Each day of the event is divided in two different methods of learning, theoretical and practical. That is, the invited speakers will lecture on their topics of expertise in the mornings and more practical and hands-on learning experiences will be provided in the afternoons. All attendees will present their ongoing studies/projects in two poster sessions. The first day will start with a morning coffee to provide the first opportunity to socialize and make attendees comfortable. After a knowledge-intensive 10 days, the event will conclude with a social to provide a last opportunity for networking.
PART I – INTRODUCTION
The president of the Mackenzie Presbyterian University as well as the funding agency FAPESP will welcome the speakers and attendees. The organizing committee will introduce themselves and present the aims of the event and the schedule for the event will be presented and explained. An introduction into the topic will be given by explaining social cognitive and affective neuroscience as well as its relevance and importance for human everyday interactions.
PART II - METHODS ON SOCIAL & AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE
National and international experts will present state of the art methods to investigate social and affective neuroscience with the current technical equipment available. That is, brain imaging (MRI, NIRS), electrophysiology (EEG, EMG), brain stimulation (TMS), and eye-tracking. The various methods are allocated one afternoon each. These sessions will be partly theoretical and partly interactive in that knowledge about the methods is provided by the speakers followed by conducting demonstrations using the respective methods. The aim of these sessions is to familiarize the attendees with all methods by providing the necessary basic information (as attendees will likely not be familiar with all methods) but also to deepen the understanding and usability of these methods in social and affective neuroscience for more experienced attendees. The attendees will each be allocated to one of four groups (to form smaller groups that can be accommodated in the laboratories) based on their level of experience with the methods. The groups will stay together across the four afternoons and rotate from method to method. In the end, every participant learns about all methods.
PART III - AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE
International high-profile experts will lecture on affective neuroscience. Speakers will present the current state of affective neuroscience research and explain the relevance of this research for everyday social interactions and explain various aspects of social interactions based on the research. The term ‘affective’ is related to emotions and their processing, which plays a crucial role in human social interactions. We are constantly presented with our own emotions and moods and those of others. In social interactions, perceived emotion processing and the processing of one’s own emotions constitute ongoing necessities. Affective states guide our attention as well as motivation and thus have an effect on social interactions. This part of the event is split into sections where the human senses (auditory, tactile, visual) and the body (postures, gestures) are related to emotions (experience and expression). How the processes within each of the sections can explain human behavior and affects human behavior in social interactions will be demonstrated.
PART IV – SOCIAL NEUROSCIENCE
International and national high-profile experts will lecture on social neuroscience. The speakers will use the current state of research on social neuroscience to explain issues as prejudice and dehumanization as well as ingroup/outgroup dynamics present in society.
PART V – SOCIAL AND MORAL EMOTIONS
International and national high-profile experts will lecture on social neuroscience. Whereas basic emotions involve subtler cognitive processes, social and moral emotions involve more conscious judgements. Social and moral emotions guide our behavior towards others, but the magnitude with which individuals experience these emotions varies greatly. The speakers will disentangle the neuroscientific processes involved in social and moral emotions.
PART VI – CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCE
International high-profile experts will lecture on clinical neuroscience, particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As much as neuroscience can be used to explain everyday phenomena in social interactions, neuroscience can explain disorders/conditions of clinical relevance like ASD. The investigation of brains of healthy individuals compared to those with clinical diagnoses provides invaluable information on the disorders and the associated symptoms. With ASD being a condition mainly affecting social functioning, atypical brain processes can explain abnormalities in regard to social skills. Neuroscience can further explain emotion regulation and deficiency thereof.
PART VII – POSTER SESSIONS AND HANDS-ON PROJECTS
All attendees will present their studies/projects in two poster sessions allocated in Week 2 (Poster Sessions I and II). It will be a great opportunity to the attendees to present and discuss their studies, interact with other attendees and receive feedback from the expert scientists.
Additionally, the attendees will have the opportunity to conduct a small research projects using the methods they have learned about and supervised by the expert most relevant to their own research. Each speaker will be leading one small project. These projects will be worked on for two afternoons (Methods sessions). The results will then be presented to the rest of the attendees on the last afternoon of the event (Project Presentation).
PART VIII –FAPESP
Our SPSAN is made possible by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) under the Sao Paulo School of Advanced Science program (grant no. 2017/17414-3). On Monday afternoon of the Week 2, the event will be dedicated to introduce FAPESP to all attendees describing their several scientific programs and financial support, their cooperation agreements with international universities and funding agencies, and opportunities to support young researchers.
PART VII – FINAL REMARKS
In this last session of the event, a summary will be given combining the information from all parts to push for better understanding of social interactions from various viewpoints. This session will be ended with a discussion of the future of social and affective neuroscience addressing methods as well as potential research areas within social and affective neuroscience.