Emotion, Learning, Attention and Perception - PsyBlog
Cognition and emotion have long been thought of as independent systems. sciences has shown that the relationship between cognition and. CB), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos Ochsner K N, Phelps E. Emerging perspectives on emotion-cognition interactions . Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Volume 2, Issue 2, 1 June and its relation to emotional experience through the use of experience sampling. and Phelps ; Anderson and Phelps ; Tranel et al., ). Phelps, ), although the precise role of this structure on cognitive and emotional functioning after damage to this .. Relationship between attitudes and .
In the same way, there is also evidence that emotional situations can enhance your attention. Some research has suggested that normal cognitive processes like the attentional blink can be reduced when emotions are running high.
If you challenge him to shoot you, as they do in all the best cop shows, will he meekly hand you the gun or will he put a bullet in your brain? There is some evidence that the amygdala could once again come to your rescue. It seems to have a specialised role in processing fear, especially as, again, those with amygdala damage tend to have difficulties in this area.
Your emotional state can have marked effects on basic cognitive processes like learning, attention, perception and memory. Insights from studies of the human amygdala. Annual Review of Psychology, 57, Feldman Barrett et al. For 1 month three times daily, participants were probed via handheld PDA to indicate their present emotional state. One year following, participants were presented with backwardly masked fearful facial expressions during fMRI to index sensitivity of perceptual encoding of emotional events.
Individual differences in propensity for negative affect, as indexed by experience sampling, were correlated with magnitude of amygdala response to presented fear faces. Moreover, in participants reporting increased anxiety during scanning, amygdala responses were associated with enhanced perceptual encoding of faces as indicated by increased fusiform activity.
These results suggest that the amygdala may contribute to emotional experience by setting the appropriate preconditions for its expression: Considering the mounting neuroimaging evidence consistent with an important role of the amygdala in generating affective experience there is surprisingly little direct evidence of disordered emotional experience following amygdala damage Anderson and Phelps ; Anderson and Phelps ; Tranel et al.
For instance, patients with amygdala lesions provide retrospective reports of affective states daily reflections and traits yearly reflections of similar magnitude, frequency and underlying covariance structure to healthy controls Anderson and Phelps, When asked to relive emotions, examinations of facial efference reveal that patients with bilateral amygdala damage display remarkably intact emotional expressions, including fear, despite pronounced impairments in the perception of these same signals Anderson and Phelps, The results of such lesion studies, however, regard introspective emotional experiences that are associated with complex abstract factors and not directly tied to momentary environmental events.
Many emotional experiences involve ruminations upon the past or future, thereby involving representations of threats and rewards in the absence of in the moment environmental stimulation.
Interestingly, this region was not recruited by negative valence or inhibitory task demands per se; instead, the dorsolateral cortex was sensitive to the explicit interaction between behavioral inhibition and the processing of negatively valenced words.
Working memory, another important cognitive operation, involves the maintenance and updating of information in mind when the information is no longer available to sensory systems e.
Evidence for cognitive-emotional interaction comes from working memory studies, too. Emotion-cognition interaction in prefrontal cortex. Lateral prefrontal activity reflected equally the emotional and working memory task components, revealing the integration of emotional and cognitive processes in prefrontal cortex.
Adapted with permission from the National Academy of Sciences: For instance, when participants were asked to keep in mind neutral or emotional pictures, maintenance-related activity in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex was modulated by the valence of the picture, with pleasant pictures enhancing activity and unpleasant pictures decreasing activity relative to neutral ones Perlstein et al. Interestingly, emotional pictures did not affect dorsolateral responses during a second experimental condition during which participants were not required to keep information in mind, indicating that the modulation of sustained activity by emotional valence was particular to the experimental context requiring active maintenance.
In another study, participants watched short videos intended to induce emotional states e. Bilateral lateral prefrontal cortex activity reflected equally the emotional and working memory task components Figure 6. In other words, prefrontal activity did not stem from the working memory task alone or by the mood ensuing from the viewing of the video, but resulted from an interaction between cognition and emotion.
