Purpose of the Workhop

The purpose of the Workshop is to highlight new perspectives on animal and humans emotions.

Since Darwin’s seminal work of almost 150 years ago, scientists have debated why we express emotions, how we understand them in others and how emotions impact our choices and moral judgments. In the study of animal behavior, talk of emotions has long been taboo, followed by a time in which they were declared irrelevant. This situation has changed in the last few decades, however, and animal emotions are more openly mentioned and considered.

Emotions can be seen as evolutionary adaptations to the environment, but also as an important process that provides the glue of social groups. Even though emotions are often lumped together with basic instincts, they are also critical in abstract reasoning, planning and moral judgment. Modern technology requires the construction of robots and machines that expresses to facilitate communication with us. Engineers will contribute to the workshop by elucidating how emotions are central in artificial intelligence, and how humans could create bonds with robots in order to improve well-being. Most psychopathologies or neurodevelopmental disorders are associated with deregulation of emotional processes and therefore our comprehension of their role in development and in clinical populations is critical.

In this workshop we bring together leading figures in science who will apply an evolutionary method and an interdisciplinary approach to the basic mechanisms of emotions in order to better understand how they organize behavior. The workshop will attempt to understand these aspects of emotions in animals and humans and will foster discussion between scholars, students and researchers from different field of sciences: Ethology, Psychology, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, Robotics, Anthropology.