David Huron (Ohio State University)
May 24, 2022
Talk Title: The Ethological Foundations of Emotional Displays
Emotion research has been in disarray for more than a century. The field is plagued by a number of thorny questions. Why are the effect sizes so small in cross-cultural recognition studies for purportedly universal emotional expressions (e.g., Durán, et al., 2017; Russell, 1994)? Why are older, more experienced adults, ostensibly worse than adolescents when recognizing the emotions associated with different facial displays and non-speech vocalizations (e.g., Isaacowitz, et al. 2007; Lima, et al., 2013)? Why do only some emotions (such as joy, grief, or disgust) provoke display behaviors while other emotions (such as loneliness, hunger, or affection) are invisible? Why are emotion-related displays associated with so many possible motivating emotions–such as happy, stressful, or condescending smiling, or tears of grief, humor, joy, or patriotism? Why aren’t there better neuroanatomical correlates for different emotions?
These, and other questions have led many researchers to abandon innate biologically oriented theories of emotion and embrace social or psychological construction theories of emotion (e.g., Barrett, 2017). In this presentation I draw on ethological signaling theory and show that a biologically informed approach can indeed offer compelling answers to the most challenging questions plaguing modern research on emotional-related displays.
For those who missed the talk, it was recorded and is available here: https://youtu.be/N_5ijKLZ_EE
About the speaker:
David Huron is a Canadian Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor at the Ohio State University, in both the School of Music and the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. His teaching and publications focus on the psychology of music and music cognition. He is the author of Sweet Anticipation: Music and the Psychology of Expectation and Voice Leading: The Science Behind a Musical Art. He also has a forthcoming book on the Science of Sadness.
When: May 24, 2022, at 3:00pm