CogSci Colloquium Talk: Emotion-attention interactions

Prof. Narayanan Srinivasan

Professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur

Title: Emotion-attention interactions
Date: Saturday, 21st of August, 2021
Time: 5:00 pm (IST)

Recently multiple studies have shown that emotions reciprocally interact with cognitive processes, more specifically attentional processes. Attention, more specifically cuing, has been shown to improve performance with emotional stimuli. I will present results indicating that cuing also influences emotion appearance (intensity). It has been argued that positive emotions are associated with broad scope of attention and negative emotions with narrow scope of attention. Under conditions of distributed attention, happy emotional expressions are processed better and faces with happy expressions are better remembered. Similarly, under conditions of focused attention, sad emotional expressions are better processed and faces with sad expressions are better remembered. Emotional expressions also prime global-local processing and vice versa indicating reciprocal interactions. One argument against the valence-based explanations of the scope of attention interaction with emotions is motivation. I will discuss the failure to replicate an earlier reported result linking sad emotions with local processing using primarily sad emotional scenes. In cases of temporal attention, using attentional blink we show a positive face advantage contrary to earlier results in the literature. The results indicate that there is substantial evidence for linking broad spatial and narrow temporal scope of attention with positive emotional processing and vice versa with negative emotional processing.

About the Speaker
Prof. Narayanan Srinivasan is presently Professor and Head at the Department of Cognitive Science, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur after heading the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the
University of Allahabad for several years. Prof. Srinivasan has wide ranging interests in cognitive science including areas such as consciousness, emotion and cognition, mindfulness, decision making and creativity. In his work he has used multiple approaches to study mental processes. Prof. Srinivasan is a fellow of the National Academy of Psychology, Association for
Psychological Science and Psychonomic Society and  is the Convenor of the Cognitive
Division of the National Academy of Psychology (India).