Mary Helen Immordino-Yang (USC)
Embodied brains, social minds, cultural meaning: Interdisciplinary, developmental research on social emotions

Brain regions that map visceral states are also involved in conscious experiences of emotion (feelings). This functional confluence is central to modern theories of emotion, which posit that emotion evolved as a basic mechanism of learning and decision-making that promotes survival and flourishing. But how then does the brain support social emotions that pertain not to physical survival but to broader cultural meaning-making? How do we become inspired by learning of anotherís amazing accomplishments and virtue, for example? In this talk, Mary Helen Immordino-Yang will discuss her developmental, cross-cultural research on this question. Referencing a social-emotion induction paradigm that integrates qualitative interviewing with neuroimaging and psychophysiological recording, she will show how individuals and cultural groups differ in the neural correlates of social-emotional feelings, and present some of her latest longitudinal findings on the development of the neural correlates of complex emotional feelings in adolescents.

MARY HELEN IMMORDINO-YANG is a Professor of Education, Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Southern California. A social-affective neuroscientist and human development psychologist, she studies social-emotion and self-awareness across cultures, connections to cognition, resilience, identity and moral development, and implications for schools. A former public junior-high-school science teacher, she earned her doctorate at Harvard University. She has received numerous awards for her research and impact on society, including the PNAS Cozzarelli Prize, a U.S. ARMY honor coin, a commendation from Los Angeles County, and early career achievement awards from APS, AERA, AAAS and FABBS. She is the inaugural recipient of the International Mind, Brain and Education Society (IMBES) award for Transforming Education through Neuroscience, and was elected 2016-2018 IMBES president. She is a distinguished scientist on the Aspen Instituteís National Commission on Social, Emotional and Academic Development and is serving on the NAS committee writing How People Learn II.