Handbook of Cognition and Emotion

By Tim Dalgleish; Mick J. Power | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
Cognition, Emotion,
Conscious Experience and
the Brain

Jeffrey A. Gray
Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK

Cartesian dualism is today sufficiently moribund that almost no-one denies that cognition, emotion and conscious experience are all products of the brain. Yet there has for long been a common, if usually unspoken, tendency to believe that, somehow, discussions of the brain and these other enitities belong to different, even opposing, realms of discourse. Fortunately, this barrier is beginning to break down, especially as cognitive scientists encounter the enormous opportunities for directly visualizing human brain function opened up by modern neuroimaging techniques. The time has perhaps come, therefore, for proper consideration of the relations that exist, or should exist, between these different types of discourse. Such consideration is made more complex, however, by the fact that, within cognitive science itself, the relations between cognition, emotion and conscious experience remain, to say the least, obscure. It is necessary, therefore, to examine the relationships between all four of the terms that figure in the title of this chapter. Here I shall explore what these relations might be, using as an example the development of a neuropsychological model that was applied, first, to anxiety (a prototypical emotion; Gray, 1982a, b, c), then to the cognitive aberrations that present as positive psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia (Gray et al., 1991a,b), and finally to the contents of consiousness (Gray, 1995a,b).

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