ACS at a Glance
“Affective and Cognitive Sciences” (ACS) comprises both the affective and cognitive branches of psychology and places particular emphasis on the topic areas shared by these two sub-fields.
One notable example of this is the empirical study of aesthetics: preferences and partiality for specific objects, products or works of art are based on both affective reactions (e.g. primary reactions of attraction and aversion) and on cognitive factors triggered, for example, by knowledge of the aesthetic object, associations with the object, and by complex problem solving related to further cognitive processing of the object.
Affective vs. Cognitive Psychology, or Affective AND Cognitive Psychology?
Not long ago, cognitive psychology scholars made a strict distinction between affect/emotion and cognition. In some cases, affect and emotion were even considered to be purely disruptive factors of cognition. But from a research-methodological standpoint, this is highly problematic, as a separation of these key elements is to a large extent contrived and inconsistent with the realities of human experience in which cognition is always accompanied by emotion, and vice versa. Modern cognition research is consistent in its incorporation of the affect/emotion research field in order to more fully explain human action. This approach corresponds with neuroscientific findings which, for example, have been able to show that, even in concentration processes, neuronal systems responsible for emotional processing, like the amygdala, take on a significant role and are closely linked to the cortex.
The incorporation of these specific topics into one subject area creates a particularly exciting and widely applicable research field that is uniquely suited to interdisciplinary investigation and is therefore an ideal foundation for our graduate school.