The Computational Affective and Social Cognition Lab (CASCogLab) is housed in the Department of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin.

We are a interdisciplinary lab made up of cognitive scientists, psychologists, and computer scientists, and we study a range of topics, such as:

  • Understanding human reasoning about mental and emotional states (Affective Cognition and Social Cognition),
    • What are the underlying computations that support affective cognition, how can we model them?
    • How does affective cognition develop over childhood?
  • Building AI models for better emotion understanding (Affective Computing),
    • Developing NLP models to reason about emotional appraisals from text
  • Empathy, especially developing interventions to improve empathy


  • February 2023: Recruitment!
    We are looking to hire up to two Postdoctoral Research Fellows.
    We are also looking to hire a (post-bacculaureate) Lab Coordinator.
  • May 2023
    Dr. Varsha Suresh has successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis! Congratulations to Dr. Suresh! 🎊

  • October 2022: [ACII 2022]
    Varsha presents her paper: Using Positive Matching Contrastive Loss with Facial Action Units to mitigate bias in Facial Expression Recognition. She presents her work in the Doctoral Consortium! 🎉🎉

  • August 2022: CASCogLab moves to the University of Texas at Austin!
  • July 2022: [ISRE 2022 and CogSci2022]
    CASCogLab attends ISRE! Phoebe and Gerard each gave their first in-person conference talks at ISRE2022 in LA! 🎉🎉
    Also, at CogSci2022 Dennis will be giving a virtual talk on his paper: Modeling Causal Inference from Emotional Displays 🎉

  • April 2022: [SAS 2022]
    Phoebe gave a talk and Gerard presented a poster at SAS on their projects! 🎉🎉

  • December 2021: [NeurIPS 2021]
    Zhengxuan and Elisa Kreiss (and together with Desmond and Chris Potts) presented their paper: ReaSCAN: Compositional Reasoning in Language Grounding.

  • November 2021: [EMNLP 2021]
    Varsha presented her paper: Not all negatives are equal: Label-Aware Constrastive Loss for fine-grained text classification. 🎉

  • September 2021: [ACII 2021]
    Varsha presented her paper: Using Knowledge-Embedded Attention to Augment Pre-trained Language Models for Fine-Grained Emotion Recognition. This is her first paper from the lab! 🎉
    Desmond also presented a paper on An Ethical Framework for Guiding the Development of Affectively-Aware Artificial Intelligence.

  • July 2021: [CogSci 2021]
    Dennis will be presenting his CogSci paper: Learning from Agentic Actions: Modelling Causal Inference from Intention, and
    Hui Yan will also be presenting "If only Santa had one more present": Exploring the development of near-miss counterfactual reasoning. These are their first papers from the lab! 🎉 🎉

  • June 2021: Kong Yan San won the SoC Outstanding Computing Project Prize! Congratulations to Yan San! 🎊

  • February 2021: [SCiL 2021]
    Zhengxuan will be presenting his paper: Pragmatically Informative Color Generation by Grounding Contextual Modifiers at the Society for Computation in Linguistics.

  • February 2021: [AAAI 2021]
    Zhengxuan will be presenting his paper: Context-Guided BERT for Targeted Aspect-Based Sentiment Analysis.

  • August 2020: Terence Lim has won the NUS Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Prize! Congratulations to Terence! 🎊