Research Abstract


Effects of subconscious and conscious emotions on human cue–reward association learning

2015年2月16日 Scientific Reports 5 : 8478 doi: 10.1038/srep08478


Noriya Watanabe & Masahiko Haruno

Corresponding Author

春野 雅彦
脳情報通信融合研究センター 脳情報通信融合研究室

Life demands that we adapt our behaviour continuously in situations in which much of our incoming information is emotional and unrelated to our immediate behavioural goals. Such information is often processed without our consciousness. This poses an intriguing question of whether subconscious exposure to irrelevant emotional information (e.g. the surrounding social atmosphere) affects the way we learn. Here, we addressed this issue by examining whether the learning of cue-reward associations changes when an emotional facial expression is shown subconsciously or consciously prior to the presentation of a reward-predicting cue. We found that both subconscious (0.027 s and 0.033 s) and conscious (0.047 s) emotional signals increased the rate of learning, and this increase was smallest at the border of conscious duration (0.040 s). These data suggest not only that the subconscious and conscious processing of emotional signals enhances value-updating in cue–reward association learning, but also that the computational processes underlying the subconscious enhancement is at least partially dissociable from its conscious counterpart.