Health and Well Being

Emotions have a strong impact on our well-being. Researchers at the Center have shown, for example, that negative emotions caused by an imbalance between work and family life can lead to musculoskeletal pain. In turn, physical pain is not only an unpleasant bodily state, but it is also detrimental to psychological well-being. This close link between the physical and the psychological is also attested by the finding that pain is processed by brain areas similar to those for disgust and unfairness, suggesting a common ground in the human brain for moral and physical distress.

In the field of mental health, our interdisciplinary teams from philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience study affective disorders such as social anxiety, depression, and phobia, as well as the emotional implications of other clinical conditions such as autism, addiction, Parkinson’s disease, and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Through the study of emotion, the Center aims to promote health and well-being. Different disciplines in addition to psychology contribute to this goal. In neuroscientific studies, our researchers have shown the importance of sufficient sleep, which is necessary to consolidate emotional memories to help us react optimally to future events. They have also demonstrated the negative impact on quality of sleep of the use of smartphones or computers late in the evening. From a philosophical perspective, work at the Center illustrates the recent trend that emphasizes value-based as opposed to pleasure-based conceptions of well-being.

Some of our health-oriented research is specifically focused on children and older adults. For example, we are working to improve children’s ability to self-regulate and control their emotions through cognitive training activities at school. At the same time, we are investigating the impact of meditation training in older adults, since recent scientific studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of mindfulness on mental health and well-being.