About this Research Topic
This Research Topic aims to promote a scientific debate about the behavioral responses to affective stimuli based on their relevance to performing a given task. Through a comparison of task-relevant versus task-irrelevant affective stimuli, the goal is to investigate:
• how does the processing of affective stimuli shape motor behavior?
• how do affective stimuli influence factors like motor preparedness, attention, or inhibitory control when affective information is relevant versus irrelevant?
• what are the situations in which task-relevant and task-irrelevant affective stimuli evoke behavioral responses?
• how does the task relevance of affective stimuli influence the motor control of different effectors (e.g., the hand, the eye, or the gait)?
• does the pattern of brain activity elicited by task-relevant versus task-irrelevant affective stimuli differ? Do these stimuli always activate a neural response?
• does the pattern of results for task-relevant versus irrelevant affective stimuli obtained in healthy subjects differ in individuals with psychological and neurological disorders, altering the link between emotion-motor processing (e.g., anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder)?
We encourage submitting empirical or review papers that compare behavioral outcomes and/or brain activity changes resulting from tasks employing affective stimuli that are task-relevant or irrelevant to people’s goals, i.e., task instructions.
This comparison could ideally be conducted within the same participant group while controlling for the arousal dimension and visual features. These are two of the most important confounds leading to the high inconsistency between studies. First, if the stimuli arousal is not properly controlled, it is impossible to dissociate the effect of arousal from that of valence. Second, if pictures or videos of affective stimuli are very heterogeneous regarding visual features (e.g., the subjects could be humans, animals, parts of the body, or objects, it is not easy to ascribe the effects of emotional stimuli on movements solely to stimuli valence.
Finally, we also encourage the submission of papers with well-proved null results. These studies are fundamental to informing on whether or not an experimental manipulation, e.g., the task-relevance of affective stimuli, works or not.
Through this article collection, we aim to generate a lively debate on theories of emotions, gain deeper insights into emotional functioning in healthy individuals, and increase our understanding of psychiatric and neurological disorders characterized by maladaptive motor responses resulting from aberrant appraisals of affective stimuli.
For further information regarding this research, please refer to the video available here.
Information for authors: Please be aware that this research topic is cross-listed with multiple journals and sections. When submitting your manuscripts, please ensure that they fall within the scope of the journal and sections to which you are submitting. Should your manuscript fall outside the defined scope of the chosen section or journal, our team will promptly contact you to make the transfer to the corresponding journal /section
Keywords: emotional stimuli, task-relevance, attention, motor control, decision-making, inhibitory control; awareness, affective stimuli, executive function
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.