Learning to Value: Emotion Development from Infancy to Adolescence


ISRE is one of the biggest events in the emotion science calendar and, while interdisciplinary in nature, emotion development has recently been underrepresented. Our goal is to begin to address this by hosting a pre-conference on emotional development that respects the ISRE ideals of international and interdisciplinary research. In this pre-conference, we bring together people from different countries and disciplines to consider how the developing child and adolescent learn how to value (or feel) about the objects (tangible objects, but also events, ideas, other people) in their environment. This can either be in terms of ‘the individual scientist’ who discovers through their own private investigations, ‘the social animal’ appreciating others’ emotions to learn about what is interesting, amusing, disgusting etc., or the underlying mechanisms involved in such processes (e.g. emotion contagion, empathy). Our goal is to provide a multi- disciplinary perspective of how individuals and societies learn to value – in short, how and why emotions develop. We will also provide time for poster and/or flash talk sessions to encourage researchers of multiple disciplines (psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, sociology, anthropology, history, primatology, education…) and career stages to attend and present their research. The exact nature of these sessions and a timetable will be made available soon. The titles and abstracts of the individual presentations will be updated as we receive them. Furthermore, an aperitif will be offered by the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences to close the pre-conference.


Daniel Dukes (Oxford and Fribourg Universities, Swiss Center for Affective Sciences)

Having previously worked in special education, Daniel’s research focuses on socio-emotional processes. He is particularly interested in how emotions develop and in their relationship with non-verbal behaviour and social cognition. He is also interested in positive emotions with a particular interest in epistemic emotions. Currently the beneficiary of Swiss National Science Early Postdoc funding that has taken him to Amsterdam (Agneta Fischer) and Oxford (Brian Parkinson) universities, Daniel also works in Andrea Samson’s chEERS Lab in Fribourg, Switzerland.

Carolien Rieffe (Leiden, NL)

Carolien Rieffe, PhD, is a professor in the unit Developmental and Educational Psychology of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University. She is also Honorary Professor at UCL, University of London, UK. She leads her own research lab (www.focusonemotions.nl ) that focuses on the functionality of emotions and its impact on social development and mental health in children of all ages, from babies to adolescents; in different clinical groups (autism, hearing loss, language disorders) and across cultures or bi-culturally.

Andrea Samson (Fribourg, CH, Swiss Distance Learning University, Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences)

Andrea C. Samson is assistant professor at the Swiss Distance Learning University (Psychology) and the University of Fribourg (Special Education). She focuses on affective processes such as positive emotions and emotion regulation in neurodevelopmental disorders and intellectual disabilities to better understand mechanisms that contribute to the development affective disorders. Her research includes also novel technologies such as virtual reality for inducing and assessing emotions, as well as for interventions. She is also interested in play and games as part of remediation programs to promote emotional competences.

Eric Walle (University of California, Merced, USA)

Eric A. Walle is an Assistant Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of California, Merced. He has written extensively on the functions of emotions in interpersonal contexts, and his empirical work examines how infants and young children process and behaviorally respond to discrete emotions. He serves as Co-Editor of Emotion Researcher, published by the International Society for Research on Emotion, and is on the editorial board of Cognition and EmotionInfancy, and Frontiers in Developmental Psychology.

Presenters (psychologist, unless otherwise stated)

Linda Camras (De Paul University, USA) - TBC

Dr. Linda Camras is a Professor Emerita at Chicago’s DePaul University. Her research has focused on the development of emotional expression in infants and children from both Western and Asian cultures. Her work has contributed to the recent revival of interest in constructivist and dynamical systems approaches to emotion and emotional development. More recently, she has investigated how American and Chinese children’s perceptions of their parents’ behaviors affects their emotional well-being. She also has written several general review articles and chapters on emotional development.

Zanna Clay (Durham, UK) - primatologist

Zanna Clay is developmental and comparative psychologist in the Psychology Department at Durham University, where she is an Assistant Professor. Dr Clay studies the evolution and development of empathy, communication and social cognition through comparisons of human children and great apes.  She conducts research with British children as well as cross-culturally and studies great apes in the wild, sanctuaries and in captivity, where she has compared the effect of early trauma on socio-emotional development. Dr Clay has recently been awarded an ERC Starting Grant to investigate empathy development through a comparative and cross-cultural investigation of human and bonobo infants.

Marci Cottingham (Amsterdam, NL) - sociologist

Marci Cottingham is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. She examines how emotions are structured by social inequalities, organizations, and media communications across the domains of healthcare and biomedical science. Her projects examine the emotional labor of nurses, gendered assumptions in clinical trials and healthcare, and the emotional dimensions of risk. Her work has been recognized by the American Sociological Association, the National Science Foundation, and the Society for the Study of Social Problems and has been published in Gender & Society, Theory & Society, and Social Psychology Quarterly.

Amy Halberstadt (North Carolina State University, USA)

Professor of Psychology at North Carolina State University, Amy Halberstadt studies socio-emotional development, with a focus on parental and cultural socialization of children’s emotion experience, expression, and understanding. Overall, her work demonstrates that parents’ beliefs and behaviors, including their emotional expressiveness and reactions to children’s emotions, influence children’s own emotional experience, expressiveness, and understanding of others’ emotional lives; these all, in turn, have impact on children’s coping and relations with siblings and peers.  Recent work focuses on intersections between culture and experience of emotion, and racialized anger bias in school settings. Halberstadt is Co-Editor of Social Development. 

Amrisha Vaish (University of Virginia, USA)

Amrisha is Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, where she directs the Early Social Development Lab. Her research focuses on social and moral development, particularly on the emotions and motivations underlying young children’s moral behaviors. She earned her Ph.D. in Psychology in 2010 from the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, under the supervision of Mike Tomasello. Amrisha has published over 45 journal articles. She received the 2011 SRCD Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award, the 2012 APA Division 7 Dissertation Award, and the 2018 APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions, and she is an APS Fellow.

Daniel Vanello (University College, Dublin, Eire) – philosopher

Daniel Vanello is currently Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Philosophy Department of University College Dublin. He received his PhD from the University of Warwick. Daniel specializes in the role of emotions and social affective interactions in the acquisition of our understanding of value and in the formation of moral agency.

Maria von Salisch (Leuphana, GE)

is Professor of Developmental Psychology at Leuphana University Lüneburg in Germany. Over the last years she has studied children’s and adolescents’ emotional development using behavioral observation of facial expressions (EMFACS), ratings by peers and teachers, self-reports, and objective tests. In the ELEFANT study, she focused on the development of emotion knowledge among four-to six-year-olds. Her current grant “Feeling, Thinking, Speaking” involves developing an intervention for kindergarten teachers that combines promoting children's language skills alongside with their emotion knowledge. Evaluation will focus on changes in children’s emotion knowledge that are mediated by teacher behavior.

Daniel Dukes and Eric Walle (organizers) will also present.