RITMO Seminar Series: A Theory of Sadness (David Huron, Ohio)

Professor David Huron (Ohio State University) will lecture on "A Theory of Sadness: Melancholy, Grief, and Nostalgia".

Picture: David Huron

ABSTRACT: What good is feeling sad? In this lecture I present the Triadic Theory of Stress. I review physiological, behavioral, developmental, cognitive, phenomenological, and sociological features of melancholy, grief, and nostalgia. The theory highlights the central role of the immune system, especially the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines. For example, the common features of weeping (watery eyes, nasal congestion, constricted pharynx, erratic breathing) are classic symptoms of a systemic allergic response. Moreover, recent research offers excellent evidence implicating depression (a sadness pathology) as a type of autoimmune disorder. We will see that there is a coherent story to tell that accounts for a wide range of phenomena, from the neurochemical to the subjective experience. We will also see that the Triadic Theory of Stress is able to illuminate various cultural expressions, such as self-injury associated with grief in many societies, or the joyful tears shed by beauty pageant winners.


BIO:David Huron is Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor at the Ohio State University, where he holds joint appointments in the School of Music and in the Center for Cognitive and Brain Sciences. Among other distinctions, Dr. Huron has been the Ernest Bloch Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, the Donald Wort Lecturer at Cambridge University, and the Astor Lecturer at Oxford. With some 170 scholarly publications, Huron's work has received a number of awards, including the Wallace Berry Award from the Society for Music Theory, and a lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Music Perception and Cognition.



Published Aug. 15, 2018 10:30 AM - Last modified Mar. 26, 2020 5:00 PM