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Title: The impact of emotions on attention and decision making
Author: De Martino, B.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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Emotional information is widely acknowledged to play a role in shaping human behavior. In particular, emotions, by modulating attentional capacity, provide an evolutionary advantage by facilitating quick responses to potential threat. By contrast, the impact of emotions on the decision-making processes is often seen as engendering suboptimal or even so-called "irrational" decisions In this thesis, I combine innovative experimental paradigms with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and behavioral pharmacological manipulations to explore how at neurobiological level these processes share similar mechanisms. In doing so, I aim to attempt a reconciliation of the aforementioned contrasting views on emotion. I examined four key aspects of interaction between emotion and both attention and decision-making: firstly, I investigated how the human brain is able to process emotional stimuli in conditions of limited attentional resources whilst subjects were engaged in an attentional blink paradigm. Secondly, using a similar paradigm and three different drug manipulations I examined the role of noradrenaline in modulating this process. Thirdly, I have studied how the human brain processes contextual emotional information when choice options are presented. Finally I extend my research to study how during economics transactions (in which the contextual emotional information is rooted in the subjects own role as either seller or buyer) an item's value representation in the brain affects the decision process.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available