Symposium on the integration of emotion, pain, and cognition in the brain

We hope that many of you can join us for what promises to be an exciting symposium on the integration of emotion, pain, and cognition in the brain. Traditionally, these three fundamental mental faculties have been studied in a mono-disciplinary fashion, with separate silos–journals, conferences, societies–for affective, nociceptive, and cognitive neuroscientists. Yet, there is a growing recognition that emotion, pain, and cognition are tightly interwoven in the brain and share a number of common psychological features (see Shackman, Fox, & Seminowicz, in press). Pain, for example, grabs attention, elicits fear and vigilance, and promotes avoidance. Clarifying the underlying neural circuitry mandates a multi-disciplinary perspective. This symposium aims to facilitate this kind of cross-talk and cross-fertilization. Understanding the ways in which emotion, pain, and cognitive control are integrated in the brain is important, not just for our basic scientific understanding of the mind, but also for public health. Chronic pain, anxiety, and depression are common, costly, and challenging to treat. Understanding the shared circuitry would inform the development of novel intervention strategies for these complex, debilitating disorders.
The symposium is part of the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and will occur on Monday November 17th at 1:30 PM in Room 145B (on the lobby level). The symposium was orchestrated by our close collaborator, Dave Seminowicz (UMD Baltimore), and will include presentations from Tor Wager (Boulder), Siri Leknes (Oslo), Ali Mazaheri (Amsterdam), & Signe Bray (Calgary).