Lectures 20 and 21: Emotion Part 2

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What do we know about unconscious emotions and behaviour?
Winkielman et al (2005) - show strong effects of unconscious emotional faces on behaviour (consumption, willing to pay, more drink). no effects on mood or ratings. Called 'affective priming effect' + only seen in thirsty pps, so motivation dependent
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What did Bargh demonstrate about unconscious priming of behaviour?
Demonstrated fascinating effects of unconscious primes on behaviour and decision making.
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What is attention?
A process by which specific stimuli within external and internal environment are selected for further processing.
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What is attention bias? How is it studied?
Systematic tendency to attend to particular type of stimulus over others (can be drug related). Suggested as underlying in many disorders. Anxiety disorder=preoccupation for threat. Depression=eye tracking shown longer gaze on dissatisifying stimuli
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What are the paradigms to assess attentional bias?
Detection tasks - if individual prone to attending more to particular type of stimulus, should detect it faster. Visual search task - loads of smileys, one sad. Faster RT for sad means attentional bias for it.
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What is an emotional stroop task?
"read colour of word" compare RT for neutral or disorder-related words. Difficulties interpreting.
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How can we improve an emotional stroop task?
"read colour of word, but not for any associated with pain" These pps have faster RT because they don't read negative things which slow them down as assess threat.
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What is a 'dot probe' task?
Two cues on screen and RT indicates preferential processing of one cue over another. Task is to press button as fast as possible when see dot. Can use cue stimulus to left and right to directly track eye movement.
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What happens in the brain, with regard to emotion?
Emotional stimuli cause early response to identification. They cause increased connectivity between amygdala and visual cortex. Amygdala lesions abolish bias for emotional words..
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How can emotional stimuli bias competition for processing resources?
Emotional stimuli can bias competition for processing resources: emotion increases V1 responses. Visual info flows from V1 to temporal cortex to amygdala and then projects back to all visual areas.
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How is memory a key mechanism in emotion?
Encoding, storage, retrieval. Each stage relevant to development of psychopathology (selective encoding/retrieval). Factors e.g. mood/environment affect what is encoded/retrieved.
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Explain 'weapon focus'.
Attention and memory interact - weapon captures victim's attention and reduces ability to recall other details.
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What is weapon focus similar to?
Flashbulb memories. (enhanced memory for emotional scenes)
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Can fear memories be erased?
Would be helpful e.g. PTSD. Research suggests we can modify memories by blocking reconsolidation. Mood-congruent memory: if you're sad, find it easier to recall sad memories - maintenance factor in depression.
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What information did Eysenck and Keane provide about mood-state-dependent memory?
Better free recall in same mood state at encoding and retrieval.
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What is Cognitive Bias Modification?
Use to normal abnormal cognitive biases. Attentional bias modification: patients with anxiety and depression are trained to attend away from negative stimuli, can lead to reduction in symptoms (Browning et al, 2012). Used in obesity.
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What did Lazarus suggest about appraisal?
Start the emotion process. Occur automatically or consciously. Consist of different levels. BUT bit too slow to explain emotions fully.
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What is the link between appraisal and emotion regulation?
Management and control of emotional states happens in selective attention and appraisal. Affects points in emotion generative process: 1=behavioural control (suppressing expression). 2=attentional control (distraction). 3=cognitive change (reappraise
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What does neuroimaging show about appraisal?
Distinct neural mechanisms underlying different forms of emotion regulation. Showed many of mechanisms also involved in cognitive control - means inhibit influence of distractors in cog task
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What do we know about distraction vs appraisal?
May work by occupying limited space in WM. PFC dampens amygdala response to emotion. Siegle et al (2002) depressed patients had sustained amygdala response to negative emotional words. Healthy = increased relationship between DLPFC and amygdala.
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How is selective attention controlled?
(successfully ignore negative stimuli). Anterior Cingulate Gyrus (ACG) - suggested dorsal/ventral split relating to appraisal and expression (D) and emotion regulation (V). Supported by lesion studies.
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What is the response to words of different natures in depression?
AC cortex implicated in induction of sad mood and appears to underlie neg cog bias in depression. Decrease in ventral AC response to sad faces was mediated by successful AntiD treatment.
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What do brain imaging studies show about this?
Show new treatments for depression by targeting abnormal brain activity using TMS. Mayberg (2005) PET imaging showed ventral AC implicated in sadness in healthy controls and depressed mood. Decreased blood flow to this region successful for dep.
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Can we train the brain to improve emotion regulation?
Group received 20 days of emotional WM training or control training. Brain training task activates WM network and deactivates emotional regions. Task performance improved with training - less emotional distress in sad film.
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What is the role of Ventromedial prefrontal cortex?
Down-regulate amygdala responses to improve decision making. Lesions result in widespread impairment of emotional expression identification, disinhibition, impulsiveness, misinterpretation of others mood, impaired decision making.
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What did we learn from Phineas Gage?
Lasting effects of accident were in personality. Used to be kind and thoughtful, now rude and antisocial.
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What is the Lowa gambling task?
Borrow money to gamble, win money for picking correct card. Patients with VML lesions particularly impaired with decision making.
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What do we know about physiological arousal and emotion?
Skin conductance responses can be measured. Patients with lesions to emotional brain areas fail to show normal changes in physiological arousal when perform card task.
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What is the Somatic Marker Hypothesis?
Damasio (1990's) - version of James-Lange theory. Affective judgement influences decision making, called 'somatic marker'. When emotion experienced, set of events that lead to experience of emotion are learned to apply to future 'somatic marker' made
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What have we seen about brain activation in risky vs safe choices?
Pps asked after game, "what do you know" "did you find differences in decks" "will you lose or earn with 10 new cards" "if you could choose one deck, which one?" explicit knowledge of the deck and which had better outcomes meant better performance.
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What did Bargh demonstrate about unconscious priming of behaviour?


Demonstrated fascinating effects of unconscious primes on behaviour and decision making.

Card 3


What is attention?


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Card 4


What is attention bias? How is it studied?


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Card 5


What are the paradigms to assess attentional bias?


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