Nau Mai Haere Mai and Welcome to the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab. We are housed in the School of Psychology at Victoria University of Wellington, and directed by Dr. Gina Grimshaw.
In our lab, we primarily study how emotional processes interact with cognition. In other words, we strive to understand how the way that we feel influences how we think. In particular, we are focusing on negative emotions, such as fear and disgust, as well as positive emotions, such as awe, which we manipulate in the lab, using Virtual Reality (VR). Within these evocative virtual environments, we embed cognitive tasks, thereby permitting us to investigate questions such as:
- How do different emotional states influence our ability to exercise cognitive control over our actions and attention?
- How well can we deploy deliberate cognitive strategies to down-regulate strong emotional responses? And do some regulation strategies outperform others?
Understanding the connection between emotional responding and cognitive control is vital to understanding psychological disorders as well as healthy everyday functioning. Our research aims to develop new paradigms for studying emotion-cognition interactions that go beyond the laboratory and into the (virtual) world.