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The Presentation by Daniel M.T. Fessler: "Emotion, Cognition, and Contagious Kindness"

12+

On the 8-th of December, at 19:00 (UTC+3), Professor Fessler will make a presentation on such emotion as 'elevation' to "explore the affective and cognitive processes undergirding decision making in situations of potential cooperation". Working language — English.

About Professor Fessler

Daniel M.T. Fessler is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The former Director of the UCLA Center for Behavior, Evolution, & Culture and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Evolution and Human Behavior, he is the inaugural Director of the UCLA Bedari Kindness Institute; holds the Bedari Endowed Chair at UCLA; and is the recipient of the UCLA Gold Shield Faculty Prize recognizing distinguished research, undergraduate teaching, and university service. Combining anthropological, psychological, and biological theories and methods, Fessler approaches a variety of aspects of human behavior, experience, and health from an integrative perspective in which humans are viewed as both the products of complex evolutionary processes and the possessors of acquired cultural idea systems and behavioral patterns. With particular attention to underlying affective and cognitive factors, his research examines prosociality and cooperation; conflict, aggression, and risk-taking; morality; and disease avoidance. Projects range from the effects of war on cooperation among Israeli noncombatants to the psychological determinants of prophylactic behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, see Professor Fessler’s personal website for complete information.

Abstact of the presentation

Employing an evolutionary approach to the mind, this talk will examine the emotion which psychologists have termed “elevation” to explore the affective and cognitive processes undergirding decision making in situations of potential cooperation. In such contexts, the presence of altruistic individuals enhances the payoffs, and reduces the risks, of prosociality. Third-party witnesses to altruism experience elevation, an uplifting emotion that impels them to behave prosocially themselves. However, because others’ motives can only be inferred, the extent to which altruistic acts elicit elevation is contingent on prior beliefs; these form a lens through which the witness interprets acts of apparent altruism. Idealists, who expect others to behave cooperatively, are susceptible to elevation, whereas cynics, who expect the opposite, are not. Together, idealism and elevation thus underlie contagious prosociality. In turn, because idealism and elevation influence behavior, social processes may interact with context-specific expectations to create stable self-reinforcing patterns of prosociality – or antisociality – that characterize communities and, perhaps, whole societies.

Web link to the video broadcast
Identificator: 953 8803 5820 
Password: 464821 

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