However, recent research in the cognitive and neurobiological sciences has shown that the relationship between cognition and emotion is. Over the last few decades, psychological theories on the relation between cognition and emotion have been shaped by evidence from neuroscience techniques. Emotions, cognition, and language can all be conceptualized as “The relationship between the affect and the cognitive system is the.
This impairment is accompanied by deficits in inhibition and shifting functions, as well as an imbalance in two attention systems.
Cognition and emotion - Scholarpedia
Specifically, anxiety decreases the influence of a goal-directed, top-down attention system and increases the influence of a stimulus-driven, bottom-up attention system. Little work has been conducted thus far investigating key aspects of this theory, but some support of its assertions is starting to accrue for reviews, see Derakshan and Eysenck, ; Eysenck and Derakshan, ; Snyder et al.
Using the three-component EF model developed by Miyake and colleaguesWarren et al. Whereas anxious apprehension was associated with shifting impairments only, anxious arousal was associated with broad impairments in EF shifting, updating, and inhibitionespecially updating and inhibition. These findings are generally consistent with Eysenck et al. Future work should examine these dimensions of psychopathology in relation to Miyake and Friedman's updated EF model in which the inhibition-specific component is subsumed by a common EF factor.
Deficits in inhibition appear to be associated with the difficulties that depressed individuals have disengaging from mood-congruent negative information, which leads to further elaboration of the negative information and contributes to the attentional bias described above for a review, see Gotlib and Joormann, Some evidence suggests that this effect is valence-specific, such that depressed individuals demonstrate inhibition deficits selectively for negative information e.
In addition, depressed individuals have difficulty intentionally ignoring distracting information, whether it is emotional or nonemotional in nature Gotlib and Joormann, ; Snyder, Depression therefore appears to be associated with an increased vulnerability to distracting information, but once attention has been captured, difficulties in disengaging are specific to information with negative valence.
Depression-related difficulty disengaging from information also appears to be related to deficits in other cognitive control mechanisms, specifically updating and removing previous task-relevant information, both emotional and nonemotional in nature, from working memory and flexibly switching attention to the task at hand Joormann and Gotlib, ; Banich et al.
These deficits likely also contribute to prolonged processing of negative aspects of stimuli, which in turn hinders emotion regulation processes and leads to the sustained negative affect and rumination observed during depressive episodes Joormann, Further, depression has been associated with a variety of other EF deficits, including impairments in verbal fluency, verbal and visuospatial working memory, and planning for reviews, see Yee, ; Levin et al.
Studies of healthy individuals have consistently implicated several subregions of PFC across a variety of EFs. Depression and anxiety have both been associated with hypoactivation in these regions Rogers et al. Impaired recruitment of PFC regions appears to be associated with difficulty implementing various functions associated with EF tasks, including maintaining task goals and goal-related information.
Specifically, comorbid anxious arousal and depression were associated with reduced left DLPFC activity during an EF task, but only when anxious apprehension was low Engels et al. Motivation-cognition interactions in anxiety and depression Numerous behavioral and psychophysiological studies have provided evidence that depression is associated with motivation-related deficits.
These are reflected in decreased responsivity to positive or rewarding stimuli and reduced approach-related behaviors for reviews, see Fernandes and Miller, ; Pizzagalli et al. Relative to healthy controls, individuals with MDD exhibit blunted responsiveness to pleasant films and scenes Berenbaum and Oltmanns, ; Sloan et al.
Depressed individuals also fail to demonstrate the bias toward attending and responding to positive and rewarding stimuli that nondepressed controls show McCabe and Gotlib, ; Pizzagalli et al.
Hemodynamic neuroimaging studies of reward tasks have demonstrated that depression is associated with decreased activation in key brain areas associated with the processing of reward-related information, specifically nucleus accumbens and caudate, as well as decreased activation in left PFC, an area that has been associated with approach-related motivation and the processing of positive stimuli Davidson and Henriques, ; Herrington et al.
