15th KMC: The Emotional Brain (2011) – Centrum Kopernika Badań Interdyscyplinarnych UJ

15th KMC: The Emotional Brain (2011)

In the past emotions and feelings belonged to the domain of the humanities. They were analyzed by philosophers and cherished by poets, while the sciences looked at them with suspicion or simply ignored them.

The ‘affective revolution’ of the 1990s changed all this. Neuroscientists have showed us that emotions and feelings can be investigated with empirical methods. Moreover, they proved that the role of emotions is essential both for our perception of the world and for our social institutions. The challenge that we face today may be described as follows. Can both disciplines – the humanities and neuroscience – enrich and educate each other and close the gap between the Geisteswissenschaften and Naturwissenschaften. Or maybe it is neuroscience that will dominate the reflection over the human emotional life? Or possibly it will stay as it is: two separate disciplines, two separate methods, with no real point of contact?

To answer these questions, there is no other way than discussion, involving specialists in different fields. Such an interdisciplinary endeavor – with methodological awareness and up-to-date knowledge – is necessary, if we are to better understand who we are. The goal of The Emotional Brain: From the Humanities to Neuroscience and Back Again conference was to contribute to such a discussion.

The honorary guest of the conference was Jospeh LeDoux of New York University, whose work in the neursocience of emotions was a point of reference of the discussion. During the conference Professor LeDoux delivered the 2011 Copernicus Lecture

The conference was held under the honorary patronage of the Mayor of Kraków, Professor Jacek Majchrowski.

Organizing Committee

  • Michał Heller
  • Bartosz Brożek
  • Janusz Mączka
  • Wojciech Grygiel
  • Małgorzata Stawarz
  • Łukasz Kurek
  • Mateusz Hohol
  • Piotr Urbańczyk

Scientific Committee

  • Yadin Dudai
  • Michał Heller
  • Jerzy Vetulani
  • Jacek Dębiec


  • Joseph LeDoux (New York University)
  • Jacek Dębiec (New York University)
  • Yadin Dudai (The Weizmann Instutute of Science)
  • Dominika Dudek (Jagiellonian University)
  • Nico Frijda (University of Amsterdam)
  • Didier Grandjean (University of Geneva)
  • Bram Heerebout (University of Amsterdam)
  • Elizabeth Phelps (New York University)
  • James Russell (Boston College)
  • Janusz Rybakowski (University of Poznań)
  • Regina Sullivan (New York University)
  • Jerzy Vetulani (Polish Academy of Sciences)
  • Paul Whalen (Dartmouth College)
  • Bartosz Brożek (Jagiellonian University)
  • Wojciech Grygiel (John Paul II Pontifical University)
  • Wojciech Załuski (Jagiellonian University)


Thursday, May 19

Aula of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences,
Sławkowska St. 17, Kraków
9:00 – 9:10 Opening of the Conference
9:10 – 10:00 Y. DudaiCan the brain be unemotional?
10:00 – 10:50 N. FrijdaImpulsive action and impulse control
10:50 – 11:10 Coffee break
11:10 – 12:00 R. SullivanDevelopment of the emotional brain: Lessons from an animal model
12:00 – 12:50 J. DębiecTowards a neurobiological model of a transgenerational transfer of traumatic experience
12:00 – 14:20 Lunch break
14:20 – 15:10 D. DudekMadness or brain disorders. From dualism toward integration
15:10 – 16:00 J. RybakowskiLithium: the lightest metal and therapeutic agent in pathological emotional instability
16:00 – 16:20 Coffee break
16:20 – 17:10 J. VetulaniAggresion and empathy – a surprising mixture
Aula of Larisch Palace,
Bracka St. 12, Kraków
18:00 – 20:00 2011 Copernicus Center Lecture
Joseph LeDouxOur emotional brains

Friday, May 20

Aula of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences,
Sławkowska St. 17, Kraków
9:00 – 9:50 E. PhelpsEmotion and the brain: From animal models to human cognition
9:50 – 10:40 J. RussellLanguage, emotion, and facial expression
10:40 – 11:00 Coffee break
11:00 – 11:50 P. WhalenFace to face with the emotional brain
11:50 – 12:40 B. HeereboutGood vibrations emerging from evolutionary simulations
12:40 – 14:10 Lunch break
14:10 – 15:00 D. GrandjeanThe decoding of emotional human voices: insights from brain imaging and local field potentials in humans
15:00 – 15:50 W. ZałuskiTwo ways of assessing the rationality of emotions
15:50 – 16:10 Coffee break
16:10 – 17:00 B. BrożekFrom law to neuroscience and back again: a philosophical journey
17:00 – 17:50 W. GrygielPhilosophy of mind as philosophy in science
17:50 – 18:30 Discussion and closing of the conference



Conference website

Proceedings (fragment)

Conference photos: Day 1, Day 2

Lectures delivered during the conference are available at our YouTube channel.