emotion 07

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Cognition and Emotion: 

Cognition and Emotion November 15-29, 2007

What is emotion?: 

What is emotion? Communication mechanisms that maintain social order/structure Behavior learned through operant or classical conditioning, not involving cognitive mediation Appraisal of biopsychosocial situation Complex physiological response Integrated, three-response system construct

Areas of Inquiry: 

Areas of Inquiry Effect of emotion on performance (e.g., memory, perception, attention) Information processing characteristics of emotional disorders (e.g., anxiety, depresion) Emotion and social learning Cognitive neuroscience of emotions cognitive structure of emotion neuropsychological studies cognitive aspects of emotion (e.g., appraisal)

Introduction & History: 

Introduction & History James-Lange theory Cannon-Bard theory Schacter & Singer studies (2-factor theory) Facial feedback hypothesis Neurobiological contributions (Davis, LeDoux) Neuropsychological perspectives Somatic markers Emotional signal processing Information-processing theories


James-Lange "My theory ... is that the bodily changes follow directly the perception of the exciting fact, and that our feeling of the same changes as they occur is the emotion. Common sense says, we lose our fortune, are sorry and weep; we meet a bear, are frightened and run; we are insulted by a rival, and angry and strike. The hypothesis here to be defended says that this order of sequence is incorrect ... and that the more rational statement is that we feel sorry because we cry, angry because we strike, afraid because we tremble ... Without the bodily states following on the perception, the latter would be purely cognitive in form, pale, colorless, destitute of emotional warmth. We might then see the bear, and judge it best to run, receive the insult and deem it right to strike, but we should not actually feel afraid or angry"


Cannon-Bard We feel emotions first, and then feel physiological changes, such as muscular tension, sweating, etc. In neurobiological terms, the thalamus receives a signal and relays this both to the amygdala (a limbic structure) and the cortex. The body then gets signals via the autonomic nervous system to tense muscles, etc.

Two-Factor Theory: 

Two-Factor Theory When trying to understand what kind of person we are, we first watch what we do and feel and then deduce our nature from this. This means that the first step is to experience physiological arousal. We then try to find a label to explain our feelings, usually by looking at what we are doing and what else is happening at the time of the arousal. Thus we don’t just feel angry, happy or whatever: we experience feelings and then decide what they mean.

Cognitive Appraisal Theory: 

Cognitive Appraisal Theory In the absence of physiological arousal, we decide what to feel after interpreting or explaining what has just happened. Two things are important in this: whether we interpret the event as good or bad for us, and what we believe is the cause of the event. In primary appraisal, we consider how the situation affects our personal well-being. In secondary appraisal we consider how we might cope with the situation.

Somatic Marker Theory: 

Somatic Marker Theory Bodily states play a role in decision-making and reasoning “Somatic markers” link memories of experience (cortex) with feelings (limbic) Attempts to account for ‘automatic’ or ‘unconscious’ biases


Personality Traits Mood States Emotional Processing Personality Traits Mood States Emotional Processing Mood States Personality Traits Emotional Processing TRADITIONAL MODEL MEDIATOR MODEL MODERATOR MODEL


Limbic System

Fear Conditioning: 

Fear Conditioning


Davis: Cortical influences on basic startle pathway


Davis: Role of the amygdala in conditioned fear


LeDoux: direct thalamo-amygdala connections, bypassing cortex

Preattentive Perception of Threat: Öhman: 

Preattentive Perception of Threat: Öhman Distinction between automatic v. controlled information processing Draws on animal work (LeDoux) - direct thalamic-amygdala connection Threat: biological and ‘derived’ Data: responses to masked stimuli slowed RT to threat words in shadowing


Ohman’s Information-Processing Model for Fear and Anxiety

Emotion and Memory: 

Emotion and Memory


“Bambi” (1942) named #20 in Time’s list of the Top 25 Horror Movies of All Time “Kids were so frightened by these films that they wet themselves in terror. Bambi has a primal shock that still haunts oldsters who saw it 40, 50, 65 years ago.”

Flashbulb Memories: 

Flashbulb Memories Distinct, vivid, recollections of shocking events, and associated personal activities Long-lasting? Accurate? Special? Brown & Kulick (1977): special encoding mechanism (NOW PRINT!) Niesser & Harsh (1992) Challenger study Although FM appear to be different subjectively (they provide an intersection between personal history and “History”), they are not necessarily more accurate Confidence is not equivalent to accuracy

Flashbulb Memories of September 11, 2001: 

Flashbulb Memories of September 11, 2001 http://www.nyu.edu/about/video.spotlight.html http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?PageID=632


Challenger Disaster Study (Neisser)

Bower’s Network Theory – a theory of emotional experience: 

Bower’s Network Theory – a theory of emotional experience Emotions are nodes in a semantic network Emotions stored as propositions Emotion = activation of network Activation spreads in selective fashion to associated concepts When nodes activated above threshold level, conscious experience of emotion results

Four Predictions from Bower’s Theory: 

Four Predictions from Bower’s Theory Mood-state-dependent recall Mood congruity: learning best when congruity between learner’s state and type of material (best supported) Thought congruity: thoughts, associations congruent with mood state Mood intensity: increases in intensity (arousal) lead to greater activation of network

Mood Effects on Attention and Memory: 

Mood Effects on Attention and Memory Negative memory bias found with depressed and anxious normals not consistently found with anxious patients (active avoidance?) Mood vs. emotion Effects on processing capacity (resources allocated to self-talk)