Decreased activation in striatal areas has been found during both anticipatory and consummatory phases of reward processing Pizzagalli et al. Other brain areas display abnormally increased activation in relation to reward processing in depression, including orbitofrontal cortex OFCimplicated in the assessment of risk and reward, and dACC, implicated in predicting response value Knutson et al.
In addition to deficits in processing reward and decreased approach behavior, depression appears to be associated with increased avoidance behavior and an enhanced sensitivity to negative cues and punishment, consistent with a bias toward negative information as reviewed above see also Pizzagalli et al. Furthermore, depressed individuals exhibit abnormal responses to errors and perceived failure and demonstrate problems adjusting their behavior appropriately after making mistakes and receiving negative feedback Elliott et al.
Studies examining brain activation in relation to the anticipation of and response to negative cues, feedback, and making errors have found hyperactivity in several areas associated with threat-related processing, including amygdala, ACC, and medial PFC mPFC along with hypoactivity in lateral PFC Tucker et al. Anxious individuals appear to be hypersensitive to negative or punishment-related stimuli, consistent with being prone to interpret information as threatening for reviews, see Gray,; Sass et al.
Further, anxious individuals exhibit increased activation in threat-related brain regions when responding to negative stimuli, including PFC, dACC, amygdala, and parietal and temporal areas Heller et al.
Similar to depression, anxiety is associated with enhanced avoidance motivation Spielberg et al. The tendency for anxious individuals to engage in risk-avoidant behavior is due in part to exaggerated perceptions of the likelihood and cost of negative outcomes Maner and Schmidt, Anxiety has been associated with increased activity in the insula while making risky decisions and learning to avoid monetary loss Paulus et al.
Understanding the Interactions Between Emotion and Cognition
The insula is a key brain area involved in both the experience and the anticipation of negative outcomes, as well as decision-making about risky behaviors for a review, see Samanez-Larkin et al. Furthermore, anxious individuals display hyper-reactivity to making errors, as evidenced by increased ACC activation and an enhancement in error-related negativity ERNan ERP component that indexes error processing for a review, see Olvet and Hajcak, Anxiety also appears to be characterized by hypersensitivity to rewards, as it is associated with faster responses to potential rewards Hardin et al.
Thus, anxiety appears to be associated with exaggerated responses to both rewards and punishments, indicating enhanced sensitivity to incentives irrespective of valence. It is likely that at least some of the observed motivation-related dysfunction associated with anxiety and depression is related to the EF deficits that also characterize these disorders. Adaptive motivational processing relies on intact EF, such that goals can be selected based on their predicted value, behaviors can be initiated to achieve these goals, and goal-directed action can be maintained across time, particularly in the face of distraction Spielberg et al.
Many of the abnormal approach- and avoidance-related behaviors associated with anxiety and depression are likely due at least in part to dysfunction in specific EFs. For example, depressed individuals have difficulty sustaining reward responsiveness over time Heller et al. Heller and colleagues found that problems in reward responsiveness were linked to dysfunction in frontal and subcortical areas, which interact to implement goal-directed behavior.
Just as EFs appear to influence motivational processes, there is also evidence that motivation affects these cognitive processes in anxiety and depression. In healthy individuals, altering motivational processing via monetary incentives has been associated with enhancements of various EFs, including cognitive control, attention, set-shifting, and working memory Pochon et al.
In contrast, depressed adults and adolescents failed to adaptively adjust their performance during EF tasks in order to optimize their chances of winning money in rewarding and punishing contexts Henriques and Davidson, ; Jazbec et al.
Similarly, high trait-anxious individuals did not improve their performance during a demanding EF task when monetary incentives were offered, while low trait-anxious individuals demonstrated the expected enhanced performance in the reward condition Eysenck, In a sample of anxious adolescents, incentive-related modulation of performance on a cognitive control task was significantly weaker than in healthy adolescents Hardin et al.
The failure of motivational manipulations to appropriately modulate EFs in individuals with anxiety and depression is likely related to the observed dysfunction in brain networks associated with incentive processing and task-relevant cognitive processing. As reviewed above, anxiety and depression are associated with dysfunction in areas involved in processing both positive, rewarding stimuli and negative, punishing stimuli e.
