The important role of biological and cognitive factors in interacting with emotion

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The important role of biological and cognitive factors in interacting with emotion

Many cognitive processes are thought to involve sophisticated functions that may be unique to primates. They often involve so-called controlled processes, such as when the pursuit of a goal e. A prototypical example of a neural correlate of a cognitive process is the sustained firing of cells in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex as a monkey maintains information in mind for brief periods of time Fuster and Alexander, ; Kubota and Niki, Whereas there is relative agreement about what constitutes cognition, the same cannot be said about emotion.

Some investigators use definitions that incorporate the concepts of drive and motivation: Others favor the view that emotions are involved in the conscious or unconscious evaluation of events Arnold, i.

Some approaches focus on basic emotions Ekman, e.

The important role of biological and cognitive factors in interacting with emotion

Strong evidence also links emotions to the body Damasio, Brain structures linked to emotion are often subcortical, such as the amygdalaventral striatumand hypothalamus. These structures are often considered evolutionarily conserved, or primitive.

They are also believed to operate fast and in an automatic fashion, such that certain trigger features e. Accordingly, an individual may not be necessarily conscious of a stimulus that may have triggered brain responses in an affective brain region, such as the amygdala. For discussion, see Ohman, ; Pessoa, Because of the inherent difficulty in providing clear definitions for both cognition and emotion, they will not be further defined here.

We now turn to illustrating some of the interactions between emotion and cognition. Given the enormous scope of this topic, by necessity, this review will be relatively narrow in scope and will emphasize the brain systems involved in the interactions between emotion and i perception and attention; ii learning and memory; and iii behavioral inhibition and working memory.

A key conclusion from this review and from other current discussions of the relationship between cognition and emotion is that it is probably counterproductive to try to separate them.


Instead, current thinking emphasizes their interdependence in ways that challenge a simple division of labor into separate cognitive and emotional domains. In particular, in the context of the brain, the general dichotomization alluded to above in terms of cortical-cognitive and subcortical-emotional brain areas is now viewed as largely simplified and breaks down rather quickly when more in-depth analyses are carried out; e.

Before proceeding, however, a brief historical note is in order. It can be said that the mere-exposure effect and other behavioral findings shifted ongoing debates to focus on affect as being related to unconscious processing and subcortical activity, with cognition being related to conscious processing and cortical involvement.

These early behavioral studies provided a strong impetus to the wave of neuroscience research in the late s and beyond that investigated related phenomena. For some of the early theoretical arguments, see Fazio et al. Perception and attention Viewing emotion-laden visual stimuli is linked to heightened and more extensive visual system activation Pessoa et al.

For instance, viewing faces with emotional expressions evokes increased responses relative to viewing neutral faces throughout ventral occipitotemporal visual cortex Figure 1.

Visual responses are also stronger when subjects view emotional scenes e. Increased visual activation is observed in both late visual areas, such as the fusiform gyrus and superior temporal sulcus, and early visual cortex in occipital cortex.

Recent studies suggest that, in humans, even retinotopically organized visual cortex, including visual areas V1 and V2 along the calcarine fissure, are modulated by the affective significance of a stimulus Padmala and Pessoa, Enhanced visual activation when viewing emotional stimuli is consistent with the observed improvements in behavioral performance in several visual tasks.

For instance, angry and happy faces are detected faster in visual search tasks Eastwood et al. Stronger evidence comes from studies of the attentional blink paradigm, in which subjects are asked to report the occurrence of two targets T1 and T2 among a rapid stream of visual stimuli.

When T2 follows T1 by a brief delay, participants are more likely to miss it, as if they had blinked hence the name. The attentional blink is believed to reflect a capacity-limited processing stage, possibly linked to a process of consolidation of the detected item for conscious reports.

Interestingly, the attentional blink has been shown to be modulated by emotional stimuli, as subjects are significantly better at detecting T2 when it is an emotion-laden word e. Converging evidence for a link between perception, attention, and emotion comes from additional studies.

For example, patients with unilateral inattention due to spatial hemineglect often as a result of right hemisphere parietal lesions are better at detecting happy or angry faces compared to neutral ones Vuilleumier and Schwartz, We know both biological and cognitive factors play a role in emotion but it is difficult to determine the interaction due to the complexity of defining emotion.

Early theories of emotion argue that cognitive and biological factors interact to a limited extent. Psychologists have long debated the role physiological, cognitive and behavioural factors play in emotion. Originally believed to be a physiological experience, research now suggests that emotions are an interaction of both physiological and cognitive factors.

If we accept the information processing view of the brain, cognitive and biological factors interact in those brain regions where cognitive and perceptual processing is thought to be occurring, such as the thalamus, the hippocampus, the amygdala and the prefrontal lobe.5/5(2). examined how cultural and biological factors jointly influence emotion regulation.

The present paper specifically aims to present research considering both cultural and genetic factors as two interacting influences that shape emotion regulation. A series of studies conducted to test the in which emotion regulation plays a role is the. As such, this essay response will aim to consider the argument or concept of how both cognitive and biological factors interact in emotion and influence how humans experience emotion.

A conclusion will then be made regarding the extent in which these factors influence emotion. To a large extent, cognitive and biological factors do affect the interaction in emotion based off the two studies and information provided.

Emotions have two important parts, physiological component of emotions (the way our body reacts to an emotion) and subjective feelings of emotion (the way we experience an emotion).

Emotion - Wikipedia