The Interaction of Emotion and Cognition: The Relation Between the Human Amygdala and Cognitive Awareness

Elizabeth A. Phelps

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Over the last few decades, psychological theories on the relation between cognition and emotion have been shaped by evidence from neuroscience techniques. In particular, the debate of whether or not emotion occurs in the absence of cognitive awareness has been influenced by studies of a subcortical brain structure, the amygdala, that is more or less specialized for emotional processing. Neuroscience studies with nonhuman animals, while suggestive, do not directly address the relationship between emotion, the amygdala, and cognitive awareness. The amygdala is necessary for the acquisition and physiological expression of fear conditioning, which does not require awareness. The amygdala influences conscious recollection of events that are emotional and important. It can also modulate perception and attention by increasing the likelihood that emotional information in the environment will break through to cognitive awareness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe New Unconscious
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199847488
ISBN (Print)9780195307696
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 22 2012

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Attention
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive awareness
  • Conscious recollection
  • Emotion
  • Fear conditioning
  • Neuroscience
  • Nonhuman animals
  • Perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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