Furthermore, it is likely that networks involved in implementing motivation-related processes and EFs fail to interact appropriately in order to integrate various functions and successfully execute goal-driven behavior. Relationships among EF, emotion, and motivation Evidence reviewed above establishes many interactions among cognition, emotion, and motivation and clearly indicates that these interactions contribute to psychopathology.
Although it is generally assumed that deficits in cognition and EF are caused by emotional and motivational disturbances, it has also been postulated that deficits in specific EFs e. For example, a bias to attend to negative information in anxious and depressed individuals may be driven in part by difficulties inhibiting distracting information or shifting attention to relevant aspects of a task.
EFs may affect motivational processes, such that they alter ability to evaluate potentially pleasurable stimuli or activities or implement approach-related behaviors. EF deficits make it difficult to select goals based on their anticipated benefits and to implement strategies aimed at achieving these goals, particularly when distractions are present in the environment Banich, Some support for EF deficits contributing to emotion-related symptoms of psychopathology has been provided by recent research.
Bredemeier and Berenbaum in press found that, when controlling for initial levels of worry, reduced working memory capacity predicted worry levels several weeks later. Similarly, research in our laboratory found that self-reported working memory difficulties predicted increases in symptoms of depression several months later, above and beyond the effects of initial depression Letkiewicz et al.
Alexopoulos and colleagues found evidence that scores on measures of initiation and perseveration predicted early relapse, recurrence of depression, and the course of depressive symptoms post-remission. Interestingly, a treatment study of the response of depressed individuals to the antidepressant fluoxetine found that nonresponders performed significantly worse on pre-treatment measures of EF Wisconsin Card Sorting Task, Stroop task; Dunkin et al.
Determining which deficits come first, or understanding the causal and temporal mechanisms of the relationship between difficulties in EF and psychopathology, will depend in part on the availability of longitudinal data. Regardless of the nature of causality among these psychological and biological processes Miller,the relationships among EFs, emotion, and motivation in anxiety and depression are likely related to dysfunction in brain networks that are involved in integrating aspects of these processes, particularly DLPFC and ACC Gray et al.
Further, research in our laboratory showed that DLPFC regions associated with approach and avoidance motivation demonstrated increased connectivity with OFC, ACC, amygdala, and basal ganglia during an EF task involving goal maintenance in the face of distraction Spielberg et al. ACC also seems a likely candidate for integrating aspects of emotion, motivation, and EF, evidenced by its connectivity to both the amygdala and nucleus accumbens, as well as OFC and ventral striatum Pessoa,key areas involved in emotion and motivation.
Hence, subregions of ACC are involved in assessing events for their emotional and motivational relevance, error and conflict monitoring, and predicting value of potential rewards and punishments Rushworth et al.
Other research explicitly examining functional connectivity between regions also suggests that anxiety and depression are associated with dysfunctional communication between regions. For example, individuals with MDD exhibited decreased connectivity in a fronto-parietal network relative to healthy controls during a working memory task Vasic et al. Individuals with social phobia displayed less functional connectivity between the amygdala, medial OFC, and PCC than healthy individuals during rest Hahn et al.
Thus, it is likely that the dysfunction observed in individuals with anxiety and depression is related to problematic communication between regions, rather than just altered activity in isolated regions. The projections from this system reach all parts of the cortical mantle Heimer and Van Hoesen,and are involved in cortical plasticity in sensory cortex in the context of classical conditioning Weinberger,in addition to arousal and attention mechanisms see citations in Sarter and Bruno, ; Heimer and Van Hoesen, In particular, basal forebrain corticopetal cholinergic projections appear to be crucial for diverse attentional functions, including sustained, selective, and divided attention Sarter and Bruno, ; Sarter et al.
Of importance in the present context, the basal forebrain receives both cortical and amygdala inputs for citations, see Sarter and Bruno, Notably, recent anatomical evidence suggests the existence of specific topographically organized prefrontal-basal forebrain-prefrontal loops Zaborszky et al. Such loops provide a direct substrate for cognitive-emotional integration, for example by allowing amygdala signals to be broadcast widely, including to frontoparietal regions known to be important for the control of attention.
