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Think of two different scenarios. In both scenarios the subject is looking at emotional images, but in the first one emotional stimuli "interfere" with the behaviour, while in the second one emotionali stimuli are related to his/her goal.

In the scenario A the subject looks at emotional images but is not focused on the emotional content (for example, his/her task is to pay attention to the size of the image).

In the scenario B the subject looks at emotional images and is focused on the emotional content (for example, his/her task is to rate the image).

Which psychological processes would you think are most different between the two scenarios? In which way the brain is differentially affected by this "emotional interference", in your opinion?

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi smndpln, welcome at CogSci and what an interesting question! This difference you describe is often used in Neuroscientific experiments when they intend to investigate emotional responses. Scenario A is often the control task, with which they can compare brain activity, for instance, with the brain activity during Scenario B. I'm not sure of an answer, but I bet someone here is $\endgroup$ – Robin Kramer Apr 4 '17 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ Any task-irrelevant distractor could interfere with task-relevant behavior. Are you supposing that interference would be different for an emotional vs. non-emotional distractor? $\endgroup$ – mrt Apr 6 '17 at 2:01
  • $\begingroup$ @mrt Sure, it is different. My question is about the psycho-physiological processes which are affected by this effect. $\endgroup$ – smndpln Apr 6 '17 at 8:53
  • $\begingroup$ I think what you're looking for is Hot Cognition: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_cognition "... hot cognition is cognition coloured by emotion ... proposed to be associated with cognitive and physiological arousal ..." There is also an example: "When presented with neutral content, this will typically lead to the exhibition of the belief-bias effect. In contrast, content that is emotionally charged will result in a diminished likelihood of beliefs having an influence." $\endgroup$ – Arnon Weinberg Apr 9 '17 at 17:00
  • $\begingroup$ @ArnonWeinberg thanks. I think it is difficult to establish the real "hotness" in this case. My opinion is that in the scenario A the cold-hot effect relies on the psychological background of the individual, while the scenario B forces the effect to be hot. What do you think? $\endgroup$ – smndpln Apr 10 '17 at 10:21

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