There is crying in science. That’s okay. People cry. Scientists are people. Therefore, scientists cry. So why is it that scientists and academics can get so freaked out by a colleague or student crying?
After a year, The Philosophers' Mail (previously) has concluded its project. But fret not: it has been succeeded by The Book of Life, a continuously updated online book that "aims to be the curation of the best and most helpful ideas in the area of emotional life."
Shortly after meeting my wife, she introduced me to the nuanced meaning that the Spanish word nervio had acquired in the lexicon of her family. As used in their Chilean home, the word could be defined as a feeling of such intense affection that one trembles or grits his teeth with restraint so as not to harm the object of his affection. I have heard others allude to the sensation in seemingly bizarre phrases such as, "It's so cute [that] I want to squeeze it to death." I often ask people about nervio. For those like me who have experienced it frequently throughout their lives, a complete definition is unnecessary and the word fills a void in their vocabulary. With others, my description is often greeted with bewilderment. Having never felt such a sensation, it is hard for them to imagine.More? Tagalog's gigil, corporal cuddling, and some scientific insights into the "cute aggression" phenomenon
We Know How You Feel Computers are learning to read emotion, and the business world can’t wait.
"The researchers found that conservatives tend to react more strongly to disgusting images having increased activity in regions of their brain that are involved in processing disgust and regulating emotion. The liberals, on the other hand, had increased activity in different brain regions." Study
The more we learn about the emotions shared by all mammals, the more we must rethink our own human intelligence [more inside]
Every Upworthy video ever in just over two minutes. (SLYT)
Twenty cancer patients were asked to keep their eyes shut while they were given a makeover. A photographer then immortalized the moment they opened their eyes in front of a one-way mirror.
Mother sings, baby reacts. [SLYT]
Our Inconsistent Ethical Instincts
We like to believe that the principled side of the equation is rooted in deep, reasoned conviction. But a growing wealth of research shows that those values often prove to be finicky, inconsistent intuitions, swayed by ethically irrelevant factors. What you say now you might disagree with in five minutes. And such wavering has implications for both public policy and our personal lives.[more inside]
New research can detect five different emotions with 81 percent accuracy. [Additional project information].
21 emotions English has no word for. Some things "light us up". Some things "leave us cold". Such dim metaphors only hint at the unspoken universe of feeling, dimensions we can only guess that we share. A new infographic explores "untranslatable" feeling-words from other languages.
The Economics of Caring There's something deeply flawed about an economic system that measures utility but not the attachments we feel to another person, or to one's homeland.
Sound-Word Index — Emotions and their sound can invade our digital messages. Our words become flexible and vibrate according to the volume of our voices, transforming their written form into an expressive and resonating language. Without the help of body language, words can sometimes fall short in our digital conversations. However, sound, volume and rhythm can influence the spelling of our words, helping to translate our emotions hidden behind our screens.
The Center for Cartoon Studies (previously), in association with the National Cartoonists Society, has assembled The Cartoon Crier (pdf), a 36-page collection of comics being intentionally NOT comical, including newspaper strips old-school and new, alt-comics, webcomics and even a few editorial and magazine cartoons. Plus Shaenon K. Garrity writing about the saddest comics ever. Some will make you cry, others will make you go 'eh', some will make you chuckle very guiltily, but altogether an impressive collection. (Originally in dead-tree form handed out at MOCCA)
In an attempt to make sense of the 6.4 million words that comprise the more than 573.000 paged lines in the wikileaks 9/11 pager intercept data, researchers Mitja Back, Albrecht Kuefner, and Boris Egloff from the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, have now conducted a statistical analysis of the emotional content of these pages.
StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit fostering and preserving meaningful conversations between two people who are important to each other. The vignettes are addictive little heart-grabbers, some unearthing long-held secrets. Here's a sampling: I don't know anything about white people; A son's premonition; Bathtub gin; Adoption; Two canoes; Where's the colored section?; Good hugger; Court every day; A schmear; Stonewall memories; and one video animation - a charming talk between a 12 year old with Asperger's and his Mom. There are hundreds more. [more inside]
Music and the Brain The Library of Congress' Music and the Brain podcasts offer lectures and conversations about new research at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and music. Sufi rituals, Wednesday is Indigo Blue (synaesthesia), Your Brain on Jazz, The Music of Language and the Language of Music, and more.
Pain Pack — Ze Frank posted a phone number and asked that anyone experiencing emotional pain leave him a message. He received a number of very distraught messages. From those, DJs and musicians created 138 samples for him—and those samples have since been made into songs—and the collaborative process continues.
