About the Center for
Affective Science

Affect is a broad concept that encompasses:

  1. emotions including anxiety and sadness
  2. moods such as depression and euphoria
  3. responses to stress, and
  4. other motivational impulses

Affective science focuses on the study of each of these concepts, with an explicit focus on integrating multiple levels of analysis – from molecular and genetic through neural and physiological to behavioral and contextual – in both human and nonhuman animals. This burgeoning field is at the cutting edge of basic and translational research and is a focus of current funding priorities at NIH and NSF.

The multi-disciplinary Center for Affective Science brings together leading researchers operating at multiple levels of analysis to advance our understanding of the development, maintenance, and treatment of mental disorders. Interdisciplinary research topics already under discussion including:

  1. an application of machine learning principles to electroencephalogram (EEG) data to develop systems of identifying children at risk for later psychopathology
  2. cross-species studies of the impact of early life stress on inflammatory processes as a mechanism of risk for psychopathology across the lifespan
  3. neural mechanisms underlying the anticipation, experience, and maintenance of reward and positive affect

All innovative and truly significant science today is interdisciplinary and collaborative and the goal of this Center is to encourage these collaborations. Researchers within the Center move between levels of analysis (“from molecules to milieu”) in conducting research in affective science, and collaborate with the informatics core to make maximal use of the large amounts of data that are inherent in studies of neuroscience. In this way, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, allowing us to make significant advances in affective science that would not otherwise be possible.

Last Updated: 7/27/16