Research Topic

How Emotion Relates to Language, Memory, and Cognition

About this Research Topic

Embodied theories of cognition propose that cognition, for example conceptual representations, are directly tied to sensory and perceptual processes. For instance, when one encounters a word such as “ocean”, perceptual attributes tied to the concept are accessed (e.g., a mental image of the blueness of the ocean) and contribute to the processing of the word. A natural but somewhat less explored extension to this theory concerns how emotional attributes are similarly tied to cognition. There are many promising avenues for exploring the relationship between emotion and cognition. Traditionally, this issue has been explored via experimental methods. Some recent work has uncovered important relationships between affective and more traditional psycholinguistic properties of words through mega-studies, i.e., the analysis of lexical decision, reading aloud, and recognition memory from large existing databases for words. In addition, the time course and neural correlates of emotional word processing have been explored through neurophysiological methods.

This Research Topic explores how emotion relates to language, memory, and cognition. These relationships will inform embodied theories of cognition. In addition, the relationship between emotion and conceptual representations may inform us about the nature of semantic memory itself, its relative independence from emotion, bottom-up influences of emotion on basic word recognition and memory processes, and top-down influences of word processing, language, and memory on emotional perception. In addition, cognitive neuroscience may inform us about these processes as well as the neurological bases of emotion and cognition. Furthermore, computational modelling of the effects of emotion on word processing, language, and memory may provide important insights. Recent work on word processing indicates that emotion can affect lexical decision, reading aloud, and recognition memory. We hope to include research that builds upon and expands this work as well as research that explores the relationship between emotion and higher-order cognitive processes during more natural reading processes such as sentence or text comprehension, decision making, theory of mind, and more.

The main focus is on the role that specific aspects of emotion such as emotional valence and arousal play on various language, memory, and decision processes. The examination of emotion independently of cognition is outside the topic area. Emotional variables may include emotional aspects of the stimulus and/or the primed emotional state and/or the emotional predisposition of the individual. We are interested in manuscripts that examine how these types of emotional variables relate to word processing speed (as in lexical decision, reading aloud, progressive de-masking, etc.), memory (e.g., recognition memory, free recall), attention (e.g., emotional Stroop), sentence or text processing (e.g., eye tracking, sentence priming), decision making (e.g., preferences), creativity, and brain activity. Articles exploring the emotion-cognition interaction through computational modelling would also be welcome.


Keywords: Emotional Valence, Emotion Semantics, Emotional Arousal, Attention and Emotion, Emotion and Cognition


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Embodied theories of cognition propose that cognition, for example conceptual representations, are directly tied to sensory and perceptual processes. For instance, when one encounters a word such as “ocean”, perceptual attributes tied to the concept are accessed (e.g., a mental image of the blueness of the ocean) and contribute to the processing of the word. A natural but somewhat less explored extension to this theory concerns how emotional attributes are similarly tied to cognition. There are many promising avenues for exploring the relationship between emotion and cognition. Traditionally, this issue has been explored via experimental methods. Some recent work has uncovered important relationships between affective and more traditional psycholinguistic properties of words through mega-studies, i.e., the analysis of lexical decision, reading aloud, and recognition memory from large existing databases for words. In addition, the time course and neural correlates of emotional word processing have been explored through neurophysiological methods.

This Research Topic explores how emotion relates to language, memory, and cognition. These relationships will inform embodied theories of cognition. In addition, the relationship between emotion and conceptual representations may inform us about the nature of semantic memory itself, its relative independence from emotion, bottom-up influences of emotion on basic word recognition and memory processes, and top-down influences of word processing, language, and memory on emotional perception. In addition, cognitive neuroscience may inform us about these processes as well as the neurological bases of emotion and cognition. Furthermore, computational modelling of the effects of emotion on word processing, language, and memory may provide important insights. Recent work on word processing indicates that emotion can affect lexical decision, reading aloud, and recognition memory. We hope to include research that builds upon and expands this work as well as research that explores the relationship between emotion and higher-order cognitive processes during more natural reading processes such as sentence or text comprehension, decision making, theory of mind, and more.

The main focus is on the role that specific aspects of emotion such as emotional valence and arousal play on various language, memory, and decision processes. The examination of emotion independently of cognition is outside the topic area. Emotional variables may include emotional aspects of the stimulus and/or the primed emotional state and/or the emotional predisposition of the individual. We are interested in manuscripts that examine how these types of emotional variables relate to word processing speed (as in lexical decision, reading aloud, progressive de-masking, etc.), memory (e.g., recognition memory, free recall), attention (e.g., emotional Stroop), sentence or text processing (e.g., eye tracking, sentence priming), decision making (e.g., preferences), creativity, and brain activity. Articles exploring the emotion-cognition interaction through computational modelling would also be welcome.


Keywords: Emotional Valence, Emotion Semantics, Emotional Arousal, Attention and Emotion, Emotion and Cognition


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

14 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

14 August 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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