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Expectation violations and emotional learning

Fine, Cordelia; (2000) Expectation violations and emotional learning. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Chapter 1 discusses the representation of reinforcement expectations. Chapter 2 tested the prediction that expectation violations will trigger arousal and rapid behavioural change. It was found that unexpected valence changes, but not magnitude changes, triggered arousal increases and rapid behavioural change. It was therefore suggested that an instrumental learning system represents both magnitude and valence information, but that a separable instrumental re-learning system only represents valence. These hypotheses were implemented in a computational model in Chapter 3. This model successfully simulated human behavioural data from three experiments in Chapter 2. The model also predicted that the instrumental learning and instrumental re-learning systems could be independently damaged. This was investigated in Chapters 4 and 5 with case studies of an amygdala patient and two orbitofrontal patients. The amygdala patient was severely impaired in instrumental learning. In contrast, the orbitofrontal patients were only impaired in instrumental re-learning. This dissociation supported the hypothesis that instrumental learning and re-learning are mediated by separable systems. Chapter 6 found support for the hypotheses that developmental psychopathy is associated with amygdala dysfunction and orbitofrontal cortex function by assessing instrumental learning and re-learning in a population of psychopathic individuals. Chapters 7 and 8 investigated further the effects of early amygdala damage on emotional and social cognition. A patient with early left amygdala damage was shown to be impaired in the recognition of fear and sadness, and showed a lack of empathy. These findings were predicted by the early amygdala dysfunction hypothesis of developmental psychopathy. Chapter 8 demonstrated a severe theory of mind impairment in the amygdala patient, in the absence of any executive dysfunction. This finding suggests that theory of mind is not simply a function of more general executive functions, and supports the hypothesis that the amygdala plays a role in the development of the circuitry mediating theory of mind. In the last chapter, future research directions are identified.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Expectation violations and emotional learning
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099812
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