EMOTIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS: A NEURAL MODEL OF HOW COGNITIVE APPRAISAL AND SOMATIC PERCEPTION INTERACT TO PRODUCE QUALITATIVE EXPERIENCE

Speaker: Paul Thagard

This talk proposes a theory of how conscious emotional experience is produced by the brain as the result of many interacting brain areas coordinated in working memory. These brain areas integrate perceptions of bodily states of an organism with cognitive appraisals of its current situation. Emotions are neural processes that represent the overall cognitive and somatic state of the organism. Conscious experience arises when neural representations achieve high activation as part of working memory. This theory explains numerous phenomena concerning emotional consciousness, including differentiation, integration, intensity, valence, and change.