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Emotion and Aging: Recent Evidence from Brain and Behavior

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194254 Year: Pages: 164 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-425-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Psychology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Emotions play a central role in every human life, from the moment we are born until we die. They prepare the body for action, guide decisions, and highlight what should be noticed and remembered. Since emotions are central to daily functioning and well-being, it is important to understand the extent to which aging affects the perception of, attention to, memory for, as well as experience and regulation of emotions. An early scientific view of how people's emotions are affected by aging argued that aging led to a deterioration of emotional function. This theory, represented by for example Carl Jung (1875-1961), claimed that old age is a period of life when people feel an increased emotional sameness and less emotional energy. According to this scientific view, the aging emotional landscape was bleached, barren, and flattened. Current psychological research, however, shows that emotion is rather a psychological domain that is relatively unaffected by the aging process or even improves with age, in contrast to most cognitive functions. For example, even though there is evidence that aging is associated with deficits in emotion recognition, various emotional functions seem to remain intact or become better with age, such as the ability to regulate one’s emotions or the extent of experiencing positive emotions. However, more research is needed to determine brain and behavior related, quantitative and qualitative age-related changes of different aspects of emotion processing and emotional functioning. In the current Frontiers research topic we aim to present exciting new findings related to the effects of healthy aging on both more perceptually driven bottom-up as well as more cognitively driven top-down aspects of emotions. In particular, questions such as the following need to be raised and addressed: What neural and behavioral processes are underlying age differences in emotion perception and memory for emotional information? Are there differences between how older and younger adults experience and regulate their emotions, and what drives these differences? Is there a gradual reduction or more of a qualitative change of our emotional experiences over the life cycle, from the turbulent childhood and youth to the mellower old age? And what aspects of age-related changes in emotional processing can be explained by age-related changes in the brain, and which are more affected by other factors such as changes in other body systems, in experiential processes, or in overall life goals?

Current Research and Emerging Directions in Emotion-Cognition Interactions

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889194384 Year: Pages: 740 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-438-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General) --- Psychology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-01-19 14:05:46
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Emotion can impact various aspects of our cognition and behavior, by enhancing or impairing them (e.g., enhanced attention to and memory for emotional events, or increased distraction produced by goal-irrelevant emotional information). On the other hand, emotion processing is also susceptible to cognitive influences, typically exerted in the form of cognitive control of motion, or emotion regulation. Despite important recent progress in understanding emotion- cognition interactions, a number of aspects remain unclear. The present book comprises a collection of manuscripts discussing emerging evidence regarding the mechanisms underlying emotion- cognition interactions in healthy functioning and alterations associated with clinical conditions, in which such interactions are dysfunctional. Initiated with a more restricted focus, targeting (1) identification and in depth analysis of the circumstances in which emotion enhances or impairs cognition and (2)identification of the role of individual differences in these effects, our book has emerged into a comprehensive collection of outstanding contributions investigating emotion-cognition interactions, based on approaches spanning from behavioral and lesion to pharmacological and brain imaging, and including empirical, theoretical, and review papers alike.Co-hosted by the Frontiers in Neuroscience - Integrative Neuroscience and Frontiers in Psychology - Emotion Science, the contributions comprising our book and the associated research topic are grouped around the following seven main themes, distributed across the two hosting journals: I. Emotion and Selectivity in Attention and Memory; II. The Impact of Emotional Distraction; Linking Enhancing and Impairing Effects of Emotion; III. What Really is the Role of the Amygdala?; IV. Age Differences in Emotion Processing; The Role of Emotional Valence; V. Affective Face Processing, Social Cognition, and Personality Neuroscience; VI. Stress, Mood, Emotion, and the Prefrontal Cortex; The Role of Control in the Stress Response; VII. Emotion-Cognition Interactions in Clinical Conditions.As illustrated by the present collection of contributions, emotion-cognition interactions can be identified at different levels of processing, from perception and attention to long- term memory, decision making processes, and social cognition and behavior. Notably, these effects are subject to individual differences that may affect the way we perceive, experience, and remember emotional experiences, or cope with emotionally challenging situations. Moreover, these opposing effects tend to co-occur in affective disorders, such as depression and PTSD, where uncontrolled recollection of and rumination on distressing memories also lead to impaired cognition due to emotional distraction. Understanding the nature and neural mechanisms of these effects is critical, as their exacerbation and co-occurrence in clinical conditions lead to devastating effects and debilitation. Hence, bringing together such diverse contributions has allowed not only an integrative understanding of the current extant evidence but also identification of emerging directions and concrete venues for future investigations.

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