"Towards a computational social and affective neuroscience"
The bulk of research in psychology and neuroscience has focused on studying processes within single individuals. However, outside of the laboratory people rarely operate independently but rather in the context of a complex constellation of social relationships. Social interactions form a critical aspect of the human experience from romantic relationships, families, to professional relationships, and everyday transactions such as commuting to work and buying groceries yet have received surprisingly little empirical study. Connecting, cooperating, and sharing experiences with others appears to be a key aspect of many of these interactions. In this talk, I will present work that explores: (a) how emotions can lead to making prosocial decisions, (b) how relationships can positively impact health outcomes, and (c) new insights into the neural basis of emotional experiences. An important aspect of this work is the use of technology and computational techniques to help facilitate social interactions and model their complex dynamics.