2009 Conference

Sensation to Emotion Conference: March 2-3, 2009, New York City
In the late winter of 2009, the Sensation to Emotion Conference brought together scholars and clinicians across disciplines in order to advance the understanding of how sensory processing and emotion regulation interact, and how these processes affect human behavior. Both days of the conference featured panel discussions about basic and applied research, as well as presentations and clinical therapy workshops. We explored the neurobehavioral processes underlying the emotions often associated with a high reactivity level to sensory information, with attention focused on the auditory domains and upon the fear response.

Presentations
Sensory Processing Disorder (Sensory Over-Responsivity)
Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D. OTR

Emotional Processing and Regulation in the Human Brain
Elizabeth Phelps, Ph.D.

Multisensory Integration in Sensory Processing Disorder: Current Neuroscience Research
Barbara Brett-Green, Ph.D.

Sensory Responsivity and Emotion Regulation in Personality Disorders
M. Zachary Rosenthal, Ph.D.

Mindfulness Meditation for Emotion Regulation
Jeffrey Brantley, M.D.

Validating Music Therapy through Emerging Neuroscience Research
Concetta M. Tomaino, D.A., MT-BC, LCAT

How the Brain Develops an Ability to Integrate Information From Different Senses to Guide Overt Behavior
Barry E. Stein, Ph.D.

Using Electroencephalography Measures as a Diagnostic Tool for Sensory Processing Disorders
Patricia L. Davis, Ph.D., OTR, FAOTA

Test-Retest Reliability of EEG/ERP Measures in Sensory Processing Paradigms
William J. Gavin, Ph.D.

Panel Discussions
From Sensation to Self-Regulation

This panel focuses on basic and applied research related to sensory processing and emotion regulation in the developing child. Panel members will discuss existing research that addresses the ways in which sensory processing and regulatory mechanisms interact within the developing infant. In addition, panelists will address how sensory or auditory over-responsivity may impact the overall attachment relationship, the dyadic processes from which the infant’s ability to mentalize develops, and the larger representational system that ultimately allows for adult emotion regulation. Based on these ideas, possible connections between sensory/regulatory disorders of infancy/early childhood and disorders marked by emotion regulation in adolescence/adulthood will be addressed, with attention to ways in which these associations may be studied.

Panelists include: Lois M. Black, Ph.D. / Gilbert Foley, Ed.D. / Peter Fonagy, Ph.D., FBA / Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR / Regina M. Sullivan, Ph.D. / Rosemary White, OTR/L

Sensory Processing and Emotion Regulation: Interdisciplinary
Perspectives (Part 1: Child Focus, Part 2: Adult Focus)

There are few psychological studies directly examining how sensory information processing affects emotion regulation. However, a large body of neuroscience literature illuminates how sensory stimuli are processed in the fear system. The “fear circuit,” which includes the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and other areas, has emerged as part of a larger system that likely plays a role in regulating emotional arousal. Structural and functional changes in this system have been associated with psychiatric and developmental disorders such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, and autism. It is now established that sensory stimuli are processed similarly in these structures in rodents and humans. With this in mind, this panel addresses the connections between neuroscience research and child/adult disorders of sensory processing and emotion regulation. In addition, possibilities for interdisciplinary and translational studies that further this area of study are discussed.

Part 1: Child Focus. This panel addresses childhood psychiatric and developmental disorders related to over-arousal, sensory over-responsivity and dysregulation (e.g. generalized anxiety, PTSD, Autism and Asperger’s disorder).

Panelists include: Alice S. Carter, Ph.D. / Edward D. Levin, Ph.D. / Elizabeth Phelps, Ph.D. /Daniel Pine, M.D. / Sarah Schoen, Ph.D., OTR / Rachel Yehuda, Ph.D.

Part 2: Adult Focus. This panel focuses on adult personality, mood and fear circuitry disorders. Panelists will discuss ways in which the emotional dysregulation problems associated with the disorders addressed may be informed by studies in both basic and applied neuroscience research on sensory information processing.

Panelists include: Marylene Cloitre, Ph.D. / Kevin LaBar, Ph.D. / Joseph LeDoux, Ph.D.
M. Zachary Rosenthal, Ph.D. / Daniela Schiller, Ph.D. / Nancy L. Zucker, Ph.D.
Ocean Sounds, Lullabies, or Dark Side of the Moon: What Kind of Sound Calms Us Down?
This panel focuses on the variables known to comprise down regulating, or “calming” music. Are these elements completely individually based? Do they vary with culture, language, age, musical ability etc.? Are there any universals that are useful in creating calming music? In addition, panelists may speculate about the effects of music production elements and acoustics on arousal and physiologic regulation.

Panelists include: Dorita S. Berger, MA MT-BC, LCAT / Will Freidwald / Youngmoo Kim, Ph.D./ David L. Sulzer, Ph.D. / Concetta Tomaino, D.A., MT-BC, LCAT / Robert Zatorre, Ph.D.

Therapy Workshops
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): A Treatment for Chronic Problems with Emotion Dysregulation
M. Zachary Rosenthal, Ph.D. (Duke University)

DIR Floortime ®
Rosemary White, OTR/L (ICDL)

Lunch and Learn Family Forums
We are pleased to offer unique forums focused on important family issues beyond the scope of what can be covered during panel discussions and therapy workshops. These forums address practical ways for parents to help their children and adolescents cope with everyday stress, specific trauma, and specific disorders, all of which affect family functioning. Due to time constraints these forums will take place during lunch break, where catered lunch is provided.

Mindfulness Meditation for Parents of Children and Teens with Emotion Regulation Problems, or Just Too Much Stress!
with Jeffrey Brantley M.D. (Duke University)

Helping Your Kids and Teens After Trauma
with Marylene Cloitre Ph.D. (NYU Child Study Center)

Maximizing Parenting in the Treatment of Anorexia
with Nancy L. Zucker, Ph.D. (Duke University)