KI - Künstliche Intelligenz

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 235–244 | Cite as

A Neuroscientific View on the Role of Emotions in Behaving Cognitive Agents

  • Julien Vitay
  • Fred H. HamkerEmail author


While classical theories systematically opposed emotion and cognition, suggesting that emotions perturbed the normal functioning of the rational thought, recent progress in neuroscience highlights on the contrary that emotional processes are at the core of cognitive processes, directing attention to emotionally-relevant stimuli, favoring the memorization of external events, valuating the association between an action and its consequences, biasing decision making by allowing to compare the motivational value of different goals and, more generally, guiding behavior towards fulfilling the needs of the organism. This article first proposes an overview of the brain areas involved in the emotional modulation of behavior and suggests a functional architecture allowing to perform efficient decision making. It then reviews a series of biologically-inspired computational models of emotion dealing with behavioral tasks like classical conditioning and decision making, which highlight the computational mechanisms involved in emotional behavior. It underlines the importance of embodied cognition in artificial intelligence, as emotional processing is at the core of the cognitive computations deciding which behavior is more appropriate for the agent.


Emotion Cognition Behavior Computational neuroscience Cognitive agents 



The authors are in part supported by the German research foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) grant (DFG HA2630/4-2) “The cognitive control of visual perception and action selection”.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fakultät für InformatikTechnische Universität ChemnitzChemnitzDeutschland

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