How can we describe emotions?
The question of what emotions actually are is old and has been solved so far by building models that allow to allocate facial expression based categories on different kinds of grids, e.g. the valence - arousal grid. This has been helpful in terms of how we talk about and investigate emotions, but this does not answer the basic question.
Some ideas are that emotions exist to elicit behavioral tendencies, such as fighting for your rights (anger) or avoiding dangerous situations (fear). This implies also that emotions have a social interaction role.
Are emotions categories?
Emotions have been studied and are described as categorical instances, such as anger, fear, sadness or happiness. But are emotional states really distinct categories? There is evidence from brain imaging and psychophysiological research for a more complex system of emotions than categories. How do the traditional emotion categories relate to this system?
How do emotions impact decision-making?
Decision-making processes are only partly rational, if humans are involved. How do emotional states in the interaction individuals affect decision-making processes? How do personality characteristics moderate the emotion-decision-making interaction? Using game theory approaches we are interested in investigating those interactions from a modelling perspective as well as in actual behavior.
Do psychopathic individuals have an emotion deficit?
The emotional coldness has been thought to be essential for the construct of psychopathy, however, findings involving different kinds of stimuli and different measures of emotional reactivity have been mixed. Is there a basic deficit in emotion processing or can it explained by other related processes like attention allocation, arousal or motivational processes?
Which pathways decide for successful vs. unsuccessful psychopathy?
The attention vs. emotion deficit debate in psychopathy research
Is psychopathy an emotion disorder or is the deficit in emotion processing depending on attentional processes? We investigate those questions using EEG and other psychophysiological measures targeting emotional arousal and emotional responding.