A meeting of the minds

Dec 07, 2011
A meeting of the minds
Lisa Feldman Barrett, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, greeted scholars and researchers at the first meeting of Northeastern’s Affective Science Institute. Credit: Mary Knox Merrill.

People are happiest in warm weather, but grow considerably unhappier as humidity levels rise, according to an analysis of the language of some 1.3 billion tweets by Northeastern University computer science PhD candidate Aniko Hannah.

“We can predict people’s moods with 80 percent accuracy using this data,” Hannah said.

Her research was on display in the Curry Student Center ballroom last Thursday as part of the first event sponsored by the new Affective Science Institute (ASI) at Northeastern. ASI will be a nexus for collaboration, training and the exchange of ideas between researchers and scholars who study emotion and related fields in the New England area.

Distinguished Professor of Psychology Lisa Feldman Barrett gave an overview of the institute to roughly 100 scholars and researchers from more than a dozen universities and medical institutions who filled the Fenway Center prior to the poster session.

Barrett is the codirector of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory at Northeastern, which studies how emotions function in the mind by using experiential, behavioral, psychophysiological and brain-imaging methods.

Understanding affect, she said, can play an important role in solving global challenges in health, security and sustainability, which are areas of research focus at Northeastern.

“Affect is a ubiquitous aspect of everyday human life, whether we are making small choices, such as what to have for lunch, or big choices, such as whether we should get screened for cancer,” Barrett explained.

At the poster session, Vera Vine, a clinical psychology PhD candidate in the Regulation of Emotion and Anxiety Disorders Lab at Yale University, showcased her research on the relationship between emotional clarity and affect intensity.

A patient’s inability to express her emotions clearly may lead to stronger bouts of depression and other disorders, Vine said. As she put it, “Patients need to figure out what their emotions are and how to deal with them.”

Vine expressed interest in playing a role in the success of the institute. “It’s an exciting opportunity to be in an intimate setting with renowned scholars,” she said. “I want to benefit from the collaborations and then try to give something back.”

Explore further: Computer games give a boost to English

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

How the brain works with feelings

Nov 23, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- People who claim to recognize a burned imprint of Jesus on a piece of toast are channeling what Northeastern University Distinguished Professor of Psychology Lisa Feldman Barrett calls ...

The dark side of Oxytocin

Aug 01, 2011

For a hormone, oxytocin is pretty famous. It’s the “cuddle chemical”—the hormone that helps mothers bond with their babies. Salespeople can buy oxytocin spray on the internet, to make their clients trust ...

Studying our emotional life

Nov 16, 2010

Lisa Feldman Barrett, a psychology professor, says that our mood has a direct effect on our perception of the world. When we’re happy, she says, we’ll see neutral faces as smiling. When we’re sad, they’ll ...

Understanding the social side of cyber-security issues

May 04, 2011

When Engin Kirda started focusing on cyber-security research 10 years ago, those primarily responsible for launching Internet attacks were teenagers out for kicks, he said. But the scope of threats existing ...

Recommended for you

Computer games give a boost to English

9 hours ago

If you want to make a mark in the world of computer games you had better have a good English vocabulary. It has now also been scientifically proven that someone who is good at computer games has a larger ...

Saddam Hussein—a sincere dictator?

13 hours ago

Are political speeches manipulative and strategic? They could be – when politicians say one thing in public, and privately believe something else, political scientists say. Saddam Hussein's legacy of recording private discussions ...

Healthy working environment is a salvation

15 hours ago

Contract workers in Norway often face the worst and most unpredictable working conditions. But good management and support from colleagues makes these workers more robust.

Why marvellous isn't awesome any more

15 hours ago

Using the Spoken British National Corpus 2014, a very large collection of recordings of real-life, informal, spoken interactions between speakers of British English from across the United Kingdom, Cambridge ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rsklyar
1 / 5 (1) Dec 08, 2011
People from Northeastern University are happiest during plagiarism: http://issuu.com/...saivaldi