Cognitive & Behavioural Neuroscience Seminar - Understanding Emotional Actions

Our emotions guide our actions. This can be beneficial, for example when fear induces quick avoidance from threatening situations, or detrimental when it leads to social isolation in highly anxious individuals. Emotional behaviour is shaped by an interaction of emotional action biases, goal-directed action plans and control thereof. In this talk I will highlight the influence of those processes on emotional actions. I will present a line of studies employing emotional approach-avoidance paradigms to assess the neural and behavioural computations underlying emotional actions. I will focus on data from healthy participants, as well as populations with high aggression and anxiety problems. I will show how a distinct neural network of anterior prefrontal cortex – amygdala interactions underlies control of emotional actions. A change within the functioning of this network is related to several affective disorders and might underlie reactive aggressive problems.