Special Issue "Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition"

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A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Heather C. Lench (Website)

Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, 4235 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4235, USA
Interests: emotion; affect; optimism; affective forecasting; cognition

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Emotion, behavior and cognition are interdependent, each exerting a powerful influence on the others. Functional perspectives, based on the idea that certain mental states evolved to meet environmental demands, have the potential to unify our understanding of emotion, behavior, and cognition as serving goals within particular environments. This special issue will explore the connections among emotion, behavior, and cognition from a functional perspective. Examples of topics appropriate for this special issue would include theoretical or empirical papers that address functional theories from a historical perspective, the impact of emotional states on functional behavior or cognition, or the influence of evolved or adaptive cognitive states on behavior or emotion. Papers that examine the interplay among emotion, behavior and cognition in a particular subject area, such as attitudes, relationships, memory, or psychiatric disorders, would also be an excellent fit. This special issue aims to examine the interplay among emotion, behavior, and cognition and will include papers that address two or more of these aspects.

Dr. Heather C. Lench
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Behavioral Sciences is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • emotion
  • affect
  • cognition
  • behavior
  • functional theory
  • evolutionary theory

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition
Behav. Sci. 2013, 3(4), 536-540; doi:10.3390/bs3040536
Received: 26 September 2013 / Revised: 28 September 2013 / Accepted: 29 September 2013 / Published: 1 October 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (32 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This Editorial reviews the challenges and advantages posed by a functional perspective on the relationships among emotion, behavior, and cognition. We identify the core themes among the articles published as part of this Special Issue. The articles generally address two important questions: [...] Read more.
This Editorial reviews the challenges and advantages posed by a functional perspective on the relationships among emotion, behavior, and cognition. We identify the core themes among the articles published as part of this Special Issue. The articles generally address two important questions: (1) are emotions functional and what is their impact on behavioral and cognitive processes, and (2) how do the interactions among emotion, cognition, and behavior play out in particular situations that present adaptive challenges? We also identify two core questions raised by the articles included in this Special Issue. Future research must address the extent to which emotions are best represented as discrete emotional constructs (e.g., anger, sadness, fear) versus emotions that vary along dimensions, such as valence and arousal. Functional perspectives would also be facilitated by identification of situations or environments that are likely to elicit particular emotions and reactions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition)

