Affect is a form of cognition: A neurobiological analysis

Cognition and Emotion 21 (6):1184-1211 (2007)
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Abstract

In this paper, we suggest that affect meets the traditional definition of “cognition” such that the affect–cognition distinction is phenomenological, rather than ontological. We review how the affect–cognition distinction is not respected in the human brain, and discuss the neural mechanisms by which affect influences sensory processing. As a result of this sensory modulation, affect performs several basic “cognitive” functions. Affect appears to be necessary for normal conscious experience, language fluency, and memory. Finally, we suggest that understanding the differences between affect and cognition will require systematic study of how the phenomenological distinction characterising the two comes about, and why such a distinction is functional.

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