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: 6.13). 10/2009; 49(3):2662-70. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.10.076
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

1 Bookmark
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    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 However, certain outdated assumptions tied to Homo economicus persist, often influencing discourse and research design even in sustainability-oriented fields.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 · 2.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Introduction: We used an affective prime task composed of emotional (happy, angry, and neutral) prime faces and target words with either positive or negative valence. By asking subjects to attend to either the faces’ emotional expression or to the glasses’ shape, we assessed whether angry facial expressions were processed when they were unattended and task-irrelevant. Methods: We conducted a distributed source analysis on the corresponding event-related potentials focused on the early activity of face processing and attention networks’ related areas. We also evaluated the magnitude of the affective priming effect. Results: We observed a reduction of occipitotemporal areas’ (BA37) activation to unattended compared to attended faces and a modulation of primary visual areas’ activity lateralization. The latter was more right lateralized for attended than for unattended faces, and emotional faces were more right lateralized than neutral ones only in the former condition. Affective priming disappeared when emotional expressions of prime faces were ignored. Moreover, an increased activation in the right temporo-parietal junction (TPJ), but not in the intraparietal sulcus, was observed only for unattended angry facial expressions at approximately 170 ms after face presentation. Conclusions: We suggest that attentional resources affect the early processing in visual and occipito-temporal areas, irrespective of the faces’ threatening content. The disappearance of the affective priming effect suggests that when subjects were asked to focus on glasses’ shape, attentional resources were not available to process the facial emotional expression, even though emotion relevant and emotion irrelevant features of the face were presented in the same position. On the other hand, unattended angry faces evoked a pre-attentive TPJ activity, which most likely represents a bottom-up trigger that signals their high behavioral relevance, although it is unrelated to task demands.
    Frontiers in Psychology 12/2014; 5. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01498 · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The current study examined whether the interaction between emotion and executive control (EC) is modulated by the processing type of the emotional information. Namely, whether the emotional information is explicitly processed, implicitly processed or passively viewed. In each trial, a negative or neutral picture preceded an arrow-flanker stimulus that was congruent or incongruent. Incongruent stimuli are known to recruit EC. Explicit processing of the pictures (Experiment 1a), which required responding to their emotional content, resulted in emotional interference for congruent but not for incongruent stimuli. Similar effects were shown for the passive viewing condition (Experiment 2). In contrast, implicit processing (Experiment 1b), which required responding to non-emotional content, resulted in emotional interference for both congruent and incongruent stimuli. Thus, our findings indicate that implicit emotional processing affects performance independently of EC recruitment. In contrast, explicit emotional processing and passive viewing of emotional pictures lead to reduced emotional interference when EC is recruited.
    Cognition and Emotion 01/2015; DOI:10.1080/02699931.2014.1000830 · 2.52 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 23, 2014