At the heart of emotion, mood, and any other emotionally charged event are states experienced as simply
feeling good or bad, energized or enervated. These states— called core affect—influence reflexes,
perception, cognition, and behavior and are influenced by many causes internal and external, but people
have no direct access to these causal connections. Core affect can therefore be experienced as free-
floating (mood) or can be attributed to some cause (and thereby begin an emotional episode). These basic
processes spawn a broad framework that includes perception of the core-affect-altering properties of
stimuli, motives, empathy, emotional meta-experience, and affect versus emotion regulation; it accounts
for prototypical emotional episodes, such as fear and anger, as core affect attributed to something plus
various nonemotional processes.
Gray, Wayne D., Sims, Chris R., Fu, Wai-Tat and Schoelles, Michael J. (2006): The soft constraints hypothesis: A rational analysis approach to resource allocation for interactive behavior. In Psychological Review, 113 (3) pp. 461-482.
Soft constraints hypothesis (SCH) is a rational analysis approach that holds that the mixture of perceptual-motor and cognitive resources allocated for interactive behavior is adjusted based on temporal cost-benefit tradeoffs. Alternative approaches maintain that cognitive resources are in some sense protected or conserved in that greater amounts of perceptual-motor effort will be expended to conserve lesser amounts of cognitive effort. One alternative, the minimum memory hypothesis (MMH), holds that people favor strategies that minimize the use of memory. SCH is compared with MMH across 3 experiments and with predictions of an Ideal Performer Model that uses ACT-R’s memory system in a reinforcement learning approach that maximizes expected utility by minimizing time. Model and data support the SCH view of resource allocation; at the under 1000-millisecond level of analysis, mixtures of cognitive and perceptual-motor resources are adjusted based on their cost-benefit tradeoffs for interactive behavior.
A model of cognitive control in task switching is developed in which controlled performance depends on the system maintaining access to a code in episodic memory representing the most-recently cued task. The main constraint on performance is proactive interference from old codes, which limits this access. Other memory processes are organized to overcome this interference, reproducing a wide range of behavioral phenomena as they operate. This cognitive-control model (CCM) accounts for switch cost and other well-known task-switching phenomena, and for effects like within-run slowing and error increase on which other theories are silent. CCM generalizes across multiple task-switching procedures, suggesting that episodic task codes play an important role in keeping the cognitive system focused under a variety of performance constraints.