Casasanto, Daniel

Daniel Casasanto, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of Chicago

The Illinois State Department of Psychology and the Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences (CBS) Colloquium Series will present a talk, titled “How the Body Shapes Emotion in Brain and Behavior,” with Daniel Casasanto, Ph.D., at 2 p.m. Friday, November 6, in DeGarmo Hall, room 48. Casasanto is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Chicago.


To the extent that the content of the mind depends on our physical interactions with the environment, people with different kinds of bodies, who interact with the world in different ways, should think differently as a consequence. I call this the body-specificity hypothesis. This talk will review evidence that right- and left-handers, who perform many actions differently, form correspondingly different representations of two basic components of human emotion: valence and motivation.

Experiments use a combination of brain imaging (EEG), neural stimulation (tDCS), visual hemifield tasks, and motor training tasks to investigate how emotions are lateralized in the cerebral hemispheres—and why they are lateralized this way. Results show that the way we use our hands influences how we think, feel, and make decisions. Furthermore, by exploring a previously hidden link between neural systems for action and emotion, these studies establish a new principle by which emotions are organized in the human brain.

CBS Colloquium Series

The CBS Colloquium Series brings high-caliber researchers to the Illinois State University campus to share their work with the local academic community. Individual faculty members invite speakers to campus based on their interests. The Department of Psychology also invites alumni to speak in the series in an effort to maintain strong connections with former students and provide them with a chance to pass on their knowledge to current students. The series provides both faculty and students with a variety of professional development opportunities and allows students to network with professionals in their field of study.

This speaker series is funded by the Department of Psychology. To support the Department of Psychology and help enhance its educational mission with advanced teaching methods, guest speakers, and more opportunities for students to learn through research experiences, please consider making a gift to the department through the Illinois State University Foundation.

If you need a special accommodation to participate in this program, call the Department of Psychology at (309) 439-8651. Please allow sufficient time to arrange the accommodation.