More generally, the overall anatomical arrangement of the basal forebrain may involve multiple functional-anatomical macrosystems Alheid and Heimer, ; Zahm, with wide-ranging effects on brain computations and important clinical implications Alheid and Heimer, ; Sarter and Bruno, In summary, the picture that emerges from anatomical connectivity data suggests a remarkable potential for integration of information. Potential relationship between anatomical sites, neural computations and behaviors.
Brain areas for example, A2which are connected to form networks ellipsesare involved in multiple neural computations for example, NC2, NC3 and NC4 and specific computations for example, NC4 are carried out by several areas for example, A2 and A3. Therefore, the structure—function mapping is both one-to-many and many-to-one; in other words, many-to-many. Multiple neural computations underlie behavior. Each behavior has both affective and cognitive components, indicated by the affective and cognitive axes.
Note that the axes are not orthogonal, indicating that the dimensions are not independent from each other. Brain areas with a high degree of connectivity hubs may be especially important for regulating the flow and interaction of information between regions. Nature Neuroscience Pessoa,copyright See Mesulam, for a related scheme.
One factor that may have contributed to this separation in the past century is methodological. For instance, data arising from single-unit or lesion studies usually allow the researcher to only derive conclusions concerning the specific areas being targeted. Research in the past two decades suggests, however, that such a view is likely deficient and that, in order to understand how complex behaviors are carried out in the brain, an understanding of the interactions between the two may be indispensable.
Indeed, some studies have suggested that it may be important to go beyond understanding interactions, some of which are suggested to be mutually antagonistic, to understanding how cognition and emotion are effectively integrated in the brain.
As stated recently, at some point of processing functional specialization is lost, and emotion and cognition conjointly and equally contribute to the control of thought and behavior Gray et al.
While these statements were offered as a summary of specific findings concerning working memory performance following mood induction see abovethey may aptly characterize a vast array of real-world situations.
In other words, whereas many behaviors may be reasonably well characterized in terms of cognitive-emotional interactions such that emotion and cognition are partly separable, in many situations, true integration of emotion and cognition may also take place Figure 8.
The latter further blurs the distinction between cognition and emotion. See Duncan and Barrett for a similar view. Alheid GF, Heimer L New perspectives in basal forebrain organization of special relevance for neuropsychiatric disorders: Anderson AK Affective influences on the attentional dynamics supporting awareness.
J Exp Psychol Gen Journal of Neuroscience Arnold MB Emotion and personality. Trends Cogn Sci 8: Barbas H Anatomic basis of cognitive-emotional interactions in the primate prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews Bargh JA The automaticity of everyday life. Advances in social cognition Wyer Jr.
RS, edpp Bishop SJ Neurocognitive mechanisms of anxiety: Trends Cogn Sci Overview and meta-analysis of research, Damasio AR Descartes' error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. Damasio AR The feeling of what happens: Dolan R Emotion, cognition, and behavior. Cognition and Emotion Ekman P An argument for basic emotions. Cognition and Emotion 6: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology J Cogn Neurosci Cognitive neuroscience 3rd edition. Haidt J The moral emotions.
Neurosci Biobehav Rev Hsu SM, Pessoa L Dissociable effects of bottom-up and top-down factors on the processing of unattended fearful faces. Hugdahl K, Ohman A Effects of instruction on acquisition and extinction of electrodermal responses to fear-relevant stimuli.
J Exp Psychol [Hum Learn] 3: Kubota K, Niki H Prefrontal cortical unit activity and delayed alternation performance in monkeys. Journal of Neurophysiology Lazarus RS On the primacy of cognition.
LeDoux JE The emotional brain. A functional approach to a semantic controversy. McGaugh JL Memory consolidation and the amygdala: McGaugh JL The amygdala modulates the consolidation of memories of emotionally arousing experiences.
