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Please join us for our next Social Brain and Behaviour Club meeting at 4pm on Wednesday 8th November in the Rainolds Room, Corpus Christi College. Our speakers will be Prof. Robin Murphy and Dr. Alex Sel. The format will be two short 20 minute presentations on topics related to social neuroscience and social psychology with some time for discussion.

Trump and the Brexit Brain: Learning and the social contact hypothesis, Dr. Robin Murphy

Stereoptypical attitudes are responsible for some of our more hurtful decisions and behaviours. In terms of rationality, it seems difficult to understand from where some biases emerge. The Illusory Correlation effect (Hamilton & Gifford, 1972; JESP) is an experimental demonstration of such a bias emerging in the absence of supporting evidence. I will discuss Model free or Model Based theories of learning and how they can be used to explore the development of negative attitudes (Murphy et al., 2011; QJEP). I will also present research involving the experimental study of these acquisition processes and the utility (and disutility) of evidence gathered from neural processes (Spiers et al., 2017, J. CogNeuro).

Interoceptive predictions in emotion understanding, Dr. Alex Sel.

The ability to perceive internal bodily states such as hunger, thirst, pain, muscular and visceral sensations, known as interoception, is central to many theories of emotion and embodied cognition. For many years, interoception was understood as a purely bottom-up, sensory-driven phenomenon, based on the representation of afferent sensory input from the body. However, recent theories suggest that interoception is a top-down, prediction-driven phenomenon that, as with other sensory modalities, enables the inference of the causes of bodily sensations on the basis of past experiences. In this talk, I will present neural evidence supporting the predictive role of cardiac signals in the processing of emotional expressions. I will also discuss theoretical and practical implications of interoceptive predictions in embodied cognition.