Sunday, September 28, 2008

Week 3: Culture, Language, Cognition and Affect

This week’s readings take an interesting look at cultural differences in the experience and expression of emotion, as well as the role of emotion in social relationships.

Potter, S. (1988). The cultural construction of emotion in rural Chinese social life. Ethos, 16, 181–208.

Potter’s article spotlights a fundamental difference between Americans and Chinese in the way that individual emotional experiences are both valued and used to guide action. Specifically, Potter focuses on the impact of experienced and expressed emotions on social structure. The article begins by pointing out that in the context of American culture, the “form and meaning” of social relationships are directly determined by the emotional experience of the individual, such that the experience of emotions both validate and maintain social structure and guides social action. For example, a “loveless” marriage is a legitimate reason for divorce, or anger at an institution is a valid reason to organize and press for change. Potter also points out that the important role emotions play in these social relationships puts an emphasis on continual emotional validation, such that the individual must reaffirm their emotional position through repeated emotional expression (i.e. parents hugging their children; spouses saying “I love you”), and without these repeated emotional displays the relationship may come into question or be considered devoid of meaning.
By contrast, Potter suggests individual emotional experience in rural Chinese life is viewed as irrelevant to the maintenance of social order or social action, maybe even to some extent threatening. In rural Chinese life, the social order exists and remains intact regardless of the inner experience of the individual. This is a major distinction between the ways in which emotions guide experience in American versus Chinese culture. As Potter states, “To root all meaningful social experience in the self is, from one point of view, an affirmation of the self and the importance of the individual. From another point of view, it puts an intolerable burden on individual experience.” In China, social structure is viewed as continuous, carried down across generations, such that the transgressions of an ancestor can have implications on the status of an individual generations later, without reference to that individual’s current experience. Further, because individual emotional experience is irrelevant to the social order, an emotion is never viewed as a legitimate rationale for social action – emotional expression has no formal consequences. Therefore, emotions are expressed more freely, without regards to how the expressed emotion might affect social standing. Potter gives the example of a villager ranting in rage at an officer, without concern of retribution by the officer for this display. This is very different from our own cultural context, where shouting at an officer can land you in jail. The fundamental difference is that in one context the display of anger is not viewed as potentially changing the situation, and therefore is not viewed by the authority figure as threatening, whereas in the other context it is intended to produce some wanted result, which may be in conflict with the officer’s goal and requires the officer’s response.
Potter describes an interesting developmental implication of this alternate view of the role of individual emotional experience in social structure. In America, emotional displays of children are responded to immediately and therefore produce results for the child, whether they be positive or negative. Further, the response to children’s emotional displays are judgment-laden, such that expressions of frustration or temper elicit negative reactions from caregivers, and pleasant expressions elicit positive reactions. The child therefore learns two important lessons – first, that expressed emotions can guide actions of others and produce wanted or unwanted consequences; and second, that some emotions are inherently “bad” while others are inherently “good.” By contrast, because individual emotions are viewed as irrelevant to social structures in rural Chinese life, emotional displays by children are largely ignored, and are neither encouraged nor suppressed. Thus, the Chinese child learns a) emotional displays do not produce results from others, and b) emotions are neither good nor bad. It is this developmental perspective, I think, that the difference between our own view of individual emotion and the views of rural Chinese can be best understood.
In reading this article, I found it very difficult to disentangle individual emotional experience from interactions with the outside world, and found myself often questioning, “yes, but is it true that the internal emotions of the Chinese individual do not guide interactions at all??” Looking at it from this developmental perspective, however, Potter’s argument is easier to understand. It is likely the case that internal emotional experiences do indeed color individual experience in similar ways across cultures, but seeing the different results that emotional expressions produce between the two cultures offers a greater understanding of the different ways emotions might be used to interact with the social world and motivate behavior. If we view emotional experience as existing as a sort of feedback loop, then it is easy to see how different the perspective on emotion between the two cultures might be. This is interesting clinically as well. One of the more recent trends in the treatment of emotional disorders borrows directly from eastern (particularly Buddhist) tradition that encourages taking a non-judgmental stance towards emotional experiences. Potter’s article I think in some ways highlights one mechanism by which taking this non-judgmental, accepting stance might be particularly difficult for Westerners to adopt. An accepting stance towards emotional experiences requires to some extent loosing the connection between internal emotional experiences and their potential consequences, something that, following Potter’s arguments, might be particularly challenging for American’s to accomplish, and is something to bear in mind clinically.