Annu Rev Neurosci Mesulam M-M The human frontal lobes: Transcending the default mode through contingent encoding. Mesulam MM Large-scale neurocognitive networks and distributed processing for attention, language, and memory. Annals of Neurology Nat Rev Neurosci 6: Trends Cogn Sci 9: Curr Dir Psych Sci Ohman A Automaticity and the amygdala: Current Directions in Psychological Science Ohman A, Mineka S Fears, phobias, and preparedness: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Padmala S, Pessoa L Affective learning enhances visual detection and responses in primary visual cortex.
Pessoa L To what extent are emotional visual stimuli processed without attention and awareness? Curr Opin Neurobiol Pessoa L On the relationship between emotion and cognition. Nat Rev Neurosci 9: Cognitive Brain Research Pessoa L, Padmala S, Morland T Fate of unattended fearful faces in the amygdala is determined by both attentional resources and cognitive modulation.
Phelps EA Human emotion and memory: Phelps EA Emotion and cognition: Annu Rev Psychol Brain Res Brain Res Rev Rolls ET Emotion explained. Sarter M, Bruno JP Abnormal regulation of corticopetal cholinergic neurons and impaired information processing in neuropsychiatric disorders.
Sarter M, Bruno JP Cortical cholinergic inputs mediating arousal, attentional processing and dreaming: Sarter M, Bruno JP, Turchi J Basal forebrain afferent projections modulating cortical acetylcholine, attention, and implications for neuropsychiatric disorders. Ann N Y Acad Sci Sporns O Small-world connectivity, motif composition, and complexity of fractal neuronal connections.
In an effort to rule out the possibility that the response facilitation is really due to some semantic dimension, investigators typically choose primes and targets that have no association other than being similar or dissimilar in evaluative meaning.
However, Storbeck and Robinson point out that this practice of limiting the relationship between primes and targets to evaluation may force respondents into evaluative priming. If so, it would lose its value as evidence that affect is independent of cognition or has primacy over semantic meaning.
For example, primes or targets might be positively or negative valenced animals e. Thus, prime-target pairs were related evaluatively good vs. Two tasks were used, an evaluation task and a lexical decision task, and both revealed semantic but not affective priming. In addition, the same result was found when they used pictures instead of words. To verify that the practice of artificially limiting the relationship between primes and targets to evaluation had promoted affective priming in prior studies, Storbeck and Robinson then repeated their experiment but removed any systematic descriptive relationship between primes and targets, such that all words were now animal exemplars.
As expected, the usual affective priming results reappear when participants are given only evaluation as a possible basis for relating primes and targets. Another comparative priming study was performed by Klauer and Musch They used primes and targets that could be categorised based on affect or another non-affective dimension, and manipulated only the task demand i.
They concluded that affective priming is not based on a special evaluation system. Rather, affective priming relies on the same mechanisms responsible for semantic priming.
These experiments suggest that affective priming is not obligatory. The evaluative meaning on which affective priming is based is represented within a larger semantic network in which it is not the dominant mode of semantic categorisation.
Evaluation is doubtlessly a very basic level of analysis, but evaluative meaning is not processed apart from other dimensions of semantic meaning, nor does it invoke a special automatic evaluator.
In a very different paradigm, they too found that when both affective and descriptive features were present, priming occurred along semantic rather than evaluative lines, suggesting that categorisation may often have priority over evaluation.
One might hypothesize that affect is elicited automatically at the onset of a stimulus and degrades from that point. If so, the use of a relatively long Stimulus Onset Asynchrony SOA ms by Storbeck and Robinson might conceivably have prevented detection of affective priming.
To assess this possibility, studies might again use the comparative-priming approach and shorten either stimulus durations or response times, either of which might allow early components of the priming process to be visible.
A study by Klinger, Burton, and Pitts satisfied these two requirements, and concluded that when primes are presented subliminally and response-window procedures are used, finding semantic or affective priming depends mainly on task requirements and response competition.
The Klinger et al. It is interesting to note, though, that both semantic and affective priming were sensitive to similar task constraints, suggesting that both result from similar mechanisms. However, crucially, these studies failed to equate semantic and affective features, and in each, affect was the most salient feature.
Together these studies suggest that with response-window procedures, regardless of prime duration, priming is driven by response compatibility.
