“I realized that ‘wellbeing’ is something more complicated – and thus also interesting – than I thought.” On July 7-15th 2022, our resident postdoc Yung-Ting Tsou participated in the International Summer School in Affective Sciences (ISSAS).
The ISSAS is held every summer, in Chateau de Bossey, Switzerland. It is organized by the Swiss Center of Affective Sciences, which involves various disciplines including psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy. This year, the topic was “emotions and well-being”.
Q: What are your main take-aways from ISSAS?
I like that the lectures emphasized the role of positive emotions. In Psychology we often focus on negative emotions. I also realized that ‘wellbeing’ is something more complicated – and thus interesting – than I thought. There are so many ways to measure it, each focusing on different aspects. What is wellbeing for different people and how can we capture that?
On the other hand, I found that, when studying people who have “low wellbeing”, most studies still use a “they” perspective. So, there’s much more we can do to involve stakeholders (e.g. research subjects) in studies, and support researchers in doing so.
Q: What was the summer school’s program like?
There were a series of lectures on this year’s topic, but from different perspectives: neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, psychiatry. Also from more specific sub-areas like clinical psychology or religion. Each day we had smaller group discussions through workshops as well.
Additionally, we were divided into groups to design a research project and present it on the last day. The interesting – and difficult – part of this was that all the group members were from different disciplines, so we spent at least half of the time simply talking, to know the shared interest and to clarify language. This was my first time to know that “hypothesis” has different meanings in Philosophy and Psychology!
A social event was held in one afternoon: we went to the Jazz Festival in Montreux. Besides, the location [of ISSAS] is really beautiful!
Q: Who could be ISSAS suitable for, given the chance?
I think it’s a perfect place for senior PhDs and postdocs because you get to know people all around the world who have similar interests but see things very differently. It’s not just about work, but also to make friends as we stayed together for an entire week from morning to evening.