in single brain regions and also how single brain regions operate in functional circuits to promote adaptive behavior. There has been much progress, which will be showcased in the planned oral and poster presentations, but there is still much theoretical and empirical work to be done as researchers in the field of affective science wrestle with the very definition of emotion, whether it should be approached as a set of basic or dimensional processes, and how we should think about the separation (or lack thereof) between reactive and regulatory processes. This conference will promote an expanded conception of the field of affective neuroscience, one that informs (and is informed by) work taking place in the laboratories of psychophysiological scientists, neuroscientists who study human participants at different phases of the lifespan, and neurobiologists who study the neural basis of emotion in non-human animals. The talks and poster sessions will facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas and a set of future directions that will best lead to rapid advances in the neuroscience of emotion.

To learn more about the speakers at this conference, click here.  To see guidelines for poster abstract submission, click here. Questions about the conference may be addressed to psych.conference@tufts.edu.

We'd like to give special thanks to our sponsors: