Call for Papers for a Roundtable Issue on
Interdisciplinarity in Research on Emotion
Inspired by a vivid discussion in the International Society for Research on Emotion (ISRE), Kodikas/ Code – Ars Semeiotica – An International Journal of Semiotics invites submissions for its roundtable issue on Interdisciplinarity in Research on Emotion.
Bringing together scholars from different disciplines across the world, ISRE’s focus on interdisciplinarity reaches back to its foundation in 1984 and has just recently been reaffirmed at its biennial conference in Berkeley (ISRE 2013). In his inaugural address, newly elected president Arvid Kappas placed emphasis on the importance of interdisciplinary research in a broad sense, interconnecting not only natural sciences, computer science, and engineering but also social sciences and humanities. To institutionalize this emphasis, Kappas created a Task Force on Interdisciplinarity that sparked the discussion of interdisciplinarity among ISRE members.
Through its roundtable issue, Kodikas aims to provide an open forum for discussing the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary research on emotion. In line with ISRE’s objective to facilitate research across decisively different fields, submissions are welcomed from scholars of all disciplines. The subject area comprises, but is not limited to:
- opportunities, conditions, obstacles, and limits of interdisciplinary research on emotion,
- epistemological questions of interdisciplinary research on emotion,
- interdisciplinarity and affective computing,
- interdisciplinarity regarding research on emotion in contexts of practical application,
- a historiography of research on emotion within and across traditional discourse boundaries,
- micro studies or ethnographies of interdisciplinary research on emotion,
- interdisciplinarity, internationality, and culture,
- communication, symbolic systems, and misunderstanding in interdisciplinary research on emotion,
- interdisciplinarity, reputation, and academic careers,
- interdisciplinary research on emotion and academic education,
- organizing, managing, and institutionalizing interdisciplinary research on emotion, and
- administrative and scholarly views on interdisciplinary research on emotion.
The issue’s roundtable format grants contributors the opportunity to comment with a maximum of 1000 words on the other authors’ contributions. These comments will be published in the same issue.
A journal of semiotics that promotes the interdisciplinary research characteristic of semiotics, Kodikas is keen to witness how scholars communicatively make sense of emotion as a subject within and across individual disciplines. Authors are thus encouraged to address the subject from their own points of view and not bound to a semiotic angle.
Manuscripts should be between 4000 and 7500 words in length and formatted in accordance with the Kodikas Style Sheet. The deadline for paper submission (including an abstract of up to 200 words) is June 30, 2014. Submissions and requests for further details may be directed to guest editor Robin Kurilla (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Website: Kodikas/Code – Ars Semeiotica – An International Journal of Semiotics
Editors: Prof. Dr. Achim Eschbach, Prof. Dr. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ernest W.B. Hess-Lüttich, and Prof. (em.) Dr. Jürgen Trabant
I just come back from the biannual meeting of the International Society for Research on Emotions (ISRE), which was held at UC Berkeley in August. The conference was, as always, inspiring. Meetings like this are important at many different levels. There are formal presentations, for example. However, there are also many informal exchanges with members which touch on many different issues. A copy of the program can be found here.
However, this particular meeting was of special significance for me as I was elected president of the society. I took over from Prof. W. Gerrod Parrott who shepherded the society into a period of growth and stability. My term will be for a duration of two years. In this time I will try to help the society grow and prosper. I will also occasionally use this platform to link forth and back between society business and my regular blog.
Today, Earth welcomes back Cmdr Chris Hadfield who touched many people, not only Canadians with his tweets and Youtube videos from board of the International Space Station (ISS). One of the last things Cmdr Hadfield did was to post a very cool rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity. The music was recorded on earth and the singing on board of the ISS. The text is slightly altered from the original and rarely has this song been so relevant than here with Cmdr Hadfield leaving the ISS just a few hours later - looking one last time at Earth from that perspective ...
I must admit, it brought a few tears to my eyes. The video was powerful - the music has so many associations for me, it was a particular moment in time that would never come back (you can do something for the first time only once). So why were there tears?
Crying has been one of the interesting riddles - what is the function of crying? What is the evolutionary perspective on crying? Is crying good for you or bad for you?
As it turns out, there are no easy answers. Darwin already was not completely sure what do with crying. Quote from Darwin (1872)
(p. 172) In considering how far this view is probable, we should bear in mind that the eyes of infants have been acted on in this double manner during numberless generations, whenever they have screamed; and on the principle of nerve-force readily passing along accustomed channels, even a moderate compression of the eyeballs and a moderate distension of the ocular vessels would ultimately come, through habit, to act on the glands. We have an analogous case in the orbicular muscles being almost always contracted in some slight degree, even during a gentle crying-fit, when there can be no
So the idea here is that forceful crying in the infant leads via mechanical reasons to the secretion of tears. Over time particular situations get associated with this type of fit, which in turn gets more and more controlled in the adult and so crying when adults are sad is a sort of remnant of this process. You can read the argument in more detail here.
Since then many researchers have studied the mechanics and chemistry of crying and tears. It is still a complicated story though ... is it satisfying? Can it cope with sentimental crying? What about crying for joy?
One of the key researchers on crying is Ad Vingerhoets from Tilburg University. Here is a brief article from the Guardian that refers also to Ad's recent book Why only humans weep.
I have also tried my hand at the topic, but then - Ad's books are probably the best place to start ...
In the meanwhile - Cmdr Hadfield answers the question what happens to tears in space ...
Darwin, C. (1872). The expression of the emotions in man and animals. London, UK: Murray.
Kappas, A. (2009). Mysterious tears. The phenomenon of crying from the perspective of social neuroscience. In: Thorsten Fögen (ed.), Tears in the Graeco-Roman World (pp. 419-438) , Berlin & New York,: DeGruyter.
I decided to start a second blog that focuses on Affective Computing. It is called Affective Computing Science and it will be a bit more technical and also contain links and or comments in that special field.
The ironic thing is of course that I do not have enough time for this blog, but then ... it is a challenge ... :-)
This will focus on making machines more emotional or deal in more intelligent ways with human emotions. Check it out ...
Wow, it has been so long that I wrote something! Not for a lack of topics, but simply because I felt there was too much to do. Perhaps I should write about the feeling of too much to do ;-)
In the meanwhile, I can tell with happiness and pride that the book I edited with Nicole Krämer from Uni Duisburg-Essen is finally out. That is, it is already out in Europe - in the US it will be towards the end of July, 2011.
Face-to-Face Communication over the Internet
Emotions in a Web of Culture, Language, and Technology
Social platforms such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have rekindled the initial excitement of cyberspace. Text-based, computer-mediated communication has been enriched with face-to-face communication such as Skype, as users move from desktops to laptops with integrated cameras and related hardware. Age, gender and culture barriers seem to have crumbled and disappeared as the user base widens dramatically. Other than simple statistics relating to e-mail usage, chatrooms and blog subscriptions, we know surprisingly little about the rapid changes taking place. This book assembles leading researchers on nonverbal communication, emotion, cognition and computer science to summarize what we know about the processes relevant to face-to-face communication as it pertains to telecommunication, including video-conferencing. The authors take stock of what has been learned regarding how people communicate, in person or over distance, and set the foundations for solid research helping to understand the issues, implications and possibilities that lie ahead.
Aftermath of the tragedy at Loveparade in Duisburg, Germany, July 24, 2010, Image Globovision. Licensed under common license http://www.flickr.com/photos/globovision/4824530153/ original caption: Trabajadores sanitarios trasladan a una persona herida tras una estampida provocada por un pánico colectivo en el túnel de acceso a la antigua estación de mercancías de Duisburgo, donde se celebraba la fiesta de música electrónica "Loveparade"
Time flies. The last post I wrote was before the final of the world cup. The goal of the last post was to point out how some of the key concepts of emotion theories often focus on the individual and neglect the complex interplay of individuals with networks of family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers, both in real interactions and in implied, implicit ways.
I was very happy to receive both emails, and comments via the blog, pointing out that social processes play a role. Indeed - this is the thrust of my argument. concepts such as "relevance" can only explain so much ... In a public situation, after the win of the team, one can think in addition to what I outlined hte last time of comparison processes (if everybody is excited, it probably is exciting, even if I am not sure), to very low-level processes of contagion that follow from the perception of others around us. Feedback processes at multiple levels.
And now for a harsh switch of valence - from euphoria to hysteria.
Yesterday evening, I watched, on television and the Internet, as did many in Germany, events as the tragedy of Duisburg started to unfold. All the while the techno beat was still pounding and lights were flashing with hundreds of thousands of fans apparently unaware of the carnage just a few stone throws away. It is clear that the causes of the event are manifold and now, with hindsight, it appears that bad decisions with regard to the planning might have contributed to the sequence of events. However, one thing is sure - lots of people in a tight space, pushing and shoving, in the heat, played a big role. Did we really witness a stampede? Whenever we talk or think about crowd behavior the question is whether "the crowd" really exists. Does the crowd have a mind? Surely it does not have a (single) brain. The concept of the crowd is a very difficult one when trying to describe behavior in human - whether it relates to offline or online behavior (see CYBEREMOTIONS:EU).
In my mind bridging the analysis of the behavior of individuals and the behavior of large groups of individuals in real time is one of the major challenges for social psychology today.
Scientists from many disciplines are trying to observe, describe, predict, and modify panic behavior as one of the most destructive "mass" behaviors. Here is a link from an Australian TV program, CATALYST. The hope is that research bridging biology, psychology, mathematics, and even physics can help to prevent catastrophes, such as the one in Duisburg yesterday.
This week I attended the shooting of Die Große Show der Naturwunder in Freiburg. There will be a segment on felt and false smiles. This is a very interesting topic of course. Going back to Duchenne, we know that crows feet wrinkles can make the difference between a smile that looks "real" and one that does not. As it turns out, there is considerable empirical evidence that smiles showing this feature - it involves the contraction of the muscle orbicularis oculi are more likely to occur when somebody is indeed happy or amused, but that does not mean that all smiles with the wrinkles are genuine, and all smiles without are fake - just that the probability is higher. Other features that have been suggested to differ between posed and felt smiles relate to the timing - how long does it take for the smile to hit its maximum, or apex, how long does it stay there, how fast for it to disappear. It has also been suggested that felt smiles are more symmetrical than post ones. However, for this feature the empirical evidence is weakest. Some critical evidence regarding the differences of "felt" and "false" smiles has recently been presented by my colleagues Eva Krumhuber and Tony Manstead.
The show will be transmitted on July 1, 2010 at 20:15 in ARD
Arvid Kappas is Professor of Psychology at Jacobs University Bremen. He has been conducting research on emotions for over three decades in the US, Canada, and in several European countries.