POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE EMOTION INDUCTION THROUGH AVATARS AND ITS IMPACT ON REASONING PERFORMANCE: CARDIOVASCULAR AND PUPILLARY CORRELATES
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Many studies have shown the impact of emotion on cognition (Damasio, 1994), however these influences remain ambiguous. The contradictions may be explained by a lack of experimental control (emotional induction, objective clues on emotional states…) but also by the existence of complex cross-influences between the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, a major substratum of executive functions (EFs) and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, an area strongly connected to the limbic system. This work aimed at gaining a more precise view of the links between emotion and EFs, utilizing an experimental protocol that used avatars for a well-controlled emotional induction, measurements of the autonomic nervous system activity as evidence of the emotional state (cardiovascular and pupillary responses) and a neuropsychological test battery (dynamic reasoning and deductive reasoning tasks) for the detection of EFs variations in response to emotion. The experimental data showed that positive emotion (joy) led to a performance decrease during both tasks, together with physiological variations. These counterintuitive results showed that positive mood can impair executive functioning in our tasks. In addition, our results highlighted the lack of learning effects on deductive performance.
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