Advances on the Neurobiology of Emotion: Taking Stock
November 16, 2006 – 8:00 p.m. Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture
The field that eventually became neuroscience neglected the study of emotion for almost a century, largely after the proposals of William James lost favor. It is worth considering some of the reasons behind that neglect and evaluating the state of our knowledge today, a decade after emotion returned to the neuroscience agenda. Besides elucidating the neural mechanisms underlying several emotions, the new research is having an impact on our understanding of social phenomena ranging from moral behavior to economic decisions.
Antonio Damasio is David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience and Director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California; he is also an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. Damasio has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how the brain processes memory, language, emotions, and decisions. Damasio’s books, Descartes’ Error, The Feeling of What Happens, and Looking for Spinoza are translated into over 30 languages and taught in universities worldwide. He is the recipient of numerous awards (including, most recently, the Asturias Prize in Science and Technology, 2005; and the Signoret Prize, 2004, which he shared with his wife Hanna Damasio). His current work is aimed at illuminating the brain basis of social behaviors (ranging from moral judgments and communication to economic decisions).