Impact of cognition on emotion Although this short review focuses on the impact of emotional content on cognitive functions, here we briefly discuss another important line of studies that has investigated cognitive-emotional interactions, namely, cognitive emotion regulation Ochsner and Gross, ; Ochsner and Gross, Reappraisal appears to depend upon interactions between prefrontal and cingulate regions that are frequently implicated in cognitive control and systems like the amygdala and insula that have been implicated in emotional responding.
Emotion and cognition: insights from studies of the human amygdala.
Interestingly, having the goal to think about stimuli in ways that maintain or increase emotion may boost amygdala activity whereas having the goal to decrease emotion may diminish it. Although much of the work on the cognitive regulation of emotion has relied on a relatively strict separation between cognition and emotion, which are in this context viewed as engaged in tug-of-war for the control of behavior, this framework is likely overly simplistic.
As proposed by Ochsner and Grossa more fruitful approach will entail developing an integrated framework for specifying what combinations of interacting subsystems are involved in emotional responding, as individuals exert varying degrees and types of regulatory control over their emotions. Anatomical basis for cognitive-emotional interactions In attempting to understand the relationship between emotion and cognition, it is important to consider anatomical information.
Advances in our understanding of brain connectivity suggest that a given brain region is only a few synapses away from every other brain region Sporns et al. Indeed, it appears that the brain is configured according to a small-world topology in which the path length between nodes is small — typically, cortical areas are connected directly or via just one or two intermediate areas Hilgetag et al.
Thus, a careful consideration of brain connectivity is informative in understanding potential cognitive-emotional interactions. In the past decade, several quantitative analyses of brain connectivity have been undertaken Young et al.
Not surprisingly, prefrontal areas are among those most distant from the sensory periphery, suggesting that they receive highly-processed and integrated sensory information. Such potential insulation of the prefrontal cortex from the periphery is thought to be a key anatomical feature of this region and presumably confers the primate brain with a greater degree of flexibility Mesulam, Highly processed information would also be able to support more abstract processing that is required for cognition.
Interestingly, the amygdala, a region often linked to emotional processing, appears to be equally removed from the sensory periphery — although in some species, direct sensory thalamic projections may be present LeDoux, In addition, the amygdala makes very widespread projections. Overall, it appears that the amygdala is very well situated to integrate and distribute information Figure 7. Quantitative analysis of brain connectivity reveals several clusters of highly interconnected regions represented by different colors.
In this analysis, the amygdala Amyg, centre of figure was connected to all but 8 cortical areas. These connections involved multiple region clusters, suggesting that the amygdala is not only highly connected, but that its connectivity topology might be consistent with that of a hub that links multiple functional clusters.
In this manner, the amygdala may be important for the integration of cognitive and emotional information. Figure labels represent different cortical areas with the exception of Hipp hippocampus and Amyg, which represent subcortical areas. Figure reproduced from Young et al. Neural systems in the cerebral cortex, Reviews in the Neurosciences; copyright It is also instructive to consider the connectivity of the hypothalamus Risold et al.
In particular, via its descending connections that innervate brainstem motor systems, this structure is thought to play a key role in the implementation of goal-directed behaviors. Hypothalamic signals also can be conveyed to the cortex, mostly by way of the thalamus. Critically, prefrontal cortical territories project directly to the hypothalamus.
Thus, the hypothalamus appears to be organized in such a way that it can generate both relatively reflexive behaviors and behaviors that are voluntarily triggered by inputs from the cerebral cortex Swanson, Overall, this structure appears to be connected with all levels of the nervous systemincluding the neocortex Swanson,enabling important hypothalamic regulatory signals to have widespread effects on the brain.
It is also important to consider the role of the ascending systems. For instance, the basal nucleus of Maynert is a major part of the so-called magnocellular basal forebrain system Heimer and Van Hoesen, 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.
Emotion, Learning, Attention and Perception
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.
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