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[Defense] Convergence in Affective Sciences

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

9:00 am - 10:30 am

In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
Vitalii Zhukov

will defend his proposal
Convergence in Affective Sciences


Affective sciences have experienced significant growth in the last half century. Although affective sciences primarily originate from psychology, several other disciplines claim contributions, suggesting an underlying convergent nature. Here we systematically analyze the evolution of disciplinary contributions and interactions at the nexus of affective sciences. To this end, we draw bibliographic records from PubMed, identifying affective publications through their major Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) descriptors; we find over 200,000 such ublications since the mid-1960s. We aggregate MeSH descriptors into five Subject Areas (SA): Biological Sciences, Psychological Sciences, Medical Sciences, Technical Methods, and Humanities. We find that all five Subject Areas have been contributing to the affective scholarship, and in turn these constitutional contributions are mirrored in the impact affective publications have in the broader scientific literature. The evolution of these contributions is characterized by an increasing trend in Medical Sciences and Humanities, and a decreasing trend in Psychological Sciences, with all five Subject Areas converging towards the 20% participation mark, that is, an equiproportional contribution. This is the definition of ideal science convergence, rendering affective sciences one of the disciplines of the future. Furthermore, analyzing the evolution of subareas within the Technical Methods SA, we find a decreasing trend in Drugs offset by an increasing trend in Diagnostics, indicating a scholarly focus in methods of prevention rather than methods of intervention. Importantly, we also observe an increasing trend in Techno-Informatics, confirming the catalyzing role of computing in science convergence. Using a topical diversity metric extracted through co-occurrence matrices of Subject Areas, we show that affective sciences is more topically diverse, and thus more convergent, than brain science – a field thought to top the convergence list. We conclude that the rise of Affectivism can be partly explained by the exceptional characteristics of convergence in affective sciences, which endows them with a pervasive power.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023
9:00 AM - 10:30 AM CT

Online via MS Teams

Dr. Ioannis Pavlidis, proposal advisor

Faculty, students, and the general public are invited.

Doctoral Proposal Defense