Tsai, JL, Knutson, B., & Fung, HH (2006). Cultural variation in affect valuation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 288-307.

Tsai et al. present an interesting new theory of emotion that attempts to close the gap between what ethnographers and scientists have found in studying differences in emotion experience across cultures. The article begins by pointing out that while ethnographers by-and-large have reported wide variation in emotions across cultures, scientists have reported many similarities. They propose a new theory to account for this discrepancy – “affect valuation theory.” This theory posits that two forms of affect exist, “ideal affect,” or the affect individuals would like to experience or value highly, and “actual affect,” the affect people actually experience. They further suggest that ideal affect is more related to cultural factors, while actual affect is related to temperamental factors. They set out to study these hypotheses in two separate studies, and chose to explore these differences between two cultures who differ along the lines of individualism versus collectivism.
Study 1 was conducted in an undergraduate sample of European Americans (EA) and Asian Americans (AA). They posited that the EA group would value high arousal positive states (HAP), as these states are congruent with individualists need to act upon the environment to achieve individual goals. By contrast, they posited the AA group would value low-arousal positive states (LAP), congruent to a collectivist viewpoint with the goal of adjusting to the environment. Study 1 set out to demonstrate that 1) ideal affect differs from actual affect, and 2) culture influences pure ideal affect more than pure actual affect. Results a two-factor model of ideal and actual affect provided a better fit than a one factor model. Further, EA participants valued HAP more than AA participants. However, this study was unable to conclusively demonstrate the hypothesis that the difference between ideal and actual affect was mediated by individualism-collectivism and not by temperamental factors. Therefore, a second study was conducted to directly address this hypothesis. The sample in Study 2 included EA, Chinese-Americans (CA), and Chinese from Hong Kong. Results from this study lent further support to the two-factor model of affect. Results also showed that the EA group valued HAP more than both the CA and CH group, and that the CA and CH group valued LAP more. One further analysis was conducted to investigate the relationship between discrepancies in actual and ideal affect and depression. The discrepancy between actual and ideal HAP was significantly associated with depression in both EA and CA groups, but not CH groups. By contrast, the discrepancy between actual and ideal LAP was significantly associated with depression in the CA and CH groups, but not the EA groups. Finally, affective traits were found to be more strongly associated with actual affect than ideal affect. These findings lend support to the suggestion that discrepancies exist between how people feel and how they want to feel, and how they want to feel is influenced by cultural factors.
These studies, while focusing on cultural differences, also seem to have some clinical significance. For example, people with anxiety and mood disorders may report valuing positive emotions highly, in line with the American view that positive emotions are good and negative emotions are bad. However, clinical experience indicates that for many suffering mood and anxiety disorders, the actual experience of positive affect is experienced as aversive, often provoking further anxiety. Viewing this through an “ideal” versus “actual” affect distinction might be helpful in understanding this clinical discrepancy, and helps to highlight one potential reason for the low mood resulting from this discrepancy.

Wilkins, R., & Gareirs, E. (2006). Emotion expression and the locution “I love you”: A cross cultural study. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 30, 51-75.

