Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 73, Issue 2, pp 266–284 | Cite as

Nonlinear Dynamics of Emotion-Cognition Interaction: When Emotion Does not Destroy Cognition?

  • Valentin Afraimovich
  • Todd Young
  • Mehmet K. Muezzinoglu
  • Mikhail I. Rabinovich
Open Access
Original Article


Emotion (i.e., spontaneous motivation and subsequent implementation of a behavior) and cognition (i.e., problem solving by information processing) are essential to how we, as humans, respond to changes in our environment. Recent studies in cognitive science suggest that emotion and cognition are subserved by different, although heavily integrated, neural systems. Understanding the time-varying relationship of emotion and cognition is a challenging goal with important implications for neuroscience. We formulate here the dynamical model of emotion-cognition interaction that is based on the following principles: (1) the temporal evolution of cognitive and emotion modes are captured by the incoming stimuli and competition within and among themselves (competition principle); (2) metastable states exist in the unified emotion-cognition phase space; and (3) the brain processes information with robust and reproducible transients through the sequence of metastable states. Such a model can take advantage of the often ignored temporal structure of the emotion-cognition interaction to provide a robust and generalizable method for understanding the relationship between brain activation and complex human behavior. The mathematical image of the robust and reproducible transient dynamics is a Stable Heteroclinic Sequence (SHS), and the Stable Heteroclinic Channels (SHCs). These have been hypothesized to be possible mechanisms that lead to the sequential transient behavior observed in networks. We investigate the modularity of SHCs, i.e., given a SHS and a SHC that is supported in one part of a network, we study conditions under which the SHC pertaining to the cognition will continue to function in the presence of interfering activity with other parts of the network, i.e., emotion.


Metastability Transients 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valentin Afraimovich
    • 1
  • Todd Young
    • 2
  • Mehmet K. Muezzinoglu
    • 3
  • Mikhail I. Rabinovich
    • 3
  1. 1.IICO-UASLPSan Luis PotosiMexico
  2. 2.Department of MathematicsOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  3. 3.BioCircuits InstituteUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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