Emotion and Attention: 

Emotion and Attention





Basis of Dot Probe Results: 

Basis of Dot Probe Results Selective attention to threat (McLeod) Failure to ‘disengage’ attention from threat (Koster, et al 2004)

Weapon Focus: 

Weapon Focus Eyewitness’ inability to identify a perpetrator when a weapon is used in a crime Easterbrook hypothesis: narrowing of attentional focus in emotional situations Arousal and central/peripheral detail

Basis of Weapon Focus: 

Basis of Weapon Focus Simple selective attention All items attended to equally, but weapon remembered better Cue-utilization (threat-arousal-narrowing) Unusualness/distinctiveness

Attention/Memory in Anxiety and Depression: 

Attention/Memory in Anxiety and Depression

Emotion and Performance: 

Emotion and Performance Performance impaired by high levels of state anxiety Yerkes-Dodson Law performance is optimal with a ‘medium’ level of arousal ‘optimum’ level lower for hard tasks Cognitive Interference theory (Sarason): worry and self-preoccupation interfere Processing Efficiency Theory (Eysenck): processing efficiency = effectiveness/effort; worry reduces efficiency Performance in depression impaired both by task-irrelevant information and poor effort/motivation most studies are of an anologue nature, though a few patient studies are available

Anxiety and Attention: 

Anxiety and Attention Selective attention toward threat-related material (selective attentional bias; e.g. dot-probe, emotional Stroop) Distractibility (  attentional control) Effects on breadth of attention (more local spotlight) Interpretive bias: interpreting ambiguous materials as threatening (e.g., “The doctor examined little Emily’s growth”) Anxiety and preattentive processing


Depression Little evidence for attentional bias in depression Interpretive/recall biases in depression Interpreting ambiguous situations as negative Reduced predictions of success on cognitive tasks Recall of past performance reduced


Siegle, 1999


Time Course of Attentional Bias in Depression Siegle et al (2001)

Discrete v. Dimensional Theories of Emotion: 

Discrete v. Dimensional Theories of Emotion

Discrete Emotions Theory: 

Discrete Emotions Theory Emotions are distinct and unique states (e.g., fear, anger, etc.) ‘Basic’ or ‘primary’ emotions - Tomkins lists 8 (hap, sad, anger, fear disgust, surprise, interest, shame) Search for response patterning in emotions (Friesen, Ekman, etc.) Cross-cultural comparisons


Basic Elements of Discrete Emotions Theory

Bioinformational Theory (Lang): 

Bioinformational Theory (Lang) Emotions as action predispositions Dimensional view of emotions affective valence (appetitive-aversive dimension) arousal (resource recruitement) Link between emotional and motivational behavior


Activation v. Approach/Withdrawal Activation v. Valence A W P N Discrete v. Dimensional Models (Christie, 2002)

Neuropsychological Findings: 

Neuropsychological Findings Neuropsychological studies of affective competence (RHD) “Modular” organization of affective systems (?) Modality-independent affective lexicon Valence-related asymmetries

Emotion and the Brain: Three General Hypotheses: 

Emotion and the Brain: Three General Hypotheses Right Hemisphere dominance for emotion Hemispheric laterality for mood Positive/approach: left hemisphere Negative/withdrawal: right hemisphere Automatic-controlled distinction (RH v. LH


Negative - Neutral Positive - Neutral

Neuropsychiatric Disorders: 

Neuropsychiatric Disorders Depression Secondary Mania OCD Anxiety Aggression/disinhibition Psychopathy/APD


Neuropsychological Manifestations of Frontal Lobe Lesions II Inferior Mesial Region A) Orbital Region (10, 11) Lesions in this region produce disinhibition, altered social conduct, “acquired sociopathy”, and other disturbances due to impairment in fronto-limbic relationships B) Basal Forebrain (posterior extension of inferior mesial region, including diagonal band of Broca, nucleus accumbens, septal nuclei, substantia innominata) Lesions here produce prominent anterograde amnesia with confabulation (material specificity present, but relatively weak) Tranel, 1992


Neuropsychological Manifestations of Frontal Lobe Lesions III Lateral Prefrontal Region (8,9,46) Lesions in this region produce impairment in a variety of “executive” skills that cut across domains. Some degree of material-specificity is present, but relatively weak. A) Fluency: impaired verbal fluency (left) or design fluency (right) B) Memory impairments: defective recency judgment, metamemory defects, difficulties in memory monitoring C) Impaired abstract concept formation and hypothesis testing D) Defective planning, motor sequencing E) Defective cognitive judgement and estimation Tranel, 1992


Neuropsychological Manifestations of Frontal Lesions I Frontal Operculum (44,45,47) A) Left: Broca’s aphasia B) Right: ‘expressive’ aprosodia Superior Mesial (mesial 6, 24) A) Left: akinetic mutism B) Right: akinetic mutism Bilateral lesions of mesial SMA (6) and anterior cingulate (24) produce more severe form of akinetic mutism Tranel, 1992


Phineas Gage (1823-1861, accident in 1848)


Phineas Gage’s lesion reconstructed (H. Damasio and R. Frank, 1992)


General Organization of Frontal cortical-striatal-pallidal-thalamic-cortical loops


Blumenfeld, 2002

Orbitofrontal Loop: 

Orbitofrontal Loop Involved in social and emotional functioning Damage produces: Disinhibition Hyperactivity Emotional lability Aggressiveness Reduced self-awareness

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