Filmed during Mind & Life Institute’s “Mind & Life XVIII: Attention, Memory, and Mind” on April 6-10, 2009.

Attention-Emotion Interface
SPEAKER: Elizabeth Phelps

A primary function of emotion is to highlight events in the environment that are potentially important for adaptive function and future survival. Given this, it is not surprising that cognitive processes are tuned to give priority to events that elicit emotional reactions. We will discuss how attention, perception and memory are changed by emotion, both the psychological phenomenon and the neural underpinnings. We will also discuss research outlining how our thoughts can alter our emotions and will speculate about how strategies to regulate emotions may change our memories. Comparing and contrasting insights into how different strategies may aid in the regulation of attention and emotion will be discussed. Questions for discussion include: are there specific practices for training emotion in Tibetan Buddhism? What is the relation of attention to such practices? Do any teachings exist on the role of emotion in relation to attention and memory in the Buddhist traditions? Can meditation practice increase our capacity to understand the primary role of emotion in cognition and attention?

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Adele Diamond
Shaun Gallagher
Rupert Gethin
Amishi Jha
Thupten Jinpa
David Meyer
Anne Treisman
B. Alan Wallace


Mind & Life Connections