Center for Interdisziplinary Research

ZiF Research Group

Emotions as Bio-Cultural Processes

The First Three Months of the Group

At the beginning of its research year, the Group dealt intensively with the disciplinary differences within the research of emotions. In order to do so, the original plans had been modified so that the starting point of discussions was the developmental psychologic contribution of Manfred Holodysnki at the Opening Conference. This already contained quite a few interdisciplinary points of contact which were discussed and developed further by the Fellows in the subsequent Group meetings. However, one difficulty of interdisciplinary work became apparent rather quickly: the heterogeneous terminologies and 'lingoes' of the individual disciplines. Especially problematic were those terms that are used in all disciplines but carry very severe differences in connotation.
Through ample and sometimes quite controversial discussions a consensus concerning the central terms could be reached within the Group, which could then be integrated in a first rough schema of bio-cultural emotional processes. The refinement of these conceptual issues, especially with regard to the first intermediary workshop, was accomplished by a small group of Fellows. The schema will be constantly refined during the work of the Research Group.
After the first phase of interdisciplinary acquaintance the Group turned to shame and pride as examples for very complex and heavily culturally formed 'social emotions'. Another small group of Fellows was established to prepare a contribution for the workshop in July. Another aspect that has been discussed at the workshop and prepared by a small group was the function of emotions as intra- and interpersonal communicators and the connected questions of habitualizing emotions and gaining of emotional competence.
A special working phase was the one-week workshop with Prof. Bradd Shore in June, at which the Fellows used his book Culture in Mind to work out how cultural factors inscribe themselves into spirit, body and emotions of humans.

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