Since the use of a response window shortens the time available for effects due to spreading activation, what happens when spreading activation is allowed to build up over time, by presenting primes subliminally without a response window.
Kemp-Wheeler and Hill performed such a study with a lexical decision task, and found both affective and semantic priming. But they also found that affective priming occurred mostly when people could detect the prime. Such detection did not facilitate semantic priming. They argued that affective priming is a subform of semantic priming and occurs when more time is given to revealing the affective significance of primes and targets. Moving away from the priming procedure, Storbeck, Robinson, Ram, Meier, and Clore examined evaluations and categorisations of single target words using a response-window procedure.
The window of response varied from ms to ms and the dependent measure was accuracy.
On the interdependence of cognition and emotion
The experiment included nine participants over five days with over trials per day. This allowed us to produce predictive models for the rise of semantic and affective accuracy. The results revealed that in shorter response windows, participants were more accurate in detecting semantic information than affective information. EEG measures can also be used to discriminate semantic and affective aspects of processing without involving motor output processes.
Cacioppo, Crites, and Gardner and Ito and Cacioppo found that ERP potentials always tracked semantic relations, even when semantic analysis was not the focus of the task. ERPs also tracked affective features, but only when the task had an explicitly evaluative focus, unless the evaluative components were quite potent.
More critically, evidence suggests that the same discriminative processing based on semantic features performed by the visual cortex occurs whether stimuli are presented subliminally or supraliminally, regardless of conscious experience Dehaene et al.
ERP and single-cell recordings both demonstrate that semantic information appears to be represented regardless of the task at hand and whether or not there is conscious perception of the stimuli. That is, semantic information always gets activated, regardless of the explicit task, whereas affective information is processed mainly when evaluation is an explicit part of the task or a highly salient aspect of the stimulus. To be clear, in this view, the system needs an identification stage before an evaluation stage, and identification occurs in later stages of processing in the visual cortex.
Even in classical conditioning, some kind of identification is required by the cortex e. Only then can the object activate affective and other associations. Conclusions These studies suggest that both semantic 4 and affective features are represented in a single semantic network, and that semantic information which is not to say lexical information, see footnote 3 has a necessary priority.
Under the right set of circumstances, affective relations can be made more accessible than semantic relations e. For example, Storbeck and Robinson found that when they crossed descriptive and evaluative features of stimuli in an evaluative priming task, semantic but not affective priming was observed. But when the relations between primes and targets stimuli were limited to their evaluative features, then affective priming was observed.
Thus, under the right set of conditions, affective priming can readily be observed, but such evaluative priming is in no way obligatory. Thus, the fact that evaluative priming can be found when evaluative meaning is made salient, provides little support for ideas about affective primacy or about the separate nature of affective and cognitive processing.
Perhaps the idea was that thoughts can be more easily controlled than feelings has made affect seem to have a life of its own. One can decide to think about one particular topic rather than another, but one cannot decide to feel one way or another, except by guiding thoughts. Is automaticity a key distinction that makes affect and emotion separate from cognition? For example, Pashler et al. Generally, the relevant data have come from studies of cognition rather than affect.
In this section, we suggest that the same conclusion applies in the case of affective stimuli.
Harris, Pashler, and Coburn examined whether affective words could be processed automatically. Their data indicated that affective words can slow responses down on a primary task, suggesting that affect may capture attention.
However, when the primary task was made difficult, thus reducing attentional resources, affective words failed to slow responses, suggesting that affect did not capture attention. Instead, affect appears to be processed by top-down networks. Moreover, examining the affective pronunciation priming task, De Houwer and Randell observed affective priming only when attention was focused on the primes. When attention was not focused on the primes, affective priming was not observed in the pronunciation paradigm.
These studies all presented evidence to suggest that affective stimuli require attention and that they do not grab attention in a bottom-up manner.
Relevant data are limited, but, the data available would suggest that even faces require attention in order to be processed. As discussed above, Fox et al.
Pessoa, Kastner, and Ungerleider performed a study similar to the Harris et al. They observed that under low-load conditions, amygdala activation was observed to task-irrelevant fear faces.
