Many fields of neuroscience and psychiatry and other brain-related sciences tend to focus on the negatives, whether it is disorders, diseases, or syndromes; a group of researchers at Georgia State University’s Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (CBN), however, are aiming to change that.
Working with the support of a Templeton Foundation grant, the CBN at GSU are presently developing a series of research topics to investigate various aspects of positive emotions and social interactions, such as collaboration, empathy, social tolerance, hope, and several others.
“While the study of positive emotions has now become a vibrant component of several areas of social science, far less work has been done on the fundamental neural processes related to positive emotional and social states,” says CBN Director, Elliott Albers, Ph.D. “The CBN wishes to build complementary work in neuroscience in this area by stimulating new advances in basic neuroscience research focused on social bonding.”
The general focus of this large, estimable research project is to try and understand the fundamental principles behind how these positive interactions and feelings exist – and why they exist – in a Darwinist, naturally competitive world. Concepts of empathy and tolerance can be seen by some as counter-productive of the basics of survival – the “eat-or-be-eaten” and “fight of flight” instincts.
In the spring of 2010, GSU’s CBN will hold a symposium to elaborate and discuss this project.