Emotion and Cognition: Insights from Studies of the Human Amygdala

Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, New York 10003, USA.
Annual Review of Psychology (Impact Factor: 21.81). 02/2006; 57(1):27-53. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.psych.56.091103.070234
Source: PubMed


Traditional approaches to the study of cognition emphasize an information-processing view that has generally excluded emotion. In contrast, the recent emergence of cognitive neuroscience as an inspiration for understanding human cognition has highlighted its interaction with emotion. This review explores insights into the relations between emotion and cognition that have resulted from studies of the human amygdala. Five topics are explored: emotional learning, emotion and memory, emotion's influence on attention and perception, processing emotion in social stimuli, and changing emotional responses. Investigations into the neural systems underlying human behavior demonstrate that the mechanisms of emotion and cognition are intertwined from early perception to reasoning. These findings suggest that the classic division between the study of emotion and cognition may be unrealistic and that an understanding of human cognition requires the consideration of emotion.

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    • ", 2013 ) . Emotional stimuli receive privileged access to attention and awareness , and thus are more likely to capture one ' s attention ( Vuilleumier , 2005 ; Phelps , 2006 ) . In particular autobiographic memories lead to emotional responses and involve widespread functions of the brain ( Svoboda et al . "
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    • "g . , LeDoux , 2000 ; Dolan , 2002 ; Ochsner and Gross , 2005 ; Phelps , 2006 ; Lewis et al . , 2007 ; Kim et al . "
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    • "Although the amygdala is typically involved in processing fear and other negative emotions, it is also involved in many other cognitive processes that are usually unmentioned in studies such as Greene et al. (2001). Such processes include the perception of odor intensity, sexually arousing stimuli, and trust from faces (Phelps 2006; Lindquist et al. 2012), as well as the processing of faces from other races, and the perception of biological motion and sharp contours (Phelps 2009). It has also been claimed that the main function of the amygdala is to process novel or emotionally salient stimuli—not fear-related stimuli per se (Lindquist et al. 2012). "
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