Australian Perspective on Social and Affective Neuroscience
Australian Perspective on Social and Affective Neuroscience

Neuroscience is believed to be the most fascinating branch of science. It explains what happiness is in scientific terms. It says, happiness is not something that happens freely, in fact, it is the result of exercising, toning as well as testing of the happiness muscles. So, what we learn from this is, we really need to put our happiness muscles through their paces in order to feel actually happy. The reason why neuroscience is unique is the way it studies the brain, an object which intrigues everyone in this universe. Our brain defines our personality and its study is crucial to understand who we are. When someone faces mental health challenges, the first thing that comes to his mind is seeking an expert for personal brain training. It really helps to break down the science and psychology behind the mental health challenges.  Neuroscience is something that precisely works on the brain and then it’s followed by the mind. Every country has its own perspective on neuroscience and its own way to broaden this concept. In this blog, we will be taking you through the perspective of the most advanced nation Australia on affective neuroscience.

Australia’s History with Affective Neuroscience

For the last few decades, social and affective neuroscience has been established as a specific area of enquiry yet Australia’s viewpoint on this field of neuroscience was not formally considered till 2014. By taking the idea of the growing field of affective social neuroscience in view, the Australian Society for Social and Affective Neuroscience decided to organize a meeting in Melbourne in March 2014 with the aim of forming an Australian Society for Social and Affective Neuroscience. This society was officially established on September 23, 2015. The society turned into a non-profit organization with a single aim of advancing the applied and basic research on social and affective behaviour of distinct species. This investigation uses a slew of refined neuropsychological and neuroscience techniques. The AS4SAN takes into account the study of peripheral and central nervous system mechanisms underlying social and affective behaviour.

Apart from advancing the research, there are some other goals of AS4SAN:

  • To ease out the formal and informal interaction between the researchers at all levels of training consequently fostering the interdisciplinary collaborations.

  • To facilitate the communication of the translational value of research with the general public

  • To assist students as well as early-career researchers at all levels of training

  • To engage in a cooperative venture with community partners 

Let’s Talk About the Methods Used by the Australian Society for Social and Affective Neuroscience for the Better Understanding of the Australian Perspective:

  • Survey

During 2018, the members of AS4SAN committee along with the authors MK, FK, and GW created a survey with 19 questions. The purpose of these questions was to collect the demographic information about the age, gender employment status, location, level of study, as well as the current institution. Also, there were some remaining questions in this survey which basically covered the area of research interest along with the types of techniques employed in data collection. In this way, those respondents were contacted who were promising via various channels like AS4SAN Facebook account, Twitter handle, Webpage as well through the advertisement at the annual AS4SAN conference. The next step was to let the respondents fill another online survey which was hosted by Qualtrics Software. Though this survey was not personalised and could be forwarded to the colleagues. It was available for 10 days and a reminder to the respondents was also sent. This study was also approved by the University of Sydney, Research Integrity and Ethics Administration (2018/307).

 

  • Using Social Media Trends 

 

In this method, the Squarespace (the host of the AS4SAN webpage) amassed the unique visits, the geography of IP addresses, and the number of views on the AS4SAN website. Also, the quarterly newsletters were sent through MailChimp and then the report was created which had the data of a number of newsletters opened and geographic statistics. The analytics functions were used in order to extract the data of AS4SAN’s Twitter handle and insights function was used to extract the Facebook handle data.

What did We Concluded from the Above Mentioned Methods?

Though there are a number of other methods adopted with the aim of knowing the Australian perspective on Social and Affective neuroscience, we just focused on two main methods. Taking the results of these methods, it can be concluded that the field of social and affective neuroscience has been actively contributed by Australia. The output of Australia in the global publication of papers on social and affective neuroscience has been substantially increased from 2.1% to 4.9% (which is almost the double). In this way, Australia secured its place in the top 10 globally publications output. Though initially, the contribution of Australia to this field was not widely known, over the last decade it has been bringing new challenges and opportunities in this field of research.


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Alice Smith in Science
11 Feb 2021