In this study, the locution “I love you” was investigated along the following domains: a) when does it occur, b) with whom, c) in what language (native or non-native), d) about which topics, e)as part of what interactional sequences, and f) with what consequences. The study was conducted using an online survey enrolling undergraduates from a communications course. Results showed the locution was used most with lovers, followed by parents and grandparents and respective children and grandchildren. The expression was used rarely with siblings or cousins, and most often never with neighbors and coworkers. Males used it less frequently than females. Domestic students used it more frequently overall than international students, and were more likely to use it with parents and children. Non-verbal usage was more common with spouses. Non-native English speakers used the locution more often in English than in their native language. Further exploration was conducted using a qualitative questionnaire. Through this questionnaire, cultural differences emerged, that were by and large similar to the differences highlighted in the Potter article. Specifically, differences appeared to emerge based upon the consequences or the relationship between using the locution and maintaining social order, such that in cultures in which the expression of individual emotion has a direct bearing on relationships the expression was used more frequently than in cultures where expression has little or no bearing on the relationship. Cultures also differed on the weight of the phrase itself, with some cultures reserving it to only the most paramount circumstances, thereby preserving its special meaning, and others using it across multiple contexts of varying importance.
Because of the small sample size, it is hard to draw any specific conclusions about this study. Nevertheless, it lends further support to the idea that variations in emotion expression may be intricately woven within the specific social implications of that expression within the specific cultural context. At a much broader level, it speaks to the important interaction between affect, the cognitive interpretation of affect, and the consequences of that interpretation on behavior.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This week’s readings were extremely thought provoking (no pun intended), and in many ways a must read for clinical psychologists. In essence, each article argues for the elimination of the cognition/emotion distinction, providing evidence for the interaction and integration of emotion and cognition, and against the notion of cognition and emotion as separable constructs. The articles immediately brought to mind the current arguments put forth by some in the field against the utility of cognitive therapy – some have proposed deemphasizing cognitive reappraisal in treatments and a move towards more purely behavioral or experiential therapies. When considering the way information about the world and internal states is processed, however, it becomes clear that behavior, cognition, and emotion are so intricately intertwined that a lack of consideration for any one of these domains in therapy in effect results in only a partial picture of the patient’s experience. Each of these articles is summarized below.

1) Duncan, S., & Barrett, L.F. (2007). Affect is a form of cognition: A neurobiological analysis. Cognition and Emotion, 21, 1184-1211.

Duncan and Barret (2007) propose that, while there may be an argument for a phenomenological or functional distinction between cognition and emotion, this distinction should not be confused as an ontological. They begin by a discussion of core affect, which they describe as valence and arousal, and which acts as a “neurophysiologic barometer that sums up the individual’s relationship to the environment” (p. 1186), with self-reported feelings functioning as “barometer readings.” They argue that core affect is in effect core knowledge, and forms the core of conscious experience, serving the primary function of evaluating the potential somatovisceral impact of external stimuli and organizing behavior accordingly. They go on to demonstrate that in addition to subcortical structures traditionally implicated in affective processing (amygdala, ventral striatum, insula), structures traditionally viewed as cognitive (orbitofrontal cortex, ventromedial prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex) are integral in the computation of the value of stimuli and in coordinating visceral and motor responses. For example, while regions of the amygdala function to evaluate the predictive value of stimuli, the OFC functions to generate an appropriate response based upon that prediction. The article goes on to discuss how sensory processing is widely distributed throughout the brain via interconnected structures, using the example of the amygdala’s role in visual processing. The amygdala can influence visual processing indirectly through top-down control of attention via the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The amygdala can also directly enhance visual processing through reciprocal projections to the ventral visual stream, by modulating the intensity of neuronal firing. Finally, the amygdala can influence visual processing directly through connections with regions of the brainstem, in modulating the release of neurotransmitters that in turn enhance sensory processing. Further, Duncan & Barrett point out that core affective circuitry such as the amygdala, OFC, and VMPFC offer the only route by which sensory information reaches the brainstem and basal forebrain. A key way in which the amygdala modulates the processing of visual information is through heightened awareness of stimuli. In essence, the amygdala monitors the affective significance of stimuli, influencing both cortical control of attention and response generation and sensory processing. The authors point out that heightened activation of the amygdala seen anxiety and mood disorders appears to affect sensory processing leading to heightened sensitivity to affective information seen in these disorders. As such, disruptions in core affective circuitry have direct consequences for sensory processing. Sensory information that is deemed to have greater significance to the somatovisceral homeostasis of the individual is preferentially processed, in line with studies reported in Treat & Dirks (2007). Duncan and Barrett go on to demonstrate how core affect influences memory, consciousness, and language, all domains considered to be the domain of cognition. In sum, the article provides an argument for the inseparability of cognition and emotion, showing that all aspects of cognitive processing are integrated with the processing of affective information.

