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.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Research Project (R01)
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Cognitive Neuroscience Study Section (COG)
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Simmons, Janine M
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Indiana University Bloomington
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Gentry, Ronny N; Roesch, Matthew R (2018) Neural Activity in Ventral Medial Prefrontal Cortex Is Modulated More Before Approach Than Avoidance During Reinforced and Extinction Trial Blocks. J Neurosci 38:4584-4597
Pessoa, Luiz (2018) Understanding emotion with brain networks. Curr Opin Behav Sci 19:19-25
Padmala, Srikanth; Sambuco, Nicola; Codispoti, Maurizio et al. (2018) Attentional capture by simultaneous pleasant and unpleasant emotional distractors. Emotion 18:1189-1194
Liu, Chihuang; JaJa, Joseph; Pessoa, Luiz (2018) LEICA: Laplacian eigenmaps for group ICA decomposition of fMRI data. Neuroimage 169:363-373
Meyer, Christian; Padmala, Srikanth; Pessoa, Luiz (2018) Dynamic Threat Processing. J Cogn Neurosci :1-21
Venkatesh, Manasij; Jaja, Joseph; Pessoa, Luiz (2018) Brain dynamics and temporal trajectories during task and naturalistic processing. Neuroimage 186:410-423
Pessoa, Luiz (2018) Embracing integration and complexity: placing emotion within a science of brain and behaviour. Cogn Emot :1-6
Pessoa, Luiz (2017) A Network Model of the Emotional Brain. Trends Cogn Sci 21:357-371
Pessoa, Luiz (2017) Do Intelligent Robots Need Emotion? Trends Cogn Sci 21:817-819
Padmala, Srikanth; Sirbu, Mihai; Pessoa, Luiz (2017) Potential reward reduces the adverse impact of negative distractor stimuli. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci 12:1402-1413

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