But, under high-load conditions, when processing resources were limited, the amygdala failed to show significant activation to task-irrelevant fear faces, suggesting that attention was driven by top-down influences.
These findings suggest that even the amygdala needs attentional resources in order to process fear faces and that fear faces can fail to capture attention. This process is often cited as the basis of affective primacy e. However, cortical input appears to be more important in amygdala processing than has sometimes been emphasised as discussed earlierand the data reviewed below suggest that the amygdala requires attention to process threatening and novel stimuli. Several studies have tested the hypothesis that exposure to affective words should elicit amygdala activation, reflecting the automatic evaluation process Beauregard et al.
No evidence was found of the hypothesised amygdala activation unless attention was explicitly drawn to the affective content of words by asking participants to evaluate them. Such results suggest that the amygdala does not continuously evaluate all incoming stimuli. These studies involved lexical stimuli, but the same turns out to be true for the evaluation of pictures. When participants were explicitly asked to evaluate affective stimuli, amygdala activation was found only for negative information Keightley et al.
For fearful faces, however, even passive viewing showed amygdala activation Critchley et al. However, with other face stimuli there was no amygdala activation even when participants explicitly evaluated them Critchley et al. Conclusions These results suggest that valence is not automatically processed by the amygdala, but the amygdala may be sensitive to arousing stimuli such as fearful faces.
Moreover, the evidence suggests that when affect is salient and processing demands are relatively low, emotional information may engage attention. Such findings limit the conditions for automaticity, and, as cognitive psychology has already discovered, processing relies on attention, even for affective stimuli. Gradually, however, cognition and emotion are coming to be viewed as complementary rather than antagonistic processes.
Evidence in support of such a view comes from observations that the inability to use affective feedback as a result of brain damage has profoundly negative consequences for judgement and decision making Damasio, Emotion modulates cognition 6 In Part I, we argued against the idea that cognition and emotion involved distinct brain areas or that they operate independently.
However, by all available evidence, the low route does not appear to be a candidate for explaining any instance of human emotion. If it operates at all in humans, it appears incapable of even basic affective discriminations without cognitive input.Cognition & Emotion
Rather, the evidence from neuroscience suggests that evaluations of the amygdala are dependent upon input from the visual cortex. We suggested that affect probably does not proceed independently of cognition, nor precede cognition in time. How, then, do we see the relationship between emotion and cognition? At the most general level, emotion modulates and mediates basic cognitive processes. The brain, of course, accomplishes numerous tasks all at once, including automatic processes Barnard et al.
As the sensory cortex identifies stimuli in the environment, the visual cortex processes it in a view-invariant manner, allowing it to determine attributes of the object, including its affective significance, regardless of the position the object happens to be in. Once the visual cortex creates a view-invariant code for the object, it projects that information to other areas in the brain. One of the primary pathways of the visual cortex is to the amygdala, and the role of the amygdala is in part to determine the urgency of the stimulus, which eventuates in the marking of apparently important experiences hormonally and in terms of experienced arousal.
The amygdala retrieves the affective value of the stimulus or determines that it is novel and guides subsequent cognitive processing. The amygdala has extensive back projections to all areas of the visual cortex, which we believe modulate visual perception, attention, and memory for affectively significant stimuli. Note that the amygdala is probably not the only area involved in emotional processing that can modulate cognition.
The visual cortex also has extensive projections to areas such as the orbitofrontal cortex, prefrontal cortex, and cingulate cortex, all of which can guide cognitive processing based on affective value. In this section, we illustrate how we believe affect regulates cognition by briefly reviewing several recent studies from our lab. The studies discussed focus on two problems—the role of affect in perception and the affective regulation of styles of information processing.
We note that in performance situations, emotional cues regulate cognitive processing, serving to adjust the mix of cognition and perception. Of special interest are several recent experiments that ask about affective consequences for implicit processes of learning, memory, priming, and attitude. That movement quickly ran its course without having much impact, but, today, research again suggests that perception of the physical world is influenced by emotion and other internal factors. For example, Proffitt and colleagues e.
Recent research shows that emotion can have similar effects. The results showed that sadness can make mountains out of molehills.