How emotions influence syllogistic reasoning is not well understood. fMRI was employed to investigate the effects of induced positive or negative emotion on syllogistic reasoning. Specifically, on a trial-by-trial basis participants were exposed to a positive, negative, or neutral picture, immediately prior to engagement in a reasoning task. After viewing and rating the valence and intensity of each picture, participants indicated by keypress whether or not the conclusion of the syllogism followed logically from the premises. The content of all syllogisms was neutral, and the influence of belief-bias was controlled for in the study design. Emotion did not affect reasoning performance, although there was a trend in the expected direction based on accuracy rates for the positive (63%) and negative (64%) versus neutral (70%) condition. Nevertheless, exposure to positive and negative pictures led to dissociable patterns of neural activation during reasoning. Therefore, the neural basis of deductive reasoning differs as a function of the valence of the context.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry
- Behavioral Neuroscience
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology