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Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou

Why Cognition and Emotion?

Feelings more than anything else influence our personal lives, they affect the quality of our mental states, our sense of bodily well-being, and the bodily well-being itself. No wonder that emotions have captured humans inspiration ever since. Most of mankinds cultural achievements (fine arts, theatre, movies, and music) relate to emotions and affections. What are emotions, where do they come from, what are they good for? Are emotions a mere add on, a caprice of evolution to entertain humans (in good and bad), or do they serve some important function? Emotions are almost certainly not a simple whim of nature. They are critical for the survival of the individual. Emotions effectively guide and consolidate memory storage and retrieval. They effectively guide social bonding, an extremely important survival factor in many species. And emotions efficiently guide and modulate reproductive behaviour. Why is it advantageous to have emotions? Emotions most likely have evolved to provide a flexible evaluation mechanism. What does this mean? Lets consider simple reflexive brain circuits. Reflexive brain circuits are non-adaptive -- any input results in a predictive output. A slight hit on your knee tendon will inevitably result in the knee-jerk reflex and your thigh will bounce. Reflex-like behavioural pattern is present in almost all species of the animal kingdom. If you turn the light on, the cockroach will rush to the dark, you cant train it otherwise. From evolutionary perspective flexible brain circuits are certainly advantageous, but flexible in what respect? Flexible brain circuits should be able to evaluate what is good and what is bad for the individual (and the species), and guide behaviour accordingly. Emotions can be viewed as such an evaluation system. Our emotion system reliably informs us about positive and negative environmental factors without any necessity of higher order reasoning. This system interacts with other systems and helps to rapidly acquire and store important information about positive and negative variables in the environment and their contingencies something that is positive under certain

Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou
circumstance may be negative to an animals well being under different circumstance. Genetically predetermined reflexive behaviour cannot provide this flexibility in an ever-changing environment. How do Emotions and Cognition relate to another? A simplified computer analogy is depicted in figure 1. It assumes that the basic emotional value-system is genetically determined. In techno parlance it can therefore be compared to the readonly memory (ROM) of a computer. Higher cognitive functions could then be compared to random access memory (RAM). The interaction of the two can ultimately result in long-term memory (learning) comparable to programmable readonly memory (PROM).

Figure 1, from: Panksepp, J. (1998) Affective Neuroscience Oxford University Press,

Are emotions something that is restricted to humans, or do we share these feelings with other creatures? Our emotional feelings reflect our ability to

subjectively experience certain states of the nervous system. Although conscious feeling states are universally accepted as major characteristics of human emotions, we have to ask whether similar states exist in animals as well. We are not able to directly measure the internal states of others (whether humans or animals); therefore a study

Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou
of emotional states must be indirect and based on empirically guided theoretical inferences. There still exists considerable disagreement about whether animal emotions are illusory concepts or not. I will take the stance of those who say that humans and animals both have similar affective feelings, and these affective feelings are important contributors to their future behavioural tendencies. The basic assumption here is that emotions arise from distinct neuronal circuits in the brain, and that we share many (if not all) of these circuits with most other mammals. In other words: Our emotions are of biological nature. When our basic emotions are fully expressed we have no doubt that powerful animal forces survived beneath our cultural veneer. It is this ancient heritage that makes us the intense, feeling creatures that we are. Are we then slaves of our emotions? Not necessarily (though sometimes we actually are). Emotive states are certainly influenced (and sometimes overridden) by higher order cognitive functions and social learning. However, substantial parts of our lives and consciousness is concerned with our feeling state, we care whether we feel good, whether we love or hate someone, and with the advent of powerful new technologies we are beginning to understand the neural bases of these emotions, how they are regulated, and their importance in view of evolutionary biology. Boldly speaking we may actually be about to gain insight into concepts as mysterious as feelings or the self (in the near future). This knowledge is not only fascinating by itself but also helps to understand the neural bases of psychiatric disorders and may facilitate drug development as cures in the future. I think that it is an absolutely fascinating area and I think it is more than adequate that Psychology gives special attention to this discipline.

Intended learning outcomes


At the end of this module you will: be familiar with the basics of neuronal information processing be familiar with basics of brain anatomy be familiar with concepts of cognition and emotion and how they can be applied to humans and other mammals

Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou
know the basic neuroanatomical and neuropharmacology circuits that mediate cognition and emotion know something about the interdependence of cognition and emotion be familiar with some tests to determine emotional and cognitive dysfunctions

Reading References
Borod, J.C. (Ed.), (2000) The Neuropsychology of Emotion, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 0195114647 Panksepp, J. (1998) Affective Neuroscience Oxford University Press, ISBN: 0195096738 Kandel, E.R., Schwarts, J.H., Jessell, T.M. (2000) Principles of Neural Science, 4th Edition, McGraw-Hill, ISBN: 0838577016 Roberts, A.C. et al. (1998) The Prefrontal Cortex: Executive and Cognitive Functions Oxford University Press, ISBN: 0198524412

