CCN meeting | Andrey Chetverikov (Radboud University, the Netherlands)

07-12-2017 from 15:00 to 16:00
Henri Dunantlaan 2, room 4.2 (4B)
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Affective consequences of errors and cognitive conflict

Why do we like some things more than others? When one reflects on the origins of preferences, usually two answers come to mind: some things are preferred because they were associated with other pleasant things in the past and some because of their intrinsic qualities. However, preferences can also stem from a positive or negative affect evoked by the dynamics of cognitive processing. I will present several studies that support this idea, showing how errors and cognitive conflict create negative affect in simple tasks, such as recognition, categorization, or visual search. The results demonstrate that errors are associated with negative affect even when other variables, such as confidence or stimuli valence, are controlled. The affective consequences of cognitive conflict, however, are less clear with some studies showing positive and some showing negative affect. Overall, the results indicate that even in simple tasks without any external reward observers internally evaluate their responses. This evaluation, in turn, changes observers' preferences. I will discuss these results in light of “affect as feedback for predictions” framework that we have recently described. Overall, the findings suggest that affect may serve as a universal currency for predictions with potential implications for meta-cognitive regulation.