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Summer Career Connections at SAVY 2018: Session 6, Day 2 – Science of Emotion (Rising 7th)

Posted by on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 in SAVY, Uncategorized.

Hello SAVY Parents,

Students kicked off the second day of “Science of Emotion” by learning about the role of the human brain, and the emotions that the brain produces to help humans survive. After practicing how to identify independent, dependent, and confounding variables, and after reviewing the steps of the scientific method, students learned about the importance of experimental design. Students then began devising their own research questions about emotion. For example, is sadness contagious? Can experiencing too much of one emotion diminish it? How does exposure to different animals affect the intensity of a certain emotion? How do different genres of music affect the emotions of people with ADHD?

After lunch, we ventured to Wilson Hall to observe a few of Vanderbilt’s psychology labs! Students were exposed to a few of the many ways researchers measure emotion. In these labs, for example, we observed levels of anxiety and disgust being measured by BATs (behavioral approach tasks), levels of arousal being measured by skin conductance, and facial EMG (electromyography) being used to measure emotions. If you’re interested in learning more about our labs, please read below!

Marcus Wild: Our lab studies social interactions. We are especially interested in the development of a concept called Social Emotional Expertise. Social Emotional Expertise is a measure of the individual differences in the quality of social interactions. We conduct studies examining the way in which specific behaviors (e.g. eye contact, hand gestures), cognitive processes (e.g. automatic processing of affective signals), and physiology (e.g. fEMG responses in facial musculature) vary based on an individual’s Social Emotional Expertise.

Kelly Knowles: At the Emotion & Anxiety Research Laboratory (EARL) at Vanderbilt University, our aim is to advance knowledge of the measurement, development, maintenance, and treatment of anxiety disorders. Although these objectives encompass a broad range of topics, we are specifically interested in the role of emotions (i.e., fear, disgust, anger) in the etiology and maintenance of anxiety pathology.

Based on what we observed in these labs, students will be able to fine tune the research questions they created earlier in the day; by the end of the week, they’ll have specific, testable research questions and will know what kind of experimental design would be best suited to test their hypotheses!

Keep up the great work, SAVY scholars!

-Kelly, Marcus, and Maya (TA)

Photos From Our Field Trip