Supplementary Reading References

Mesulam M. M. (2000) Principles of Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology, Oxford Univ Press; ISBN: 0195134753 Gazzaniga, M.S. et al. (1999) The New Cognitive Neurosciences MIT Press, ISBN: 0262071959

Housekeeping/Assessments
To successfully finish this module and obtain your final marks you will have to write an essay and you will have to pass a final exam. The module counts a total of 2.77% to your final degree marks. You will find an example of possible exam questions at the end of most lecture handouts. I would like to encourage you to answer these questions. It will certainly lead to a better understanding of the topics covered and be beneficial to your markings. The essays are due on the 22rd of April, which is the first day after spring break. Essay titles: 1. Care circuits: what is the neurobiology and neuropharmacology of nurturance and social bonding?

Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou
2. Describe the main neuropharmacological systems of the brain and how they influence behaviour. Tutorials will be held from 19th-22rd march 2002.

Historical concepts and background (Epistemology of reason and affect)


Emotions have traditionally been regarded as extras in psychology, not as serious mental functions like perception, language, thinking, learning. Oatley & Jenkins, 1996, Understanding Emotions, Blackwell, p.122

Epistemology is the theory of the origin, structure and validity of knowledge. Knowledge may be open to public verification (e.g. measurements of temperature) or knowledge may not be open to such verification (e.g. the belief in god). The epistemological validity of the latter is quite disputable. To what degree emotions are open to public verification has been a matter of longstanding debate. Historically emotions and other psychological events have been considered to be private events, which would be outside the realm of scientific enquiry. This debate has its roots in old philosophical debates. Recent advances in technology certainly have shifted the boundaries and brought emotions within the reach of public knowledge, thus its epistemological validity has increased. Discussions and arguments about the accessibility and epistemological validity of emotions are continuing. In order to understand these discussions we need some knowledge about philosophical conceptualisations of cognition and emotion.

Monism and Dualism (started ~500BC)

Dualism assumes that Mind and Soul are separate entities. They somehow coexist in one person for a limited amount of time (e.g. Plato, Aristotle). Descartes: Body is public, tangible; Mind is private, intangible. Based on this assumption the so called Cartesian impasse has been formulated: The interaction

Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou
between mind and body cannot be comprehended in either spatial or non-spatial terms Monism assumes that nothing exists but matter. It does not postulate a spiritual entity that is different from matter. This way of thought had less influence for considerable time.

Pragmatism Pragmatism was formulated at the end of the last century. It is based on hard fact science, but assumes that truth is not absolute. Knowledge about reality is derived from sensory perception. True is what promotes successful adaptation (biological implementations). According to pragmatism truth is modified as discoveries are made. It is relative to time and place and purpose of enquiry. Its relativity and proximity to biology allows considering emotions in scientific research.

Positivism
Positivism is the doctrine that the highest form of knowledge is a simple description of sensory phenomena. It emerged early in the 20th century and was also based on hard science facts. Rather than focusing on biology (Darwin) they based their system of thought on mathematics and logic. Central to their system of thought was the idea that the whole universe could be described in entirely logical terms. A perfectly scientific (logical) language would provide a mirror for the structure of reality. Ordinary language cannot provide this mirror because it contains impossible problems of meaning and implications. What this implies is that anything that deals with emotions or meaning is outside the realm of scientific enquiry. Only so called cognitive discourse was considered scientific discourse. Non-cognitive discourse was termed emotive discourse. Emotive discourse was certainly not considered meaningless, for it expresses how we feel, but it was not considered cognitive/scientific.

Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou
Behaviourism
Can somehow be viewed as positivism taken to psychology. It states that science can only be based on measurements, never on introspection or analysis of internal (cognitive or emotive) states. According to behaviourism the mind is a black box, and we can only make inferences about its operations based on input-output relations. Behaviourism dominated psychology for much of the early and mid 20th century. Due to this dominance cognitive and emotive neuroscience had few proponents and advances were correspondingly slow.

Affective and Cognitive Neurosciences The advent of new techniques throughout the last 50 years has changed the field of Psychology dramatically. It is now possible to study electrical and pharmacological brain activity directly. Thus the black box, and along with it the door to research on emotion has opened. We are now able to investigate and conceptualise those parts of the brain or mind that generate feeling states. We have learned that in addition to cognitive knowledge (which Positivism considered to be the only knowledge) emotive knowledge exists. Scientists for a long time disagreed how emotions arise. We will discuss this in some detail in an upcoming lecture. In the context of knowledge representation and theory formularisation, it is nevertheless quite interesting to take a short preview. Theories of emotions for a long time have focused on the level and speed of emotional processing. A particular question has dominated the discussion: Do emotions precede or follow cognition? In recent emotion theory the Zajonc-Lazarus debate nicely reflects this question. Zajonc found that familiar non-sense syllables were in general rated more positively than non-familiar ones. On this and other evidence he argued that affect occurs before cognition. Lazarus strongly opposed this view based on his own research. He argued that emotion could not occur without cognitive appraisal. A close scrutiny of their argumentation shows that they mainly disagreed on the meaning of cognition. For Zajonc cognition implied some kind of mental work, for Lazarus cognition was merely some primitive evaluative perception. More and more often Neuroscience offers a simple remedy for such

Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou
disputes. In a classical experiment LeDoux demonstrated that both types of cognitive processes coexist in the brain. Through classical fear conditioning he was able to show that two pathways exist in the brain that inform an animal about impeding danger. One pathway is fast, and it reaches the emotive centres of the brain by a direct hardwired route. The other pathway is slower, and it reaches the emotive centres only after higher cognitive processing of the stimuli. Thus the old debate about whether emotions precede cognition or vice versa have a simple answer: yes and no. This finding shows that once we know the underlying mechanisms these debates may become trivial. Before we fully understand a psychological phenomenon objectively at the level of public verification, however, language and these debates are anything but trivial. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Some simple definitions of Motivation, Emotion and Cognition I will start with 2 main working hypotheses that should always be kept in mind: Emotion always involves cognition and cognition always involves emotion Emotion and cognition always involve motivation and vice versa

The following definitions will become more precise in the course of the lecture, so they should be taken to be preliminary.

Motivation Motivation is the potential of the system to elicit certain behaviour; it is analogous to energy in physics, which is never seen per se. Cognition Cognition has a variety of definitions. It may relate to knowledge based on raw awareness (knowledge by acquaintance, direct knowledge). Knowledge by acquaintance is always true, e.g. the knowledge of a certain taste, the knowledge of the perception of red. This knowledge can sometimes be restructured into knowledge by description, which is not self-evident, i.e. it can be false. We have

Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou
direct knowledge about events in the terrestrial, social and bodily environment, but representational knowledge about these events are based on processing and interference. Emotion/Affect Emotions are a form of direct knowledge of internal body states. The knowledge is based on readouts of specifiable neurochemical systems. These systems have evolved by natural selection as phylogenetic adaptations functioning to inform the organism of bodily events important for self-regulation. The experiential aspects of these interoceptive perceptions are feelings and desires. They can be viewed as specialpurpose, gene-based, neurochemical readout systems that inform an organism about its well-being. Relatively strong affects associated with specific elicitors are typically termed emotions as compared with moods, which last longer and are not associated with specific elicitors.

Interaction of affective and descriptive knowledge Figure 2 demonstrates the relationship between affective knowledge and descriptive knowledge more accurately than the more usual categorical distinction between emotion and cognition. As one proceeds from reflexes to instincts through drives to affects, the interaction between special-purpose and general purpose built systems increasingly favours the latter.

Rational/descripitve knowledge (KD)


(General purpose system)

Affective knowledge (KA)


(General purpose processing system)

Affective knowledge (KA)


(Special purpose processing system) Level of prime: Phylogen. Scale: Development: Brain System:
Reflex ------------Instinct--------------Drive---------------------Affect Simple creatures----------------------------------Complex creatures Infant ------------------------------------------------------------------ Adult spinal cord - brainstem - midbrain - paleocortex - neocortex

Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou

Figure 2: The interaction of affective and rational cognition. With increasing complexity the contribution of descriptive knowledge increases. Note that various phenomena (level of prime, phylogenetic scale, development, brain system) may be usefully placed along this scale.

Relationship between affect and reason in terms of levels of knowledge The most fundamental form of knowledge is knowledge by acquaintance. This form of knowledge is present in all animals. According to Buck (in: Borod, J.C. (Ed.), (2000)
The Neuropsychology of Emotion, Oxford University Press) this is followed by three level of

knowledge by description (termed cognizance): associative classical conditioning, goal directed instrumental learning, and higher order cognitive processing. This second form of knowledge is present in humans and a variety of animals. What distinguishes humans (and maybe some non-human primates) from the rest of the animals is linguistic knowledge, which can also be termed understanding (terrestrial understanding, social understanding, self understanding). The formal rules of language allow humans to come under the influence of factors outside the experience of the individual. Humans can inform others via language of existing or non-existing physical realities. Knowledge by acquaintance can be bypassed through stories and tales. Figure 3 illustrates the various levels of knowledge.

Figure 3: Hierarchy of knowledge (from Buck in: Borod, J.C. (Ed.), (2000) The Neuropsychology of Emotion, Oxford University Press. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Psy 205 Cogniittiion and Emottiion Lectture 1 Handoutt Psy 205 Cogn on and Emo on Lec ure 1 Handou
Todays reading references: Borod, J.C. (Ed.), (2000) The Neuropsychology of Emotion, Oxford University Press, Chapter 1 and 2

Answer the following question: How have various philosophical and psychological theories contributed to the way affect and emotions are regarded as scientifically approachable?

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