Adam Anderson, Cornell University
Emotion Form and Function
Facial expressions are instrumental in regulating social interactions, but their specific forms may have originated in a less appreciated function in modifying perception. I will present evidence that 1) rather than distinct basic types, emotional expression appearance reflects oppositions in global form 2) the origin of these oppositions lies in a primitive sensory regulatory function for interactions with the physical environment and 3) that these sensory regulatory functions have been behaviorally and neurally co-opted for the purposes of social regulation, such as the role of disgust in moral judgment. This program of research suggests that complex socio-emotional processes may arise in part from primitive sensory regulatory functions.
Adam Anderson is interested in the role of the emotions in all human faculties, from shaping the very first stages of perception to rendering judgments on what is moral. Considering both psychological and neural levels of analysis, a guiding principle in his work is understanding the function of emotions as distinct tools intended to help rather than hurt us. In recognition of this work, he have received the APA Early Career Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience and the Cognitive Neuroscience Society Young Investigator Award.
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