Our long-range goal is to contribute to a better understanding of the basic mechanisms by which emotional/motivational and cognitive brain systems interact in the generation of complex behavior. The objective of the present application is to understand the mechanisms of interaction between these systems during tasks that recruit "top-down control", including inhibitory control and conflict processing. The project's central hypothesis is that affective significance confers a competitive advantage toward the processing of emotion-laden information (relative to neutral items) and that emotional stimuli are prioritized as a function of the stimuli's affective history and affective context. We will test our hypotheses by pursuing three specific aims, which will employ a combination of behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies:
Aim #1 : Determine how inhibition interacts with emotion;
Aim #2 : Determine how conflict processing interacts with emotion;
Aim #3 : Determine how executive function interacts with motivation. Affective significance will be manipulated in a number of ways, including aversive conditioning and reward/punishment (via monetary incentives). Throughout these aims, we will attempt to identify the brain networks underlying interactions between emotion and cognition. We anticipate that an item's affective history and context will bias processing in favor of emotion-laden information, and that such bias will be manifested in multiple ways across behavior, and, correspondingly, across multiple levels of the brain. Importantly, by providing a better understanding of cognitive-emotional interactions during normal behavior, our research can help understand the mechanisms that potentially go awry in many debilitating mental illnesses.

Public Health Relevance

The proposed research will advance the knowledge database concerning the basic mechanisms of how cognition and emotion/motivation interact in the domains of inhibitory control and conflict processing in humans. Such knowledge is of importance because many neurological disorders and mental illnesses are characterized by profound deficits in cognitive and emotional interactions, including epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease, autism, major depression, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01MH071589-09
Application #
8336924
Study Section
Cognitive Neuroscience Study Section (COG)
Program Officer
Simmons, Janine M
Project Start
2004-06-01
Project End
2014-07-31
Budget Start
2012-08-01
Budget End
2013-07-31
Support Year
9
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$376,200
Indirect Cost
$128,700
Name
University of Maryland College Park
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
790934285
City
College Park
State
MD
Country
United States
Zip Code
20742
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Padmala, Srikanth; Pessoa, Luiz (2014) Motivation versus aversive processing during perception. Emotion 14:450-4
Hu, Kesong; Padmala, Srikanth; Pessoa, Luiz (2013) Interactions between reward and threat during visual processing. Neuropsychologia 51:1763-72
Anderson, Michael L; Kinnison, Josh; Pessoa, Luiz (2013) Describing functional diversity of brain regions and brain networks. Neuroimage 73:50-8
Choi, Jong Moon; Padmala, Srikanth; Pessoa, Luiz (2012) Impact of state anxiety on the interaction between threat monitoring and cognition. Neuroimage 59:1912-23
Hu, Kesong; Bauer, Andrew; Padmala, Srikanth et al. (2012) Threat of bodily harm has opposing effects on cognition. Emotion 12:28-32

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