Developmental & Computational Affective Cognition Lab

University of Toronto Scarborough

Emotion as Information

Our perception of the world is limited to what we can directly experience. However, even from a quick glimpse at the photos above, you can recover parts of the scenes that are not explicitly portrayed: an exciting sports game in Scene 1, a gruesome horror movie in Scene 2, and a peacefully sleeping baby in Scene 3. How is this possible?

In the Developmental & Computational Affective Cognition Lab, we are interested in how humans use others' facial, vocal, and bodily expressions of emotion as a rich source of information to learn about the world. Instead of treating emotional expressions as indicators of internal feelings, we investigate how even infants and young children harness emotional cues to learn about unobservable aspects of the physical and social world. The lab brings together perspectives from developmental, cognitive, and affective sciences and uses interdisciplinary approaches (including computational modeling, behavioral experiments, and exploratory play) to understanding how emotion supports powerful learning even early in life.

Please see Research Areas for current directions of the lab.