2) Pessoa, L. (2008). On the relationship between emotion and cognition.

Pessoa continues along a similar argument, using evidence from structural connectivity models to demonstrate the interrelationship between “cognitive” and “affective” regions. He argues that while distinctions between anatomical structures considered cognitive versus affective can be made, these structures are highly interconnected, evidencing a greater integration of cognitive and emotional processing than the reliance upon purely anatomical divisions can provide. In fact, following an analysis by Young and colleagues (2000), he suggests the amygdala acts as a central hub in a vast distributed network reaching nearly every region of the brain. He proposes a cognitive-affective control circuit for the processing of information reaching from cortical areas to the brainstem, comprised of the lateral PFC, the OFC, the anterior cingulate cortex, the amygdala, the nucleus accumbens, and the ventral tagmental area. He further proposes that behavior is the result of both affective and cognitive computations. He concludes by proposing we must go beyond looking at interactions between cognition and emotion, and instead consider how cognition and emotion are integrated (how each in effect constrains the other). In essence, Pessoa suggests we consider how both affective information (such as reward properties of stimuli) and cognitive information (such as perceptual processing, attention, and memory) are orchestrated to motivate behavior.

3) Thagard, P. (2008). How cognition meets emotion: Beliefs, desires, and feelings as neural activity. In G. Brun, U. Doguoglu & D. Kuenzle (Eds.), Epistemology and emotions. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Thagard takes a decidedly philosophical point of view, through which he argues for the inseparability of cognition and emotion in epistemology. He points out that traditionally epistemology has ignored emotion, and offers the counter viewpoint that the acquisition and expression of knowledge is inherently affective and therefore inherently emotional (to the extent that one knows something through evaluating the significance of that knowledge to themselves as an individual, or acquires knowledge based upon the motivation or desire to know something). He also argues against conventional views that mental states are propositional attitudes (relations between the self and a proposition), instead suggesting beliefs, desires, and emotions are the result of patterns of neural activity. While much of this article argues an alternative view of epistemology, one major point Thagard makes was well taken. Since knowledge and the acquisition of knowledge are inherently affective, the quest for knowledge and the way that knowledge is processed (perceived or understood) is influenced by the desires and goals of the seeker. This is an important consideration for anyone pursuing scientific knowledge. Given the evidence presented in the previous two papers about the affective influence on information processing, it is important to recognize that the pursuit of knowledge and the interpretation of that knowledge is always intertwined with our own individual beliefs and desires (ie affective motivation). Therefore, we are always operating within our own individual biases. Thus the importance of sharing and collaboration with peers in the quest for scientific knowledge!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Week 1: Contemporary cognitive science: New directions

1) Eliasmith, C. (2003). Moving beyond metaphors: Understanding the mind for what it is. Journal of Philosophy, 10, 493-520.