Research

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Open AccessArticle On the Evolution and Optimality of Mood States
Behav. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 501-521; doi:10.3390/bs3030501
Received: 5 June 2013 / Accepted: 31 July 2013 / Published: 26 August 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (380 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Moods can be regarded as fluctuating dispositions to make positive and negative evaluations. Developing an evolutionary approach to mood as an adaptive process, we consider the structure and function of such states in guiding behavioural decisions regarding the acquisition of resources and [...] Read more.
Moods can be regarded as fluctuating dispositions to make positive and negative evaluations. Developing an evolutionary approach to mood as an adaptive process, we consider the structure and function of such states in guiding behavioural decisions regarding the acquisition of resources and the avoidance of harm in different circumstances. We use a drift diffusion model of decision making to consider the information required by individuals to optimise decisions between two alternatives, such as whether to approach or withdraw from a stimulus that may be life enhancing or life threatening. We show that two dimensions of variation (expectation and preparedness) are sufficient for such optimal decisions to be made. These two dispositional dimensions enable individuals to maximize the overall benefits of behavioural decisions by modulating both the choice made (e.g., approach/withdraw) and decision speed. Such a structure is compatible with circumplex models of subjectively experienced mood and core affect, and provides testable hypotheses concerning the relationships that occur between valence and arousal components of mood in differing ecological niches. The paper is therefore a useful step toward being able to predict moods (and the effect of moods) using an optimality approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition)
Open AccessArticle Explaining Differential Reporting of Victimization between Parents and Children: A Consideration of Social Biases
Behav. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 473-491; doi:10.3390/bs3030473
Received: 27 June 2013 / Revised: 31 July 2013 / Accepted: 2 August 2013 / Published: 16 August 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (218 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Studies have shown that children and parents provide different reports of children’s victimization, with children often reporting more victimization. However, the reason for this differential reporting is unclear. This study explored two types of social biases (emotion recognition and perceived impairment) in [...] Read more.
Studies have shown that children and parents provide different reports of children’s victimization, with children often reporting more victimization. However, the reason for this differential reporting is unclear. This study explored two types of social biases (emotion recognition and perceived impairment) in parents and children as possible reasons underlying differential reporting. Six- to 10-year-old children and one of their parents were tested in a lab. Testing included subjective measures of parent alexithymic traits, child perceived impairment from victimization, and child- and parent-reported frequency of children’s peer victimization and internalizing and externalizing difficulties. Parents and children also completed an objective measure of emotion recognition. Both types of social bias significantly predicted reports of children’s peer victimization frequency as well as internalizing and externalizing difficulties, as rated by parents and children. Moreover, child perceived impairment bias, rather than parent emotion bias, best predicted differential reporting of peer victimization. Finally, a significant interaction demonstrated that the influence of child perceived impairment bias on differential reporting was most salient in the presence of parent emotion bias. This underscores the importance of expanding interventions for victimized youth to include the restructuring of social biases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition)
Open AccessArticle Emotional Verbal Fluency: A New Task on Emotion and Executive Function Interaction
Behav. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 372-387; doi:10.3390/bs3030372
Received: 3 May 2013 / Revised: 21 June 2013 / Accepted: 24 June 2013 / Published: 12 July 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (359 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present study introduces “Emotional Verbal Fluency” as a novel (partially computerized) task, which is aimed to investigate the interaction between emotionally loaded words and executive functions. Verbal fluency tasks are thought to measure executive functions but the interaction with emotional aspects [...] Read more.
The present study introduces “Emotional Verbal Fluency” as a novel (partially computerized) task, which is aimed to investigate the interaction between emotionally loaded words and executive functions. Verbal fluency tasks are thought to measure executive functions but the interaction with emotional aspects is hardly investigated. In the current study, a group of healthy subjects (n = 21, mean age 25 years, 76% females) were asked to generate items that are either part of a semantic category (e.g., plants, toys, vehicles; standard semantic verbal fluency) or can trigger the emotions joy, anger, sadness, fear and disgust. The results of the task revealed no differences between performance on semantic and emotional categories, suggesting a comparable task difficulty for healthy subjects. Hence, these first results on the comparison between semantic and emotional verbal fluency seem to highlight that both might be suitable for examining executive functioning. However, an interaction was found between the category type and repetition (first vs. second sequence of the same category) with larger performance decrease for semantic in comparison to emotional categories. Best performance overall was found for the emotional category “joy” suggesting a positivity bias in healthy subjects. To conclude, emotional verbal fluency is a promising approach to investigate emotional components in an executive task, which may stimulate further research, especially in psychiatric patients who suffer from emotional as well as cognitive deficits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition)
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Precaution and Practice on the Performance of a Risky Motor Task
Behav. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 316-329; doi:10.3390/bs3030316
Received: 15 April 2013 / Revised: 14 June 2013 / Accepted: 18 June 2013 / Published: 26 June 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (350 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The association between threat perception and motor execution, mediated by evolved precaution systems, often results in ritual-like behavior, including many idiosyncratic acts that seem irrelevant to the task at hand. This study tested the hypothesis that threat-detection during performance of a risky [...] Read more.
The association between threat perception and motor execution, mediated by evolved precaution systems, often results in ritual-like behavior, including many idiosyncratic acts that seem irrelevant to the task at hand. This study tested the hypothesis that threat-detection during performance of a risky motor task would result in idiosyncratic activity that is not necessary for task completion. We asked biology students to follow a particular set of instructions in mixing three solutions labeled “bio-hazardous” and then repeat this operation with “non-hazardous” substances (or vice versa). We observed a longer duration of the overall performance, a greater repertoire of acts, longer maximal act duration, and longer mean duration of acts in the “risky” task when it was performed before the “non-risky” task. Some, but not all, of these differences were eliminated when a “non-risky” task preceded the “risky” one. The increased performance of idiosyncratic unnecessary activity is in accordance with the working hypothesis of the present study: ritualized idiosyncratic activities are performed in response to a real or illusionary threat, as a means to alleviate anxiety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition)
Open AccessArticle The Reality Monitoring Deficit as a Common Neuropsychological Correlate of Schizophrenic and Affective Psychosis
Behav. Sci. 2013, 3(2), 244-252; doi:10.3390/bs3020244
Received: 5 February 2013 / Revised: 11 April 2013 / Accepted: 29 April 2013 / Published: 3 May 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For many decades, Neuropsychological functioning has been a key point in the study of psychotic disorders. The main aim of these studies is to give a description of the neurocognitive “profile” of schizophrenia, with only little attention being paid to the common [...] Read more.
For many decades, Neuropsychological functioning has been a key point in the study of psychotic disorders. The main aim of these studies is to give a description of the neurocognitive “profile” of schizophrenia, with only little attention being paid to the common and discriminating features of different psychotic disorders. Recent studies support the hypothesis that patients affected by psychiatric disorders with psychotic symptoms have specific abnormalities of reality testing of ongoing perception, which become evident with source monitoring task. Ninety-eight patients and 50 controls were studied. Patients were divided by diagnosis and previous history of psychotic features and were administered Source Monitoring Task to test reality testing of ongoing perception. Frequencies of correct and false attributions were recorded. To obtain measures of observer sensitivity and response biases, a signal detection analysis was performed. Aims: Studying neuropsychological correlate of psychosis in euthymic mood disordered patients and patients with schizophrenia with or without delusions. Results: Patients with psychotic features use more lax criteria in evaluating self-generated, but not perceived stimuli compared to patients without psychotic features. Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis of selective biases in reality monitoring as neuropsychological correlates of psychosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition)

