Please join us on Friday, May 27, 2022, at 3:30 p.m., for a virtual colloquium given by Lanzetta Lecturer, Daniela Schiller, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Title and abstract are below. Zoom details will be forthcoming.
Title: Navigating Abstract Space
Abstract: The stability of affective states, and the flexible transition between them, are a hallmark of wellbeing. How does the brain represent, track, and shift between affective states? The talk will describe a series of studies investigating the lifecycle of emotional memories, and the use of not only direct experience but also imagination to modify emotional memories. While a great deal of our affective experience if formed through associative learning, this is only one form of memory organization. A more comprehensive and efficient organizational principal is the cognitive map. The talk will examine this concept in the case of abstract social space. Social encounters provide opportunities to become intimate or estranged from others and to gain or lose power over them. The locations of others on the axes of power and affiliation can serve as reference points for our own position in the social space. Research is beginning to uncover the spatial-like neural representation of these social coordinates. We will discuss recent and growing evidence for utilizing the principals of the cognitive map across multiple domains, providing a systematic way of organizing memories to navigate life.