Emotions are critical to the bio-cognitive cycle and drive our attention, meaning, learning, and memory.
How do emotions influence learning, memory, attention, and meaning?
What is the specific role of emotions in learning and memory?
What part(s) of the brain are impacted by emotions?
First, let's focus on the parts of the brain impacted by emotion. According to an article at ASCD.org titled How Emotions Affect Learning (reference at the bottom), the parts of the brain that are affected by emotion include,
- The finger size brain stem at the base of our brain and the limbic system structures surrounding it focus inward on our survival, emotional, and nurturing needs. The brain stem monitors involuntary activity, like breathing.
- The cerebral cortex, which regulates higher functions, addresses our interactions with the external world (Edelman 1992)
The limbic system is the brain's main regulator for emotion. It interprets and directs emotion and behavior, The cerebral cortex has 3 major functions:
1. receives, categorizes, and interprets sensory information;
2. makes rational decisions; and
3. activates behavioral responses.
- There is also a functional correlation between the emotional influences on attention and memory is consistent with the underlying neuroanatomy, because the amygdala has a central role in both processes. (http://learnmem.cshlp.org/content/15/3/172.full) The brain region most strongly implicated in emotional memory is the amygdala . The amygdala is critically involved in calculating the emotional significance of events, and, through its connection to brain regions dealing with sensory experiences, also appears to be responsible for the influence of emotion on perception - alerting us to notice emotionally significant events even when we're ...
Discusses what the bio-cognitive cycle is and how emotions play a part in that cycle.