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Sometimes I Wish That It Would Rain Here

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

physicists find new quantum particle, the emoton

years of research finally paid off for three particle physicists at the UC Irvine yesterday when they were finally able to locate and positively identify the emoton, the quantum particle responsible for the phenomenon of emotion.

"we've known about the existence of the emoton for a long time," said Professor Matthew Cadevish, PI on the team leading the search. "ever since Russell and Mehrabian's 1977 article on the Three-Factor model, we knew that the emoton must exist. all observable phenomena can be quantized -- light by the photon, gravity by the graviton, strong forces by the gluon; there was no reason for emotion to be any different. actually finding it, however, has proven enough of a challenge to last us almost 30 years."

Cadevish's team is more than excited about this result. "finding the emoton will certainly help me finish my dissertation," said Cynthia Plet, a Ph.D. candidate working on the project.

however, their results have not been welcomed with universal acceptance. an opposing research group at CERN was actually working to disprove the existence of the emoton, as it would seal the coffin on emotional theories like LeDoux's, which decomposes emotion not as a quantizable phenomenon but rather as a composition of basic emotions.

others see this discovery as only the beginning. according to Nadiv Guthansa, a professor at Stanford, "to believe that there is only a single emoton is nothing short of fool-hardy." he believes there is room for a theory of emotions that revolves around both quantization and compositions of basic emotions. "just as there are up, down, top, bottom, charm, and strange quarks, so there are happy, sad, angry, scared, and other flavors of emotons." Guthansa recently submitted a paper to the Journal of Physics G: Nuclear and Particle Physics containing an existence proof for no less than sever flavors of emotons.

now that the emoton has been found, we will certainly be seeing a flurry of activity in the field. "despite the quickly arising controversies," says Cadevish, "one thing is certain. the discovery of the emoton will herald a new age of research on emotion as a quantizable phenomenon."


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