Neuroscience is uncovering the overlapping matrices of emotion and cognition
Emotion is not just a “bunch of feelings.” “Emotion” can be considered the underlying “quality” of thought. Because the emotional areas of the brain interact constantly with the thinking areas of the brain we can’t really separate thought and emotion into neatly-divided regions/networks.
In fact, emotions can be considered as aspects of thought that qualify the context, meaning, priority, and salience of our mental states.
Even the most highly abstract thought is linked to emotion in a broad sense: a thinker has the motivation and interest, wonder and rapture, tenacity and investment to pursue their field of inquiry. Without this emotional underpinning we would not care enough to pursue our interest, to get huffy when our premises are contradicted, or to righteously defend our viewpoint when it is refuted. Even people who view themselves as not very emotional, are, in essence, having a feeling. We feel our level of emotionality or rationality (whether we are accurately assessing ourselves is another matter.)
Emotions are essential for prioritizing, making decisions, reasoning, and forming beliefs
Research provides support for the important role that emotions play in human development and neural functioning. Emotion is an integral part of memory, learning, and cognition. And emotion, motivation and cognition overlap within a very complex neural matrix that connects many areas of the brain.