The idea that a specific brain circuit constitutes the emotional brain and its corollary, that cognition resides elsewhere, has shaped thinking about emotion and the brain for many years. Recent behavioral, neuropsychological, neuroanatomy, and neuroimaging research, however, suggests that emotion is integrated with cognition in the brain. In The Cognitive-Emotional Brain, I describe the many ways that emotion and cognition are fundamentally integrated throughout the brain. The book summarizes five areas of research that support this integrative view and makes four arguments to organize each area. (1) Based on rodent and human data, it is proposed that the amygdala’s functions go beyond emotion as traditionally conceived. Furthermore, the processing of emotion-laden information is capacity limited, thus not independent of attention and awareness. (2) Cognitive-emotional interactions in the human prefrontal cortex assume diverse forms and are not limited to mutual suppression. Particularly, the lateral prefrontal cortex is a focal point for cognitive-emotional interactions. (3) Interactions between motivation and cognition can be seen across a range of perceptual and cognitive tasks. Motivation shapes behavior in specific ways – for example, by reducing response conflict or via selective effects on working memory. Traditional accounts, by contrast, typically describe motivation as a global activation independent of particular control demands. (4) Perception and cognition are directly influenced by information with affective or motivational content in powerful ways. A dual competition model outlines a framework for such interactions at the perceptual and executive levels. A specific neural architecture is proposed that embeds emotional and motivational signals into perception and cognition through multiple channels. (5) A network perspective should supplant the strategy of understanding the brain in terms of individual regions. More broadly, in a network view of brain architecture, “emotion” and “cognition” may be used as labels of certain behaviors, but will not map cleanly into compartmentalized pieces of the brain.
Cognitive neuroscientists increasingly recognize that continued progress in understanding human brain function will require not only the acquisition of new data, but also the synthesis and integration of data across studies and laboratories. Here we review ongoing efforts to develop a more cumulative science of human brain function. We discuss the rationale for an increased focus on formal synthesis of the cognitive neuroscience literature, provide an overview of recently developed tools and platforms designed to facilitate the sharing and integration of neuroimaging data, and conclude with a discussion of several emerging developments that hold even greater promise in advancing the study of human brain function.
The explosive growth of human brain mapping over the past two decades has raised important challenges for the field. As the primary literature expands, the need for powerful tools capable of synthesizing and distilling the findings of many different studies grow commensurately. The present article highlighted the benefits of a synthesis oriented research strategy and reviewed several ongoing efforts to facilitate greater integration of the published literature. Going forward, such integration will undoubtedly accelerate progress in elucidating the neural mechanisms that support the full range of human thought, feeling, and action in health and disease. There is every reason to push forward energetically on efforts to develop a cumulative science of human brain function.
People who work shifts for 10 years or more may suffer loss of memory and brain power, said a study Tuesday that also warned of safety concerns in high-risk jobs. The effects on brain function can be reversed, the team wrote in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, but this may take at least five years. The research is the latest to highlight the dangers of shift work, which disrupts the body’s internal clock and has previously been linked to health problems like ulcers, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Yet, little has been known about its potential impact on brain function.
Mothers are more likely to respond to their infant’s vocal cues than fathers, and infants respond preferentially to mother’s voice, according to a new study. Researchers also found that mothers may be more likely to vocalize back and forth with female babies compared to male babies. “We know that talking and playing with an infant improves cognitive and language skills,” said senior author Dr. Betty R. Vohr of the pediatrics department at Women & Infants Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island. “Early conversations start in infancy and infants appear primed to communicate shortly after birth,” Vohr told. “Both mothers and fathers can play an important role in their infant’s developmental progress.”
Economists from the Norwegian School of Economics NHH and brain researchers from the University of Bergen UiB have worked together to assess the relationship between fairness, equality, work and money. More precisely, the interdisciplinary research team from the two institutions looked at the striatum, the “reward centre” of the brain. By measuring our reaction to questions related to fairness, equality, work and money, this part of the brain may hold some answers to the issue of how we perceive distribution of income.