This article proposes a new theory to describe representation and dynamics in cognitive science. It begins with a very brief overview of the history of cognitive science and the predominant theories of cognitive systems: symbolicism, which relies upon the metaphor of mind as computer; connectionism, which relies on more “brain-style” models of processing, conceptualizing computation and representation as occurring through connected networks and nodes; and dynamicism, which argues that the mind is a physical, dynamic system whose state changes over time and whose functions cannot be viewed as discrete or static. According to the article, early accounts of cognitive systems, driven by behaviorism, were limited to the observable end products of thought (limited to inputs and outputs), whereas in the mid-1950s - with the aid of technological advances that produced computers and facilitated a working metaphor for cognitive processes - researchers began looking at internal states, internal processes, and internal representations to understand cognitive processes. As Eliasmith puts it, people began to peer “inside the black box.” The article goes on to suggest the metaphors provided through symbolic, connectionist, and dynamic accounts of cognitive processing, while all helpful analogies, may nevertheless be constraining how cognitive processes are understood. The author proposes a new theory, representation and dynamics in neural systems (R& D theory), inspired both by modern control theory and recent findings from neuroscience. The author suggests modern control theory, which considers internal system state variables in the processing of inputs and generation of outputs, “offers tools better-suited than computational theory for understanding biological systems as fundamentally physical, dynamic systems operating in changing, uncertain environments” (p.6). R& D theory is governed by three main principles: (1) that neural representations are the result of non-linear encoding and weighted linear decoding; (2) decoding is the result of transformations of neural representations carried out by connected populations of neurons, using linear decoding; and (3) “neural dynamics are characterized by considering neural representations as control theoretic state variables. Thus, the dynamics of neurobiological systems can be analyzed using control theory.” The remaining sections of the article provide support for the theory, and presents arguments for the utility of R & D theory above and beyond existing theories for explaining cognitive systems.

Given my limited knowledge thus far of existing theories of cognitive systems, this article in general was quite difficult for me to follow. While it provided a general account of existing theories, numerous references to key concepts relevant to the theories, about which I am unfamiliar, made it difficult at times to fully grasp some of the examples and explanations. I feel this article will be a good one to return to later down the road. Nevertheless, it was encouraging to read accounts of cognitive processing that line up with what I have learned so far about affective processing; specifically, that affect and cognition is best understood as the result of dynamic interactions between different levels of processing by interconnected brain regions. I look forward to re-reading this article when I have had a chance to digest a bit more of the cognitive literature.

2) Treat, T.A., & Dirks, M.A. (2007). Bridging clinical and cognitive science. In T.A. Treat, R.R. Bootzin, and T.B. Baker (Eds), Psychological clinical science: Papers in honor of Richard McFall. New York: Taylor & Francis Group.

In this article, Treat & Dirks extol the virtues of taking an interdisciplinary approach towards understanding the role of cognition in psychopathology. They discuss the limits of applying research paradigms from cognitive science directly towards answering clinical questions, and the shortcomings of staying within disciplinary boundaries when trying to extend cognitive science to clinical problems, such as through the use of cognitive therapy. They propose a new, integrated approach called “quantitative clinical-cognitive science.” The article goes on to summarize recent studies using this approach, in which the perceptual organization of two clinical populations is investigated. The studies cited each investigated specific differences in the processing of visual information, exploring whether processing was influenced in a disorder-specific manner. For example, using photographs of normatively heavy and normatively thin women with either sad or happy facial expressions, participants were ask to rate two photographs according to how similar they were. Participants who had endorsed bulimic symptoms consistently rated similarity according to body type, disregarding affective information. The same held true in a memory recognition task, where participants endorsing clinically significant eating disorder symptoms had better memory for body shape than affective information. Similar disorder-specific perceptual processing was found in a sample of college men who perceived unwanted sexual advances to be justified. When shown photographs of women who were or were not wearing revealing clothing and varied in facial expressions of affect, participants judged photographs as similar based upon dress and not affect, and demonstrated greater memory for information about physical appearance than facial expressions. The article suggests that attention should be paid to specific types of cognitive processing biases, and that perhaps by understanding disorder or individual-specific deficits in the processing of information we can develop cognitive therapies that more directly target these deficits. Further, the article suggests that research paradigms pay closer attention to tapping into these individual differences in processing when studying clinical phenomena. This suggestion is not only sound, but opens up a new and important approach to investigating how distorted cognitions might fuel psychopathology. For example, it is increasingly apparent that the way in which information is taken in and interpreted can affect both affective and behavioral responding. By understanding how information is being distorted in psychopathology, his way might enable more finely-tuned cognitive therapies that target core processes, rather than general deficits.

