The scientific study of emotion faces a potentially serious problem: after over a hundred years of psychological study, we lack consensus regarding the very definition of emotion. We propose that part of the problem may be the tendency to define emotion in contrast to cognition, rather than viewing both “emotion” and “cognition” as being comprised of more elemental processes. We argue that considering emotion as a type of cognition (viewed broadly as information processing) may provide an understanding of the mechanisms underlying domains that are traditionally thought to be qualitatively distinct.
Man, V., Nohlen, H.U., Melo, H., & Cunningham, W.A. (2017). Hierarchical Brain Systems Support Multiple Representations of Valence and Mixed Affect. Emotion Review, 1-9.
Stillman, P., Van Bavel, J. J., & Cunningham, W. A. (2015). Valence asymmetries in the human amygdala: Task relevance modulates amygdala responses cues. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27, 842–851.
Cunningham, W. A., Dunfield, K. A., & Stillman, P. (2013). Emotional states from affective dynamics. Emotion Review, 5, 344–355.
Kirkland, T. & Cunningham, W. A. (2012). Mapping Emotions through Time: How Affective Trajectories Inform the Language of Emotion. Emotion, 12, 268–282.