The Emotional-Vestibular Analogy
Larry A. Herzberg (University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh)

October 8, 2014, 12:15pm - 1:45pm
Swiss Centre in the Affective Sciences, University of Geneva


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This Thursday at 4.15 p.m., Larry A. Herzberg (Wisconsin – Oshkosh) will present his paper “The Emotional-Vestibular Analogy” (abstract below).

We will meet at the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, at the Campus Biotech (9, Chemin des Mines, 1202 Geneva; see directions and map below), in the small conference room. 

Please come at 4 p.m. at the main entrance, so that we can provide you with a badge to access the building. In case you have trouble finding us, please call me at 076/561.71.35.

Attendance is free. All welcome!

Best wishes,

Santiago, on behalf of Thumos



The Emotional-Vestibular Analogy

In this talk, I first explain my motivation for developing what I call "the emotional-vestibular analogy", sketch out the analogy itself, and then discuss some epistemological issues that would arise were the analogy to be taken seriously by experimental psychologists. I argue that, like the vestibular system, the emotional system can plausibly be conceived of as "merely" sensory, rather than as autonomously perceptual (as that distinction is drawn by Tyler Burge). I suggest that just as the vestibular system allows a perceptual system like vision to intermodally represent a non-evaluative relation like verticality, the emotional system may allow such a perceptual system to intermodally represent evaluative relations (conceived of in terms of core relational themes) - for instance, it may allow the visual and emotional systems jointly to produce a percept that represents an approaching snake as a danger-to-me. Finally, I suggest that the experimental psychology of emotion may need to develop more sophisticated techniques of measurement (similar to those used for decades by perceptual psychology) before the strength of the analogy can finally be judged, and before any hypotheses based on it could be confirmed or disconfirmed.

How to reach the Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences?

Access from the Cornavin train station

The closest tram/bus stops are called “France” (tram stop) and “Mines” (bus stop). There are two ways to come to the Center from the Cornavin train station.

1) Take bus 25  or 1 until the stop “Mines” (6th stop). The bus stops right in front of the main entrance.

2) Take tram 15  until the stop “France” (3rd stop), walk downhill for about 100 meters (2 minutes), towards the lake, then turn left on "Avenue Blanc". At the end of the street (about 300 meters), you will reach the main entrance of the building at 9 chemin des Mines.

See map on

You can find more information about our weekly seminar and about Thumos on

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