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Image by Hans-Peter Gauster

Research Vision

The Centre will apply its theoretical framework to a range of political behaviours, from political participation to political choices, and from political system justification to chaos incitement, from political belief polarization and fake news to emotional polarization. Its epistemological approach will overcome the long-standing dichotomy between naturalistic and social constructionist approaches to the human condition. Such dichotomies may lie at the heart of the cultural wars we currently observe across different countries.

The Centre's epistemological approach aims to overcome or at least address the long-standing dichotomy between naturalistic and social constructionist approaches to the human condition. 

The breadth of the Centre’s theoretical scope and the depth of our methodological approach will require a versatile arsenal of methodological tools and a combination of smaller scale psychophysiological lab-based studies using state-of-the-art tasks that simulate political processes, online experimentation, field studies and large-scale analysis of big data, alongside conceptual and historical analysis. 

We want to support successful candidates to pursue their own research agenda in the field of emotions and politics. And we also expect them to collaborate with the Director of the Centre and the other fellows on joint research projects.


Examples of Themes
The themes below represent some illustrative examples that could be explored by the Centre’s first cohort of fellows. Applicants should not feel obliged to address any of these particular themes in their project proposals, but the expectation is that all proposals will address a topic that considers the relation between feelings and politics.
•    The mentalization of physiological states and political behaviour: One of the pressing issues that we are facing is how exactly to align physiological responses and reactions, that are often unconscious, with the subjectively experienced conscious emotion. Gaps still exist between different levels of analysis (e.g. from physiological states to psychological concepts)  which must be bridged in order to achieve a broader and causal understanding of the link between emotions and political behaviour.
•    Emotional prescription and affect labelling: Emotional prescription (e.g. ‘you should feel anger’) and affect-labelling (e.g. ‘you are feeling anger’) can function as the context within which people will experience and perhaps construct their emotions. Given the distinctive effects that different emotions may have on political behaviour, how can socio-political processes of emotional prescription or affect-labelling explain the emotional microclimates of different social groups, across time and place?
•    Political allostasis: Social and affective neuroscience has documented the mechanisms whereby social relationships allow people to regulate their emotional and physiological states more effectively within social groups than as individuals. How do specific social and political contexts impact our physiological/emotional dysregulation, or reversely how can other social and political contexts promote physiological/emotional regulation? 


In parallel, the Centre is associated with two ongoing projects:


ARTIS (Art and Research on Transformations of Individuals and Societies) is a EU Horizon 2020-funded project under the call “Societal Transformations and the Arts.


The (trans)formation of a European sense of solidarity: Visceral politics and social belonging in a comparative European context, funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, with the participation of:

  • Prof. Andreas Roepstorff, University of Aarhus, School of Culture and Society, Interacting Minds Centre (PI), 

  • Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen, Institut für Philosophie, Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt- Universität Berlin, 

  • Dr. Dominika Kasprowicz, Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, 

  • Prof. Dr. Manos Tsakiris, Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway University of London, Great Britain & The Warburg Institute & The Institute of Philosophy, School of Advanced Study, University of London, 

  • Prof. Dr. Laura Cram, NRLabs Neuropolitics Research, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, Great Britain

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