Emotion-Cognition Interaction in Nonhuman Primates: Cognitive Avoidance of Negative Stimuli in Baboons (Papio papio)

TitleEmotion-Cognition Interaction in Nonhuman Primates: Cognitive Avoidance of Negative Stimuli in Baboons (Papio papio)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuteursBlanchette, I, Marzouki, Y, Claidière, N, Gullstrand, J, Fagot, J
JournalPsychol Sci
Volume28
Issue1
Pagination3-11
Date Published2017 01
ISSN1467-9280
KeywordsAnimals, Avoidance Learning, Cognition, Emotions, Female, Male, Memory, Short-Term, Papio, Papio papio
Abstract

It is well established that emotion and cognition interact in humans, but such an interaction has not been extensively studied in nonhuman primates. We investigated whether emotional value can affect nonhuman primates' processing of stimuli that are only mentally represented, not visually available. In a short-term memory task, baboons memorized the location of two target squares of the same color, which were presented with a distractor of a different color. Through prior long-term conditioning, one of the two colors had acquired a negative valence. Subjects were slower and less accurate on the memory task when the targets were negative than when they were neutral. In contrast, subjects were faster and more accurate when the distractors were negative than when they were neutral. Some of these effects were modulated by individual differences in emotional disposition. Overall, the results reveal a pattern of cognitive avoidance of negative stimuli, and show that emotional value alters cognitive processing in baboons even when the stimuli are not physically present. This suggests that emotional influences on cognition are deeply rooted in evolutionary continuity.

DOI10.1177/0956797616671557
Alternate JournalPsychol Sci
PubMed ID28078977