Monday, February 27, 2006

Resisting Emotional Distractions

With emotional distractors (in this study, emotionally-provoking images), the cool executive (blue) areas of the brain (dIPFC) get turned down, while emotional centers like the amygdala flare up.

People vary in their ability to resist emotional distractions.

An examination of individual differences suggested that area of the right ventral IPFC may be important for resisting emotional distractions.

It comes as no surprise that emotional distractions affect work performance on the job, on the playing field, or in classrooms. For students, emotional triggers may not have to be big - worry may even turn off working memory.

Emotional Distractions and fMRI
Emotional Intelligence & Work Performance
Eide Neurolearning Blog: The Biology of 'Choking' Under Stress
Eide Neurolearning Blog: Understanding Our Psych Outs - Race, Gender, and Smarts
Emotional Lives of Gifted Children
Raising Resilient Kids
Hoagies' Gifted Education: Social / Emotional
FastCompany: How Do You Feel?
Emotional Intelligence and Six Seconds


  1. Hi - I am very interested by a lot of what you post but am having trouble determining what the activation reflects - i.e., what are the comparison conditions? If you could start posting them that would be great! Thanks,

  2. Hi there Chris!

    Thanks for helping us discover about our mistake with the comments.

    This was a particularly difficult study to post about because there's a lot of data (check out the first link), and it might have been overly ambitious to blog on it.

    The study involved remembering faces, then having emotional, neutral, or scrambled pictures flashed in between. An example of an emotional picture was a man holding a gun up to a woman.

    The interesting finding was as the emotional content of the distractor when up, the visual working memory areas turned down.