How and why do we feel emotion? Anger, love, hurt, compassion, empathy, regret, and happiness are just some of the feelings that a song, a scent, or an old photograph of someone can conjure inside of us. Emotion and emotional memory are fundamental to our lived experience as human beings. What is the evolutionary purpose of emotion? Of emotional memory? We turn to Jonathan Gratch to get in touch with the process and purpose behind our feelings.
Jonathan Gratch is Director for Virtual Human Research at the University of Southern California’s (USC) Institute for Creative Technologies, a Research Full Professor of Computer Science and Psychology at USC and co-director of USC’s Computational Emotion Group. Dr. Gratch’s research focuses on computational models of human cognitive and social processes, especially emotion, and explores these models’ role in shaping human-computer interactions in virtual environments. He studies the relationship between cognition and emotion, the cognitive processes underlying emotional responses, and the influence of emotion on decision making and physical behavior. He is the founding and current Editor-in-Chief of IEEE’s Transactions on Affective Computing (3.5 impact factor in 2013), Associate Editor of Emotion Review and theJournal of Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, and former President of the Association for the Advancement of Affective Computing (AAAC).