Research Topic

The neurobiology of emotion-cognition interactions

About this Research Topic

There is increasing interest in understanding the interplay of emotional and cognitive processes. The objective of the Research Topic is to provide an interdisciplinary survey of cutting-edge neuroscientific research on the interaction and integration of emotion and cognition in the brain. ...

There is increasing interest in understanding the interplay of emotional and cognitive processes. The objective of the Research Topic is to provide an interdisciplinary survey of cutting-edge neuroscientific research on the interaction and integration of emotion and cognition in the brain.

We encourage submissions from investigators using different species, populations (normative adult, developmental, neurological, psychiatric), and tools (imaging, electrophysiology, psychophysiology, genetics, computational/behavioral economic modeling, lesions, pharmacology, TMS, epidemiology, behavior) to understand the neurobiology of cognition-emotion interactions.

The aim of the Topic is to begin to address several key questions about the interplay of cognitive and emotional processes in the brain, including:

• IMPACT OF EMOTIONAL STATES ON COGNITION: How do stress and emotional states alter cognition? Which neural circuits mediate these effects? How are they related to changes in the amount or pattern of neural activity and to alterations in connectivity (cellular or systems level)? What are the key molecular and genetic pathways underlying the influence of emotion on cognition?

• INTEGRATION OF EMOTION AND COGNITION: Can activity in ‘affective’ brain regions contribute to adaptive, normative cognition? For instance, there is evidence that negative affect can influence attention and top-down control systems. How might the brain use errors, reinforcers, and other emotionally-salient feedback, including social cues, to sculpt complex cognition and behavior? How is emotion integrated with cognition (computationally, neurally)? Are there ‘domain-general’ mechanisms (e.g., ‘salience’ networks) that play a key role in both cognitive and emotional processes?

• TRAIT-LIKE INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES: Do individual differences in affective dimensions of temperament and personality involve systematic changes in cognition? Do they alter risk for the development or maintenance of clinical disorders? How is this realized in the brain?

• TRANSLATIONAL: Are there individual differences that increase vulnerability to the impact of affect on cognition—who is vulnerable, and who resilient? What are the implications of the neural interplay between cognition and emotion for occupational and academic performance (e.g., choking under pressure), for interpersonal relationships (e.g., ‘stonewalling’ during conflict), for economic and health decision-making (e.g., abstinence, relapse, therapy compliance), and for psychopathogy? Are these effects stable across development?

• PLASTICITY AND INTERVENTION: How plastic is the interplay of cognition and emotion? Can these processes be trained or cultivated? What are the prospects for developing neuroscientifically-informed interventions for therapeutic purposes or enhancement? Are there promising interventions that warrant additional scrutiny?

• METHODOLOGICAL CONSIDERATIONS: Are there key methodological issues that preclude strong inferences in this domain? How can we leverage recent methodological advances to enhance our understanding of cognition-emotion interactions? Are different emotion elicitation techniques (e.g., pain, mental arithmetic, anxiogenic drugs) created equal or are they different in kind?

• STATE OF THE FIELD AND FUTURE CHALLENGES: Are there key points of consensus? What are the most fruitful avenues for future research? Are there key points of disagreement that have impeded progress?


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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