We believe that the University of Wisconsin-Madison is now the premier institution in the country for emotion research. There are many activities that attest to the prominence of Wisconsin for emotion research. We have a newly funded training grant for emotion research at the pre- and post-doctoral level. The training grant includes 23 faculty with strong interests in emotion research.
These faculty come from five different departments ( Psychology, Psychiatry
, Human Development and Family Studies
, and Educational Psychology). The training grant is focused on three areas in emotion research that we consider to be particular strengths:
- Personality, temperament and individual differences
- Affective neuroscience
- Emotion and psychopathology
The training grant is directed by Davidson, and the co-director is Goldsmith. Graduate students can be supported by this training grant during their first two years in the department.
An important research and funding focus is provided by an NIMH Behavioral Science Center at Wisconsin, called the Wisconsin Center for Affective Science. The Center is currently funded through 2003. The principal investigators in our Center have tenure homes in either Psychology or Psychiatry. At Wisconsin, these departments have an unusually positive relationship with six faculty holding joint appointments in the two departments. The relationship between departments has been a tremendous asset in our efforts during the preceding project period. The two departments jointly sponsor the annual Wisconsin Symposium on Emotion and participate together in other joint activities. Faculty from the two departments often serve together on dissertation committees and several faculty who hold primary appointments in Psychiatry serve as major professors for graduate students in Psychology.
Wisconsin is also home to the Health Emotions Research Institute
, an interdisciplinary institute directed by Kalin (chair of the Department of Psychiatry) and focused on the scientific study of the mechanisms by which emotions influence our health. Davidson also plays an active role in this Institute.
One of the more informal emotion research-related activities is a monthly emotion discussion group that is composed of faculty and trainees. The group meets once per month in a different faculty member's home. The topics vary considerably and often reflect current research interests of the faculty. However, we also occasionally devote a series of meetings to a single topic. For example, we devoted the entire Fall, 1997 to an ongoing discussion of emotion and memory. We considered this topic from neuroscience, clinical, developmental and cognitive perspectives and each month, a different faculty member developed a reading list for the meeting and led the discussion. During the Fall of 1998 our monthly groups are focused on the opic of positive affect.
Each April we hold the annual Wisconsin Symposium on Emotion. April of 1998 was our fourth symposium, and it was on the topic of affective neuroscience. These symposia bring approximately four outside speakers to campus and feature two or three Wisconsin faculty in a two day symposium. In the Spring semester of each year, the faculty member organizing the symposium for that year leads a seminar focused on the work of the speakers. The students in the seminar read the speakers work in depth and prepare questions for the speakers. The students then moderate the discussion following each speaker's presentation. We expect to publish an edited volume based upon each of these symposia, with the faculty member who organizes the symposium serving as Editor of the volume. The volume based upon the first symposium on Emotion and Psychopathology is currently in press at Oxford University Press. The second symposium, held in April, 1996 was organized by Hill Goldsmith
and was focused on Emotional Development. The third symposium, held in April, 1997, was organized by Carol Ryff and was on the topic of Emotion, Social Relationships and Health. The focus of the upcoming Symposium in April, 1999 is on the topic of affect and plasticity.
Wisconsin is home to several highly specialized research facilities that play an important role in Center-related activities. First is the formal creation of a new laboratory for functional brain imaging. The Waisman Laboratory for Brain Imaging and Behavior
is named to honor the Foundation that provided partial support for the purchase of a new 3T MRI to be used full-time for brain-behavior research. The University provided another $6 million to support this facility, which strongly underscores the University's commitment to the field of affective science. The facilities will be housed on the first floor of a new addition to the Waisman Center
, an interdisciplinary research unit for neuroscience, behavior and developmental research. The new facility will house the PET scanner, a tandem accelerator for the production of short half-life tracers, radiochemistry laboratory facilities, the new 3T MRI scanner, a simulator room for acclimating subjects to the neuroimaging environment and familiarizing them with the details of the behavioral paradigm, image processing areas, a conference room/library and associated office space for faculty and staff. We will occupy approximately 17,000 square feet in this new facility. Ground breaking occurred in September, 1998, with occupancy scheduled for the late Fall, 1999. This will be one of the few facilities in the country with PET and high field strength MRI all together under a single roof in a research facility focused on brain-behavior relations. Moreover, it will be the only facility of its kind in the world with an explicit focus on affective neuroscience. Davidson will serve as the first Director of this facility.
Another major set of facilities extensively used for affective science research is the Harlow Primate Laboratory
. In addition, there are extensive laboratory facilities in individual faculty laboratories in the psychology and psychiatry departments.