A Conference for the Science Behind Emotions

Author: Casey Gale       

Illustration by Carmen Segovia

The heart wants what the heart wants. But why? The Consortium of European Research on Emotion (CERE) is an informal organization that aims to shed light on that question by showcasing the latest research on emotion across Europe and beyond at its biennial conferences.

The inaugural event was held in 2004 in Amsterdam, and the conference has been held every other year except for 2008 in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; Lille, France; Canterbury, England; Berlin, Germany; and Leiden, Holland.

Frame of Mind

CERE takes a traditional scientific-conference approach to content. The 2018 program included 120-minute symposiums, a group of four to six papers around a common theme organized by a convener; open papers, 15-minute individual presentations; and several poster presentations.

Range of Emotions

More than 300 researchers from 27 countries representing nearly as many disciplines — psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, philosophy, history, literature, art, marketing, law, ethics, computing science, medicine, and politics — participated in the seventh version of the conference exploring the latest findings on human emotion.

According to CERE’s website, the conference’s “multidisciplinary community provides new opportunities to forge collaborations, and enables fresh perspectives, approaches, and questions to emerge.”

Matters of the Heart

This year, two keynote speakers added to the diversity of perspectives, representing “complementary fields that are increasingly relevant for our modern society,” said Rachael E. Jack, Ph.D., lecturer at the University of Glasgow and organizer of the event.

The speakers explored emotional acculturation, “which impacts the integration of immigrants,” Jack said, and how affective computing “can be used to design social robots and virtual humans of the future.” Created, perhaps, with fewer emotions to sort out.