3) Thagard, P. (2005). Being interdisciplinary: Trading zones in cognitive science. In S.J. Derry, C.D. Schunn & M. A. Gernsbacher (Eds.), Interdisciplinary collaboration: An emerging cognitive science (pp. 317-339). Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.

This article in general extols the virtues of cognitive science as an interdisciplinary science, recounting the history of both people and places integral to its formation. Thagard discusses how bringing together philosophers, linguists, psychologists, and computer scientists has contributed towards expanding ideas and conceptualizations about how the mind works. He also discusses how the field of cognitive science could not have evolved without the support of forward thinking institutions that allowed the such things as Carnegie Mellon’s early support of a joint appointment in psychology and computer science, as well as joint degrees. He notes early work of many of cognitive science’s “pioneers,” such as Noam Chomsky’s work on linguistics, George Miller’s “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two,” and Marvin Minsky, Allen Newell, and Herbert Simon’s work in artificial intelligence. Thagard summarizes by saying the success of cognitive science lies with the establishment of these “fertile trading zones,” in which various disciplines and institutions have come together to share ideas and inform each other. It is through these collaborations that knowledge has flourished. In essence, it appears cognitive science provides a good example of how sharing knowledge across disciplinary boundaries can serve to advance our knowledge well beyond what is gleaned by sticking to our borders, a lesson clinical psychology would benefit from learning, and has begun to do so with growing collaborations between clinical psychology, neuroscience, and social cognition.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Cognitive Science Directed Study

Fall 2008

Syllabus and Reading List

Text: Thagard, P. (2008). Hot Thought: Mechanisms and applications of emotional cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Link here to TOC:


Discussion of readings due each week as an electronic posting to a website (e.g., blog) created for this purpose using a service like wordpress or blogspot. The student, Kristen Ellard, will summarize the reading, provide a comment, and note what questions remain unanswered, and pose some questions for readers to the blog that can relate to their personal experience. Kristen will advertize the blog to science/psychology sites and will respond to comments by readers. [Note: we do not expect many readers; but if there are, then her responses can be selective.] Grading will be based on quality of Kristen’s blog postings (40%) and final paper (60%)

Term paper due at the end of the semester on a topic related to cognitive science and approved by instructor.

Week 1: Contemporary cognitive science: New directions

Eliasmith, C. (2003). Moving beyond metaphors: Understanding the mind for what it is. Journal of Philosophy, 10, 493-520.

Treat, T.A., & Dirks, M.A. (2007). Bridging clinical and cognitive science. In T.A. Treat, R.R. Bootzin, and T.B. Baker (Eds), Psychological clinical science: Papers in honor of Richard McFall. New York: Taylor & Francis Group.

Thagard, P. (2005). Being interdisciplinary: Trading zones in cognitive science. In S.J. Derry, C.D. Schunn & M. A. Gernsbacher (Eds.), Interdisciplinary collaboration: An emerging cognitive science (pp. 317-339). Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Week 2: Basic research on Cognition and emotion

Text Ch 4, Ch 10

Duncan, S., & Barrett, L.F. (2007). Affect is a form of cognition: A neurobiological analysis. Cognition and Emotion, 21, 1184-1211.

Pessoa, L. (2008). On the relationship between emotion and cognition.

Thagard, P. (2008). How cognition meets emotion: Beliefs, desires, and feelings as neural activity. In G. Brun, U. Doguoglu & D. Kuenzle (Eds.), Epistemology and emotions. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Week 3: Culture, language, cognition and affect

Text Ch 10, Ch 12

Potter, S. (1988). The cultural construction of emotion in rural Chinese social life. Ethos, 16, 181–208.

