Friday, August 15, 2008

The Inseparability of Emotion and Cognition

A paper on how emotion and cognition should not really be considered as separate entities, but as integrated - a move away from functional specialisations in the brain, and towards widespread interaction and integration for the production of behaviour. Abstract:
The current view of brain organisation supports the notion that there is a considerable degree of functional specialisation and that many regions can be conceptualised as either 'affective' or 'cognitive'. Popular examples are the amygdala in the domain of emotion and the lateral prefrontal cortex in the case of cognition. This prevalent view is problematic for a number of reasons. Here, I will argue that complex cognitive-emotional behaviours have their basis in dynamic coalitions of networks of brain areas, none of which should be conceptualised as specifically affective or cognitive. Central to cognitive-emotional interactions are brain areas with a high degree of connectivity, called hubs, which are critical for regulating the flow and integration of information between regions.

Reference: Pessoa L (2008) On the relationship between emotion and cognition. Nat Rev Neurosci 9:148-158 - full text (may require subscription)

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