Our Emotions, Our Bodies, Ourselves: Sources of Variability in our Affective Responses to the World

Colloquium | September 12 | 12:10-1:15 p.m. | 1104 Berkeley Way West

 Erika H. Siegel, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow, UC San Francisco

 Institute of Personality and Social Research

Traditional theories about emotion posit that variation in responses to evocative stimuli is epiphenomenal, or unrelated, to the experience of emotion. In this talk, I present data from a meta-analysis on bodily responses during emotion from which I will argue that variation in responses is pervasive and normative and that understanding the full scope of human emotion requires broadening our view of variability beyond error or methodological noise. I have been taking this approach in my own work and I will present data on one internal source of variation in affective reactivity and that is individual differences in our ability to perceive our bodily states. More recently, I have been investigating external sources of variation, in particular, the way that other people’s emotions on our own subjective and physiological responses.

 ipsr@berkeley.edu, 510-642-5050