Tsai, JL, Knutson, B., & Fung, HH (2006). Cultural variation in affect valuation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 288-307.

Wilkins, R., & Gareirs, E. (2006). Emotion expression and the locution “I love you”: A cross cultural study. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 30, 51-75.

Week 4: Special Topic: Affect and language

Harris, C.L., Gleason, J.B.,& Aycicegi, A. (2006). When is a first language more emotional? Psychophysiological evidence from bilingual speakers. In A. Pavlenko (Ed.), Bilingual minds: Emotional experience, expression, and representation. Clevedon, United Kingdom: Mulilingual Matters.

Readings TBD

Week 5: Language Acquisition and Processing

Hernandez, A.E., & Li, P. (2007). Age of acquisition: It’s neural and computational mechanisms. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 638-650.

Christiansen, M.H., & Chater, N. (in press). Constituency and recursion in language.

Jia, G., Aaronson, D., Wu, Y. (2002). Long-term language attainment of bilingual immigrants: Predictive variables and language group differences. Applied Psycholinguistics, 23, 599-621.

Additional text readings TBD

Week 6: Computational models of cognition and affect

Text Ch 1, Ch 7

Thagard, P. (2005). Representation and computation. In P. Thagard (Ed). Mind, 2nd Ed. (pp. 3-22). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Wagar, B. M., & Thagard, P. (2004). Spiking Phineas Gage: A neurocomputational theory of cognitive-affective integration in decision making. Psychological Review, 111, 67-79.

Week 7: Consciousness

Thagard, P., & Aubie, B. (in press). Emotional consciousness: A neural model of how cognitive appraisal and somatic perception interact to produce qualitative experience. Consciousness and Cognition.

Srinivasan, N. (2008). Interdependence of attention and consciousness. Progress in Brain Research, 168, 65-75.

Week 8& 9: Reasoning and problem solving

Text Ch 2, Ch 15

Litt, A., Eliasmith, C., & Thagard, P. (forthcoming). Neural affective decision theory: Choices, brains, and emotions. Cognitive Systems Research.

Evans, J.S.T.B. (2003). In two minds: Dual process accounts of reasoning. Trends in Cognitive Science, 7, 454-459.

Thagard, P. (2007). Abductive inference: From philosophical analysis to neural mechanisms. In A. Feeney & E. Heit (Eds.), Inductive reasoning: Experimental, developmental, and computational approaches (pp. 226-247). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Additional readings TBD: Neural correlates of deficits in decision making

Week 10: Social cognition

Text Ch. 5

Jackendoff, R. (2003). An agenda for a theory of social cognition. In R. Jackendoff (Author), Language, consciousness, culture: Essays on mental structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Beer, J.S., Shimamura, A. P., & Knight, R. T. (2004). Frontal lobe contributions to executive control of cognitive and social behavior. In Gazzaniga, M.S. (Ed.), The cognitive neurosciences III (pp. 1091-1104). Cambridge, MA : MIT Press.

Ochsner, K. N. (2007). Social Cognitive Neuroscience: Historical Development, Core Principles, and Future Promise. In Kruglanksi, A., & Higgins, E. T. (Eds.). Social Psychology: A Handbook of Basic Principles (pp. 39-66). 2nd Ed. New York: Guilford Press.

Week 11: Implications of basic research for clinical pscyhology

Treat, T. & Dirks, M. (2007). Integrating clinical and cognitive science.

Ochsner, K. (2008). The social-emotional processing stream: Five core constructs and their translational potential for schizophrenia and beyond.

Ochsner, K. & Gross, J.J. (2008). Cognitive emotion regulation.

Additional readings TBD – Further readings on cognition in psychopathology

Sunday, September 7, 2008


This blog will contain weekly comments on readings for a directed study in cognitive and affective science.