I am a professor of psychology and an emotion researcher. Together with my collaborators I work on the theory of emotion and its applications, for example in affective computing and social robotics.
Emotions are a central aspect of our lives. Poets, novelists, playwrights, artists, and composers have tried to capture the essential experience of emotions for hundreds of years. Philosophers have even debated for millennia what emotions are and how they might relate to reason and our wishes and desires.
In the 19th century, psychology emerged as a science. Emotions played an important part in most psychological theories explaining the human mind and behavior. However, as it turned out, psychology initially had difficulty dealing with the complexity of emotions. In the early 20th century, an influential school of thought - behaviorism - emerged that decided not to deal with the complexities of the mind, and emotion research faded out of focus.
However, in the last 60 years, emotion science has come back with force. At the outset of the 3rd millennium, psychology has transformed into a multidisciplinary endeavor encompassing neuroscience, biology, and social sciences. In consequence, our understanding of emotions is growing dramatically. As engineers have started to build systems that simulate aspects of human emotions, we have moved from a descriptive approach to a world in which we try to implement our knowledge regarding emotions in embodied systems, such as virtual agents or robots. In a recent article, a group of researchers, including myself, have posed the question of whether we are in a period of Affectivism.
I study emotions in the laboratory and have been teaching the psychology of emotions for three decades. Based on my fascination with the topic and the experience I have accumulated, I intend this website as a modest collection of resources on emotion or affective science and an outlet for some of my thoughts on the matter. Perhaps some of this content is useful for students or others curious about emotions. Go to the blog here!
Much of my recent research was funded by the European Union in the context of the 7th Framework Program or Horizon 2020. You can discover more about these projects here:
CYBEREMOTIONS - Collective emotions in cyberspace (final review 2013)
ECUTE - Education in cultural understanding - technology enhanced (final review 2014)
ANIMATAS - Advancing intuitive human-machine interaction with human-like social capabilities for education in schools (ended 2022)
As all of these projects are related to affective computing, I have recently started a second blog on Affective Computing Science that focuses on some concrete aspects of our work, as well as some new developments in robotics and making machines more emotional.
There is a new project that started in 2022 called Reconstructing the Naive Theory of Self, funded by the DFG.
Why does man regret, even though he may endeavour to banish any such regret, that he has followed the one natural impulse, rather than the other; and why does he further feel that he ought to regret his conduct? Man in this respect differs profoundly from the lower animals.
Descent of Man
About this page
This is my private home page. The goal of this web resource is to provide pointers towards the scientific study of emotional processes. If you are interested in such research, this is the right place. My blog is targeted at students and colleagues in psychology and connected disciplines. I also have a different blog on Affective Computing called affectivecomputingscience.
However, you will not find specific answers here if you feel that you are in an emotional crisis and need help. Both Google and the self-help section in your local book store are good starting points.