Review

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Open AccessReview On the Function of Boredom
Behav. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 459-472; doi:10.3390/bs3030459
Received: 16 June 2013 / Revised: 3 August 2013 / Accepted: 8 August 2013 / Published: 15 August 2013
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (204 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Boredom is frequently considered inconsequential and has received relatively little research attention. We argue that boredom has important implications for human functioning, based on emotion theory and empirical evidence. Specifically, we argue that boredom motivates pursuit of new goals when the previous [...] Read more.
Boredom is frequently considered inconsequential and has received relatively little research attention. We argue that boredom has important implications for human functioning, based on emotion theory and empirical evidence. Specifically, we argue that boredom motivates pursuit of new goals when the previous goal is no longer beneficial. Exploring alternate goals and experiences allows the attainment of goals that might be missed if people fail to reengage. Similar to other discrete emotions, we propose that boredom has specific and unique impacts on behavior, cognition, experience and physiology. Consistent with a broader argument that boredom encourages the behavioral pursuit of alternative goals, we argue that, while bored, attention to the current task is reduced, the experience of boredom is negative and aversive, and that boredom increases autonomic arousal to ready the pursuit of alternatives. By motivating desire for change from the current state, boredom increases opportunities to attain social, cognitive, emotional and experiential stimulation that could have been missed. We review the limited extant literature to support these claims, and call for more experimental boredom research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition)
Open AccessReview Applying Evolutionary Thinking to the Study of Emotion
Behav. Sci. 2013, 3(3), 388-407; doi:10.3390/bs3030388
Received: 3 June 2013 / Revised: 3 July 2013 / Accepted: 8 July 2013 / Published: 17 July 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (278 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper argues for invoking evolutionary, functional thinking in analyzing emotions. It suggests that the fitness needs of normal individuals be kept in mind when trying to understand emotional behavior. This point of view is elaborated in sections addressing these topics: defining [...] Read more.
This paper argues for invoking evolutionary, functional thinking in analyzing emotions. It suggests that the fitness needs of normal individuals be kept in mind when trying to understand emotional behavior. This point of view is elaborated in sections addressing these topics: defining emotion; applying comparative analysis to the study of emotions; focusing on the elicitors and resulting motivated behaviors mediated by the various affects; recognizing that not all emotions have prominent, distinct facial expressions; acknowledging all of the basic emotions and not just some exemplars; crediting the more sensible Cannon-Bard theory over James-Lange; recognizing the more ancient, fundamental role of the limbic system in emotion compared with that of the neocortex; and analyzing socio-emotional interactions as they occur naturally, not just individual emotional behavior studied under artificial conditions. Describing the various facets and neuroendocrine mechanisms of each basic emotion can provide a framework for understanding the normal and pathological development of each emotion. Such an inventory, or ethogram, would provide a comprehensive list of all of the observable behavioral tendencies of our species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion, Behavior, and Cognition)

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