Newmoticons: Fresh new emoticons for happy internet people.
Children Full of Life - grade 4 students in Kanazawa, Japan learn deep life lessons from their incredible teacher and from each other. I strongly recommend this as awesome, but one caveat: keep tissues handy. (5 parts, 40 minutes total, English)
“It would be completely unethical to give the drug to someone else,” he said, “but if you’re in a marriage and want to maintain that relationship, you might take a little booster shot yourself every now and then. Even now it’s not such a far-out possibility that you could use drugs in conjunction with marital therapy.”
How the president-elect tapped into a powerful—and only recently studied—human emotion called "elevation." Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Berkeley, studies the emotions of uplift, and he has tried everything from showing subjects vistas of the Grand Canyon to reading them poetry—with little success. But just this week one of his postdocs came in with a great idea: Hook up the subjects, play Barack Obama's victory speech, and record as their autonomic nervous systems go into a swoon....It was while looking through the letters of Thomas Jefferson that Haidt first found a description of elevation. Jefferson wrote of the physical sensation that comes from witnessing goodness in others: It is to "dilate [the] breast and elevate [the] sentiments … and privately covenant to copy the fair example." (via Geek Press) [more inside]
Brain's 'Hate Circuit' Identified. "People who view pictures of someone they hate display activity in distinct areas of the brain that, together, may be thought of as a 'hate circuit', according to new research by scientists at UCL (University College London)."
"Pulse", a project by Markus Kison, "...is a live visualisation of the recent emotional expressions written on the private weblogs of blogger.com. These emotional expressions are parsed according to a list of synonyms and transform a physical shapeshifting object...." (QT video) (via) [more inside]
Facial Expression Simulator Apparently it's useful for helping autistics learn facial expressions, among other things. Related.
A mouse has been genetically engineered to no longer fear cats. Surely this is now only a matter of time. [more inside]
Impaired emotional processing affects moral judgements. People with damage to a key emotion-processing region of the brain also make moral decisions based on the greater good of the community, unclouded by concerns over harming an individual.
"A Console To Make You Wiip: How the Nintendo Wii will get you emotionally invested in video games." Exploring the Wii from the aspect of William James' essay, "What is an emotion?" James contends that all emotions are rooted in one's physical state, e.g. goosebumps when spooked, and blushing while embarassed. Can the overt physicality of playing the Wii make it a more emotional experience?
The Bio Mapping tool allows the wearer to record their Galvanic Skin Response, which is a simple indicator of emotional arousal, in conjunction with their geographical location. By sharing this data we can construct maps that visualise where we as a community feel stressed and excited.
Using a physiological sensor called the SenseWear by BodyMedia, researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) have created the XPod. The XPod "learns" a user's preferences, activities and even emotions, and then selects the most appropriate music to accompany any given situation. The mood ring for the new millennium.
Face to Face: The Science of Reading Faces. Transcript(and video)of a 2004 interview with psychologist Paul Ekman, who is known for his research on facial expression and the development, with associates, of the Facial Action Coding System (FACS). Includes a few facial expression photos. Part of the "Conversations with History" series at the Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley .
I Feel, Therefore I Am. Consider the work of Dr. Antonio Damasio, humanist and neuroscientist, who has turned the Mind and Body debate between René Descartes and Benedictus de Spinoza upon its head--or at least the heads of Phineas Gage and one Elliott--via his research and writings such as The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness, Descartes' Error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain and Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain. He's influenced writers like Ian McEwan and David Lodge, and via his thoughts on the perception of music, inspired a composition. (More Inside)
An aesthetics of inadequacy. "Despite Aeschylus's statement, 'All knowledge comes from suffering,' all that came from my suffering was suffering." An interview with Alan Shapiro, the author of Song and Dance, about poetry as an attempt of mourning.
Bush's bullhorn speech The most genuine public show of emotion I think I've seen from the president. There has been a lot of criticism of his cue-card reading, but to me this was a refreshing change!
Next generation emoticons or another step in tearing down cultural (and man-machine?) walls?
Eric's Emotions is what you get when you combine a bored college kid and a webcam. He's got a list of emotions on the left pane, hyperlinked to hilarious photos of him illustrating the emotions. My favorites include: "Soylent Green is made out of people," "Fantasizing about Ricky Martin," "New Shoes!," "Han, hold on," and "Mr. Burns' Excellent Face." You can submit new emotion requests, and see his pending requests. [thanks Dan]