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Emotional Regulation in Cognitive Control

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Kate Masters

on 17 March 2014

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Transcript of Emotional Regulation in Cognitive Control

Emotional Regulation on Cognitive Control Processes
Emotion and Cognitive Control
We will discuss:

-Questions to consider!
-General ideas on the role of emotion in Cognitive Control.
-A study by Gray (2001) that looked at the influence that induced emotional states had on performance of WM tasks.
- Video clip that relates to the study!
- Why it is a valuable contribution towards Cognitive Control research.
-Re-consider our original questions!

General Ideas on Emotion and Cognitive Control
influence of induced emotional state on Working Memory tasks
We have considered:
Thanks for your attention!

-Example of spatial WM that is enhanced through a "withdrawal state" of emotion
- Images of 9/11 are rehearsed in WM through Media representations.
-Questions the influence that emotional saliency actually has on our long term memories, rather than just perceived recollection
Video on Flashbulb Memories
(Skip ahead 5 min mark)

How does emotion influence cognitive control processes?
cognitive control processes (that are influenced by emotion)?
What neuro-anatomical structures are responsible for this interaction?
Do all types of emotion have the same effect on regulatory processes?
Can emotions enhance or impair abilities on cognitive tasks?

Questions to Consider!

Cognitive control is
... ability to regulate and pursue goal directed behavior
(includes planning, decision making, task shifting, inhibitory control, working memory processes, etc.)

Brain areas involved are...
the amygdala, the septo-hippocampal system, the orbito-frontal cortex, and the ventro-medial prefrontal cortex.

Damasio's Somatic Marker Hypothesis:
Damasio’s (1996) Somatic Marker Hypothesis discusses emotional states as “somatic markers”, located primarily in the Ventromedial prefrontal cortex, that are used in tagging emotionally significant events.

Orbito-frontal Cortex:
strong influence on emotional processing, especially in terms of emotional learning based on stimulus-reward associations (Rolls and Grabenhorst, 2008).

Dorsolateral PFC and ACC:
distinguished the dorsal Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) as being involved in cognitive control, and the rostral ACC in regulating emotions.

Hemispheric specificity:
pointed towards a hemispheric divide when processing emotions. In theory, negative emotions are processed primarily by the right hemisphere, and positive are processed by the left hemisphere (Mueller, 2011).

S.C. Mueller (2011) The Influence of Emotion on Cognitive Control: Relevance for Development and Adolescent Psychopathology. Front Psychology (2) 327.
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2011.00327

Study conducted by Gray (2001)
induced emotional states
by having participants watch emotionally charged videos (each set had an approach, a withdrawal, and a neutral video), and then
complete a working memory task (spatial and verbal).
Functional neuroimaging studies suggests that some
components of WM are specialized by hemisphere
(verbal = left lateralized, spatial= right lateralized).
Participants completed a
Two-back task
= does the item (in this case, letters) match the one seen two trials previously (Press keys S for Same or D for Different. Spatial instructions= press S or D only depending on
the location of the cue
, but ignore the identity of the letter. For verbal, press depending on
the identity
, rather than the location).

Spatial WM task was enhanced by a “withdrawal state” (threat) and impaired by an “approach” (reward motivation) state. Opposite occurred for verbal WM task.
=Double Dissociation= strong evidence for selective effects of emotion on cognitive control.

Possible hemispheric distinctions (Approach states associated with greater left hemisphere activation & withdrawal states with Right hemisphere activation)

Participants completed a self report questionnaire, and their results were rated on a
BIS-BAS scale
(Carver & White, 1994). The questions targeted the participants’
sensitivity to cues of threat and reward. BIS= Behavioral Inhibition System (threat/withdrawal) BAS= Behavioral Approach System (reward).

Hypothesized that the rating on the BIS-BAS scale should be associated with the Emotion X Task interaction.


HIGH BIS/ LOW BAS individuals (w/ high reactivity to cues of threat, but not reward) are shown (from EEG measurements of PFC asymmetry) to have greater RIGHT hemispheric activity. HIGH BAS/ LOW BIS (high reactivity to reward, but not to threat) have greater left hemispheric activity.

High BIS/Low BAS (reactive to cues of threat and RIGHT HEMI activity) are assumed to show better spatial than verbal performance, BUT only after watching the withdrawal (threat) video. High BAS/Low BIS (react to reward and LEFT HEMI) should show better verbal than spatial performance, but only after the approach video.

How does emotion influence cognitive control processes?
Somatic Markers (Ventro-medial PFC), and associating events with reward or threat, which can either impair or enhance a cognitive process.
cognitive control processes (that are influenced by emotion)?
> Example of Working Memory, but also attention (to the emotional saliency of an event), decision making, etc.
What neuro-anatomical structures are responsible for this interaction?
>PFC (ventro-medial, orbito-frontal), amygdala, hippocampal system.
Do all types of emotion have the same effect on regulatory processes?
>Withdrawal (threat) versus approach (reward) emotions showed differences in either impairment or enhancement depending on the task (either spatial or verbal).
Can emotions enhance or impair abilities on cognitive tasks?
Full transcript