Emotions and learninggreenspun.com : LUSENET : History & Theory of Psychology : One Thread
How do emotions affect learning?
-- michelle (email@example.com), April 28, 2004
Hi Michelle, There is much we do not yet know about how emotions affect learn (or for that matter how learning affects emotion). However, often events that trigger moderate to strong positive emotions (e.g., joy, happiness, relief) or negative emotions(e.g., pain, fear, disgust, sadness)improve learning and memory. In the former case typically you would be learning what to do more of and in the later case you would typically be learning what not to do. Keep in mind that learning and memory are complex and are influenced by other factors. However, from an evolutionary perspective, having a brain mechanism that worked like this would most of the time be adaptive. Emotions often let us know what things or thoughts are "good" or "bad" and the degree. The effects on learning and memory of events that trigger extremely strong emotions may sometimes have paradoxical effects. For example, an extremely trumatic event (or series of events) can sometimes disrupt learning or memory (even in rare cases leading to extensive amnesia). The amnesia may be caused by damage to the hippocampus, a primary memory area of the brain, and in some cases it may be adaptive to not remember a trumatic event. I hope this gets you started on your complex, but important question. Paul
-- Paul Kleinginna (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 29, 2004.