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Title: Motion and emotion : how emotional stimuli influence the motor system
Author: Simoes Matos Saraiva, A. C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7223 6389
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis examines the interaction between emotional stimuli and motor processes. Emotions are thought to be intimately linked to action, often triggering specific biases that automatically guide our behaviour for successful interaction. For example, emotional behaviour is influenced in a very specific way by two opposing appetitive and defensive motivational systems that trigger specific actions. Appetitive stimuli trigger approach, whereas aversive stimuli trigger avoidance, freezing or attack. These approachavoidance tendencies are likely to interact with and bias various motor processes, such as action selection, planning and execution, revealing a privileged relationship between emotion and motor processes. However, this interaction remains poorly understood. Investigating how emotional tendencies influence different motor processes will further our understanding of how emotions influence actions. To this end, five experiments were conducted. Experiment One examined how approach-avoidance actions are selected. Experiment Two investigated how emotional cues in the environment bias and prepare for action to anticipated emotional stimuli. Experiment Three evaluated the effect of approachavoidance tendencies on action execution and motor planning. Experiment Four assessed whether tendencies also influence our ability to suppress action execution. Finally, Experiment Five investigated whether updating of actions in response to emotional changes in the environment are influenced by response tendencies. Overall, this thesis found that approach-avoidance tendencies influence the selection of actions via a combination of topdown, goal-directed processes, and bottom-up, automatic processes. Predisposed tendencies did not influence any other motor process. Instead, positive and negative stimuli influenced action planning, execution and inhibition. Thus, motor processes are differentially influenced by approach-avoidance tendencies and emotional valence. This thesis demonstrates an intimate relationship between emotional stimuli and the motor system that appears to be influenced by both top-down and bottom-up mechanisms.
Supervisor: Bestmann, S. ; Walsh, V. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available