Archive for the ‘Emotions’ Category
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.
Organizational psychologist calls for a more playful and caring leadership. Our emotions control us more than we like to admit – even in the workplace. According to the Norwegian organizational psychologist, Morten Eikeland, emotions has had far too little attention in management theories. “Managers should be aware of an unconscious processes that have a major influence on the interaction between employees,” he says. Eikeland’s views are based on research conducted by neuropsychologists and social psychologists, who explore the role of emotions in organizations and leadership. In a recently published review article in a Norwegian journal of economics and management, he points out that emotions and reactions are hardwired in the brain by evolution. “We are social animals, and emotions provide us with information that affects the thoughts, behaviour and health of other people and ourselves”, Eikeland says. He believes that emotional expertise and awareness in managers can have a huge impact on how successful they are – and for the well-being of the employees. There is, however, little empirical research on how biological sense systems affect teamwork and leadership.
The principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are based on a very simple idea: we feel according to what we think, in other words, our thoughts and cognitive constructions are at the root of our emotions and behavior patterns. CBT is based on three fundamental propositions:
- Cognitive activity affects behavior;
- Cognitive activity may be monitored and altered; and
- Desired behavior change may be effected through cognitive change.
CBT is a fundamentally empowering approach, in that it has successfully identified certain ways of thinking that can make the difference between sanity and insanity, between happiness and unhappiness, and it has developed a variety of techniques to teach patients to substitute these dysfunctional patterns of thinking, which are often at the root of their problems.
The ability to recognize and work with different emotions is fundamental to psychological flexibility and well-being. Neuroscience has contributed to the understanding of the neural bases of emotion, emotion regulation, and emotional intelligence, and has begun to elucidate the brain mechanisms involved in emotion processing. Of great interest is the degree to which these mechanisms demonstrate neuroplasticity in both anatomical and functional levels of the brain.
For many, music exists to express emotions. Music stimulates both psychological mood and physiological changes including heart rate and breathing. Music can help anxiety. It drives the body with loud, fast music making people lively and promoting dance. Slow, soft music can make people calm or sad. Are these inherent responses to music or are they culturally learned? To find out we must look at the brain responses to music emotion and evolution.
There are many characteristics of music affecting our emotions. Sad music seems to use a lower pitch, smooth transitions, and low intensity movements. Happy music appears to use loud, fast and high pitch, associated with rapid dancers high-energy movements used for dancing. While music effects physiological system, it also stimulates the reward centers. In fact, music can be addictive, bringing great rewards in the excitement of playing live music, dancing at live concerts, and just listening to that favorite song over and over. Music is great to one person, offensive to another.
What is your emotional fingerprint? Why are some people so quick to recover from setbacks? Why are some so attuned to others that they seem psychic? Why are some people always up and others always down? In his thirty-year quest to answer these questions, pioneering neuroscientist Richard J. Davidson discovered that each of us has an Emotional Style, composed of Resilience, Outlook, Social Intuition, Self-Awareness, Sensitivity to Context, and Attention. Where we fall on these six continuums determines our own “emotional fingerprint.” Sharing Dr. Davidson’s fascinating case histories and experiments, “The Emotional Life of Your Brain” offers a new model for treating conditions like autism and depression as it empowers us all to better understand ourselves–and live more meaningful lives.
Read also: Compassion: The Ultimate Moral Choice?