"The Swiss Centre for Affective Sciences, in collaboration with the University at Buffalo, is developing an Emotion Ontology to describe affective phenomena. This project is a branch of the broader Mental Functioning ontology effort. The Centre brings together scientists from neuroscience and psychology, together with economists, historians, philosophers as well as scholars in the humanities, in a multi-disciplinary effort to understand how affective phenomena, such as motives, attitudes, moods, and emotions, affect the individual and society.
Interdisciplinary research is inherently plagued by the difficulties of integration and standardisation of terminology, knowledge and disparate theoretical frameworks in order to compare results across disciplines which historically have evolved separately. In the context of this multi-disciplinary research environment, to assist the integration and computational processing of results in the affective sciences, we are developing the Emotion Ontology to aid in disambiguation and standardised reporting of research results.
The ontology will represent all relevant aspects of affective phenomena including their bearers, the different types of emotions, moods, etc., their different parts and dimensions of variation, their facial and vocal expressions, and the role of emotions and affective phenomena in general in influencing human behavior.
Proper delineation of the upper levels is essential to ensure the unambiguous interpretation of the entities in the ontology which contributes to the usability and interoperability of the fully populated ontology. To achieve this, we will draw on the Basic Formal Ontology, the domain-independent upper ontology advocated by the OBO Foundry. Subsequent phases of the project will identify, define and place all relevant affective phenomena within the ontology, and link this ontology to neighbouring efforts in the domains of neural and social informatics, such as the Neuroscience Information Framework. Finally, we will develop software applications which make use of the ontology to directly support the work of Affective Science researchers both in Switzerland and globally."