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Emotional valence and the free-energy principle

Listed author(s):
  • Mateus Joffily

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - PRES Université de Lyon - CNRS)

  • Giorgio Coricelli

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Étienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - ENS Lyon - École normale supérieure - Lyon - UL2 - Université Lumière - Lyon 2 - UCBL - Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 - Université Jean Monnet - Saint-Etienne - PRES Université de Lyon - CNRS)

The free-energy principle has recently been proposed as a unified Bayesian account of perception, learning and action. Despite the inextricable link between emotion and cognition, emotion has not yet been formulated under this framework. A core concept that permeates many perspectives on emotion is valence, which broadly refers to the positive and negative character of emotion or some of its aspects. In the present paper, we propose a definition of emotional valence in terms of the negative rate of change of free-energy over time. If the second time-derivative of free-energy is taken into account, the dynamics of basic forms of emotion such as happiness, unhappiness, hope, fear, disappointment and relief can be explained. In this formulation, an important function of emotional valence turns out to regulate the learning rate of the causes of sensory inputs. When sensations increasingly violate the agent's expectations, valence is negative and increases the learning rate. Conversely, when sensations increasingly fulfil the agent's expectations, valence is positive and decreases the learning rate. This dynamic interaction between emotional valence and learning rate highlights the crucial role played by emotions in biological agents' adaptation to unexpected changes in their world.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00862392.

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Date of creation: 20 Jun 2013
Publication status: Published in 4ème conférence de l'ASFEE (Association Française d'Economie Expérimentale), Lyon, 20-21 juin 2013, Jun 2013, Lyon, France
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00862392
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00862392
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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  1. Sangjoon Kim & Neil Shephard & Siddhartha Chib, 1998. "Stochastic Volatility: Likelihood Inference and Comparison with ARCH Models," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 65(3), pages 361-393.
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