Our research activities focus on interaction effects between cognition and emotion in the human brain, and more specifically on mood or affect-related changes of specific cognitive functions, including selective attention and performance monitoring. Besides standard behavioral/psychophysical methods (such as accuracy or reaction time), we use extensively a wide range of EEG (electro-encephalography) and psychophysiological tools in the cap-lab to explore brain correlates and changes occurring as a function of specific affective states (anxiety, stress, or conversely happy mood) during information processing and task execution.
Selective attention is a very important cognitive process enabling to select and attend to relevant information in the environment, including external stimuli or inner thoughts or bodily signals. It also helps suppress or remove distracting information. These processes are strongly influenced by mood and affect. In this research line, we seek to better characterize and understand effects of mood or affect on specific attention processes.
Neuro-anatomical model of emotional attention (see Pourtois et al., 2013 for details)
Performance monitoring enables the swift detection of mismatches between actions and goals or intentions. It includes error and conflict processing. Once detected, specific adjustements or remedial processes are triggered (e.g., enhanced attention and control) to overcome the repetition of these worse than expected events, or prepare the organism to cope with them better the next time they will occur. Interestingly, these processes, albeit rapid and seemingly automatic, are readily shaped by the current mood state of the participant. In this research line, we aim at exploring these dynamic changes in performance monitoring processes resulting from alterations in the mood state or homeostasis of the participant.
Neuro-anatomical model of performance monitoring (see Koban & Pourtois, 2014 for details)
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