The question of how to change the minds of individuals or groups is a fundamental concern for a wide range of professions and academic disciplines. This integrative symposia will examine the state of the science on this complex issue and reflect on what professionals from various backgrounds can learn from each other’s expertise on changing minds.
Contrary to the wealth of studies on external perception, interoception—the ability to perceive the internal state of one’s body—has been neglected in psychology until recently. Promising new theories suggest interoception lies at the heart of our ability to perceive feelings from our bodies and provides our sense of self-awareness and well‐being. This symposium brings together different research traditions on the topic of interoception that highlight how studying the ability to sense internal bodily changes may hold the key to understanding mental health, sociopolitical biases, and more.
The emergence of language transformed human cognition, enabling our species to invent the Internet and travel to space. But what specific aspects of cognition have been changed by the evolution of language? We examine this question in a symposium that compares language across species and considers the consequences of literacy on the mind.
All complex life evolved from and co-evolved with microbes. Our microbiome impacts our cognitive and physiological health, and compelling evidence demonstrates that microbes and other pathogens still shape fundamental aspects of animal biology. These findings raise new questions about human behavior at the intersection of human and microbial biology. The speakers in this symposium provide state-of-the-art overviews of how microbes in our guts and germs in our environment shape our behavior.
No other period in history has seen such preoccupation with and dedication to the presentation, manipulation, and modification of the physical body—particularly its appearance—as a way to experience and socially share the self. This symposium takes a scientific perspective on the tension between identity and change at a time when technology increasingly helps us alter our appearance or present it to others.
Sporting events, political rallies, religious gatherings, and street demonstrations all testify to the importance of collective emotions in social groups. Yet, the mechanisms and consequences of collective emotions remain poorly understood. This symposium addresses the factors that distinguish collective emotions from their individual counterparts, how these emotions contribute to the emergence and consolidation of social identities, and the role they play in the digital age.
Culture has been credited for humanity’s success as a biological species. Recent developments, however, suggest social learning—the capacity to learn from others—is not a uniquely human ability, but is distributed relatively widely in nature. How, then, is human culture different from cultures of other species? How did culture help humanity spread across the continents? What are the consequences of culture to cumulative cultural evolution and the future of humanity?
The separation between perception and cognition is a basic distinction made in psychological education and can be found in any textbook. Recent data appear, however, to erase this distinction. For example, cognition appears to affect processing from the very first moments, and there appear to be reciprocal connections between most levels of neural processing. At the same time, it may be valuable to distinguish between top-down and bottom-up mechanisms. Given these breakthroughs in our understanding of how the brain works, is it time to drop the distinction between perception and cognition?