Throughout our lives, emotional and motivational factors influence our thoughts and actions. Hence, there is a clear need to understand how emotion, motivation, and cognition interact in the human brain. Knowledge of brain mechanisms underlying these interactions is not only relevant to our healthy lives but also has potential clinical relevance. In mental disorders such as addiction, anxiety, and depression, cognitive impairments due to compromised emotional and/or motivational processing are extensively reported. Therefore, a deeper understanding of brain mechanisms underlying interactions between emotion, motivation, and cognition will help us better understand the anomalies in neurobiological mechanisms associated with these disorders and potentially improve treatment strategies.
Despite this, our understanding of how these factors interact in the brain is rudimentary. This is because the majority of the past work focused on investigating emotional, motivational, and cognitive processing in an independent fashion. Our work attempts to fill some of these critical gaps in our knowledge base by investigating interactions between emotion, motivation, and cognition in the healthy adult human brain. We primarily employ behavioral and functional MRI (fMRI) methods combined with psycho-physiological measurements (e.g., skin conductance response) in our research. Additionally, we focus on understanding how individual differences in self-reported anxiety and reward-sensitivity influence these interactions.