Experiencing and Analyzing Emotions on a Perturbing Election Night

The U.S. election this evening provides me with a good opportunity to test my understanding of emotion and my emotion regulation practices, as will the future, particularly given the apparent results. Continue reading Experiencing and Analyzing Emotions on a Perturbing Election Night

AISB-2017 (Bath) Symposium: “Computational Modelling of Emotion: Theory and Applications”

At AISB 2017 (April, in Bath, England) there will be a symposium on Computational Modelling of Emotion: Theory and Applications. The symposium chairs are Dr. Dean Petters (Psychology) and Dr. David Moffatt (Computer Science).

Dr. Sylwia Hyniewska and I will submit a paper on emotion as perturbance, using insomnia and limerence as windows onto this phenomenon. Continue reading AISB-2017 (Bath) Symposium: “Computational Modelling of Emotion: Theory and Applications”

Mata Hari’s Emotions

According to Michel Aubé, if motivation involves managing resources, then emotion, a subset of motivation, involves managing commitments (human resources). Combine this idea with the fact that emotional episodes involve perturbance, where a cluster of affectively charged mental content, or motivators, tend to disrupt and maintain attention. Continue reading Mata Hari’s Emotions

Why Is A Christmas Story — The Musical — So Hilarious? Inside Jokes, The Mating Mind and Mental Spaces We’d Rather Not Explore

“You don’t mean to say that this charming, clever young lady has been so foolish as to accept you?”
Lord Caversham to Lord Goring in Oscar Wilde’s, An Ideal Husband

“Evolution is an examination with two papers. To succeed demands a pass in both.”
Steve Jones, Darwin’s Ghost (p. 76)

The Arts Club of Vancouver’s performance of A Christmas Story—The Musical had me in stiches. But why?

A Christmas Story—The Musical
Continue reading Why Is A Christmas Story — The Musical — So Hilarious? Inside Jokes, The Mating Mind and Mental Spaces We’d Rather Not Explore

Romantic Love (Limerence): A Workshop on Emotion

I’ve begun to offer a pair of workshops on emotion that focus primarily on romantic love, technically known as “limerence”. The first workshop is designed primarily to enhance participants’ understanding of their emotions, whereas the second is focused on “relating to” their emotions. This post is about the first workshop.

Why Understand Limerence (Romantic Love)?

So what does limerence have to do with cognitive productivity? As I argued at length in Cognitive Productivity, to learn effectively we must not merely develop dry, cognitive mechanisms and representations (the substrate of memory, skills, etc.). Otherwise, we will at most develop an “inert” storehouse of knowledge, as Alfred Whitehead put it. We must rather change ourselves affectively: develop inclinations, feelings, desires and tendencies to apply what we’ve learned. To this end, it helps to understand emotions.

Furthemore, emotions generally, and limerence in particular, can directly promote productivity and creativity. (Beethoven’s may have been fueled by his unrequited love. There are countless similar examples. Compare the reference to The Mating Mind below.) Emotions can also, of course, destroy our ability to focus.

Continue reading Romantic Love (Limerence): A Workshop on Emotion

On Having One or More Theories of Emotion: Perturbance and Ur-Emotions

We can’t get away from “folk psychology” and “intuitive physics” (also known as “naive physics”), i.e., from using everyday concepts like emotion, memory, force and energy. However, in everyday discussions as in more technical ones, those words can trip us up. “Emotion” in particular is a tricky one. This difficulty is acknowledged in multiple articles in the emotion literature (and elsewhere on this web site). But, even in psychology, often the term is used without reference to particular theory of emotions. And therein lies the problem:

without a reference theory of emotion, the term “emotion” doesn’t mean much at all.

Continue reading On Having One or More Theories of Emotion: Perturbance and Ur-Emotions

A Tale of Two Summer Conferences: ISRE-2015 and CogSci 2015

I attended and presented at two conferences this summer:

  • ISRE-2015 July 8-10, in Geneva (International Society for Research on Emotions),
  • CogSci 2015, July 23-25 in Pasadena (37th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society).

I enjoyed and will continue to benefit from both conferences. But there were psychosocially interestingly differences.

Continue reading A Tale of Two Summer Conferences: ISRE-2015 and CogSci 2015

On Ruminating and Intrusive Thinking…

I’ve been thinking a lot about rumination recently… actually have been for quite a while. Obviously, rumination can  hinder productivity. Psychologists have looked at the dark-side of rumination, to the point of defining it as counterproductive.  However, some measure of obsession and tenacity is required in order to stick with and solve hard problems. The history of expertise and creativity in science are a testament to such tenacity. (See the discussion of cognitive miserliness and other thinking dispositions in Cognitive Productivity. [Footnote 1] )
Continue reading On Ruminating and Intrusive Thinking…

“Information Overload” and Productivity

Yesterday, I was interviewed by Ian Jessop of CFAX 1050 Victoria on the topic of “Information Overload and Cognitive Productivity”. We had a good 20-minute chat. Here are some of my reflections on the topic.

Information Overload Myths and Realities

Continue reading “Information Overload” and Productivity

My 2015 Progress Update (to Feb 15)

Already mid-February! A good time to see whether I’m on track for my 2015 plans.

I’ve never published my personal progress reports online before. But I wanted to take a detailed look at the last few weeks. And it might be helpful to some of my collaborators, stakeholders, clients or customers, who only see a certain slice of my life. Also, it will give you a picture of the R&D behind the products I develop. I run different facets of my projects through different organizations ( CogZest, CogSci Apps Corp. and Simon Fraser University). It also illustrates the variety of tasks that small business leaders engage in.

Continue reading My 2015 Progress Update (to Feb 15)