Emotional Priming Effects during Stroop Task Performance

UNC Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 10/2009; 49(3):2662-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.10.076
Source: PubMed


The ability to make decisions within an emotional context requires a balance between two functionally integrated neural systems that primarily support executive control and affective processing. Several studies have demonstrated effects of emotional interference presented during an ongoing cognitive task, but it is unclear how activating the emotional circuitry prior to a cognitive task may enhance or disrupt the executive system. In this study we used fMRI to examine the effects of emotional priming on executive processing during a number Stroop task. Our results indicated that during trials with less executive requirements, there was a greater aversive emotional attenuation effect in a network of regions including the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (vlPFC), insula and cingulate gyrus. This attenuation effect was counteracted during trials with increased executive demand, suggesting that while pre-activation of the emotional system may lead to an automatic attenuation of activity in multiple regions, requirements for executive function may override the aversive emotional attenuation effect. Furthermore, this override effect was found to be associated with faster reaction times during executive processing. These findings demonstrate that activity in the vlPFC, cingulate and insula is dynamically adjusted in order to optimize performance, and illustrate the importance of the timing of each system's engagement in determining how competing cognitive and emotional information is processed.

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Available from: Aysenil Belger, Oct 13, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: It is now commonplace to note that economics' canonical model of humans as rational, self-interested utility-maximizers (Homo economicus) is both descriptively misleading, and often insufficiently predictive. However, certain outdated assumptions tied to Homo economicus persist, often influencing discourse and research design even in sustainability-oriented fields. We argue this 'ghost' of Homo economicus endures because the diversity of findings that confound the canonical model has surfaced across multiple behavioral and cognitive sciences, each with its own terminology and focus area. As such, a unified, accessible synthesis of this new information has yet to emerge. In this paper we review recent insights from across the behavioral and cognitive sciences, and propose an 'efficient complexity manager' (ECM) model (Homo efficens) as the best synthesizing option. The crux of this model is that our species works within biological limits to efficiently filter massive environmental complexity. This is achieved largely through analogical—or 'case-based'—reasoning. We explain this synthesized model using a series of accessible metaphors. Finally, we speculate on how this model may enrich future sustainable development research insofar as it points to fruitful units of analysis, can stimulate methodological innovation, and provide a more explicit theoretical foundation for the field.
    Ecological Economics 06/2015; 114:22-32. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.03.010 · 2.72 Impact Factor
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    • "Interestingly, Pessoa (2009) claimed that not only different cognitive processes share and compete for the same restricted resource capacities, but that cognitive and affective processes do so as well. Indeed, it has been shown that performance in incongruent trials decreased when preceded by an affective task-irrelevant picture (Hart et al., 2010), suggesting that the processing of the affective stimulus consumed resources that would otherwise have benefited conflict resolution. "
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    Frontiers in Psychology 02/2015; 6:185. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00185 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "One common stimulus used to demonstrate how threatening information can be prioritized and processed efficiently is the fearful facial expression. Several studies using different paradigms have shown that even though the emotional content of the stimulus is task-irrelevant, it captures attention and interferes with the relevant task (Okon-Singer et al., 2007; Hart et al., 2010), delays disengagement of attention (Georgiou et al., 2005), is detected more easily than a neutral stimulus (Hansen and Hansen, 1988; Anderson, 2005; Calvo et al., 2006) and is better detected as a T2 in the attention blink paradigm compared with a neutral T2 (Anderson, 2005). Further evidence for the automatic processing of emotional expressions is derived from studies that explicitly manipulated the focus of attention by asking subjects to either attend to or ignore facial stimuli [e.g., Vuilleumier et al., 2001; Anderson et al., 2003; Eimer et al., 2003; see Eimer and Holmes, 2007, for a review of event-related potential (ERP) studies]. "
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