Positive Emotions Open Our Mind

Barbara Fredrickson: Positive Emotions Open Our Mind
Greater Good Science Center. Jun 21, 2011
Barbara Fredrickson discusses how positive emotions broaden our awareness of the world, allowing us to become more in tune with the needs of others.

The Science of Happiness
Berkeley University of California

The influence of positive affect on clinical problem solving.

Med Decis Making. 1991 Jul-Sep;11(3):221-7.
Isen AM1, Rosenzweig AS, Young MJ.

This study investigated the influence of positive affect, induced by report of success on an anagram task, on medical decision making among third-year medical students. The subjects were asked to decide which one of six hypothetical patients, each of whom had a solitary pulmonary nodule, was most likely to have lung cancer. They were asked to verbalize their clinical reasoning as they solved the problem. The positive-affect and control groups did not differ in the tendency to make a correct choice, but subjects in the positive-affect condition were significantly earlier in identifying their choices. These subjects were also significantly more likely to go beyond the assigned task, expressing interesting in the cases of the other patients and trying to think about their diagnosis, even though that task was not assigned. The positive-affect subjects also showed evidence of configural or integrative consideration of the material to a reliably greater extent than did control subjects, and there was significantly less evidence of confusion or disorganization in their protocols than in those of controls.
These findings are compatible with earlier work suggesting a different organizational process and greater efficiency in decision making among people in whom positive affect had been induced, and with recent work suggesting that positive affect facilitates flexibility and integration in problem solving. They also indicate that these effects may apply to the problem-solving strategies of professionals in clinical problem-solving situations.

What Sleeping Babies Hear

What Sleeping Babies Hear
A Functional MRI Study of Interparental Conflict and Infants’ Emotion Processing
Alice M. Graham, et al.

Experiences of adversity in the early years of life alter the developing brain.
However, evidence documenting this relationship often focuses on severe stressors and relies on peripheral measures of neurobiological functioning during infancy.

In the present study, we employed functional MRI during natural sleep to examine associations between a more moderate environmental stressor (nonphysical interparental conflict) and 6- to 12-month-old infants’ neural processing of emotional tone of voice.
The primary question was whether interparental conflict experienced by infants is associated with neural responses to emotional tone of voice, particularly very angry speech.

Results indicated that maternal report of higher interparental conflict was associated with infants’ greater neural responses to very angry relative to neutral speech across several brain regions implicated in emotion and stress reactivity and regulation (including rostral anterior cingulate cortex, caudate, thalamus, and hypothalamus).

These findings suggest that even moderate environmental stress may be associated with brain functioning during infancy.

Keywords: psychological stress, neuroimaging, emotional development, infant development

journalistic version:
Shhh, The Kids Can Hear You Arguing (Even When They’re Asleep)
April 29, 2013

Broca’s area

… stories and the literature of marriages that has been broken over damage to the right hemisphere, specifically in the region of
Broca’s area.
Imagine this, one spouse declares to another, “you don’t love me anymore.” “Of course I love you. Why don’t you believe me that I love you?”
Well, the idea here [is] one spouse no longer believes the words by themselves.
Because the other–who perhaps has had a brain injury to the right inferior frontal gyrus–can no longer imbue speech with passion, with the emotion that is the life force of our human relations.

Medical Neuroscience
January 2016
Duke University