On the Cognitive Processes of Human Perception with Emotions, Motivations, and Attitudes

On the Cognitive Processes of Human Perception with Emotions, Motivations, and Attitudes

Yingxu Wang (University of Calgary, Canada)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-170-4.ch004


An interactive motivation-attitude theory is developed based on the Layered Reference Model of the Brain (LRMB) and the Object-Attribute-Relation (OAR) model. This chapter presents a rigorous model of human perceptual processes such as emotions, motivations, and attitudes. A set of mathematical models and formally described cognitive processes are developed. The interactions and relationships between motivation and attitude are formally described in real-time process algebra (RTPA). Applications of the mathematical models of motivations and attitudes in software engineering are demonstrated. This work is the detailed description of a part of the layered reference model of the brain (LRMB) that provides a comprehensive model for explaining the fundamental cognitive processes of the brain and their interactions. This work demonstrates that the complicated human emotional and perceptual phenomena can be rigorously modeled in mathematics and be formally treated and described.
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A variety of life functions and cognitive processes has been identified in cognitive informatics (Wang, 2002a, 2003a, 2007b), cognitive science, neuropsychology, and neurophilosophy. In order to formally and rigorously describe a comprehensive and coherent set of mental processes and their relationships, a layered reference model of the brain (LRMB) developed (Wang and Wang, 2006; Wang et al., 2006) that explains the functional mechanisms and cognitive processes of the natural intelligence. LRMB encompasses 37 cognitive processes at six layers known as the sensation, memory, perception, action, meta and higher cognitive layers from the bottom up.

Definition 1.Perception is a set of internal sensational cognitive processes of the brain at the subconscious cognitive function layers that detects, relates, interprets, and searches internal cognitive information in the mind.

Perception may be considered as the sixth sense of human beings since almost all cognitive life functions rely on it. Perception is also an important cognitive function at the subconscious layers that determines personality. In other word, personality is a faculty of all subconscious life functions and experience cumulated via conscious life functions. It is recognized that a crucial component of the future generation computers known as the cognitive computers is the perceptual engine that mimic the natural intelligence (Wang, 2006, 2007c).

The main cognitive processes at the perception layer of LRMB are emotion, motivation, and attitude (Wang et al., 2006). This chapter presents a formal treatment of the three perceptual processes, their interrelationships, and interactions. It demonstrates that complicated psychological and cognitive mental processes may be formally modeled and rigorously described. Mathematical models of the psychological and cognitive processes of emotions, motivations, and attitudes are developed in the following three sections. Then, interactions and relationships between emotions, motivations, and attitudes are analyzed. Based on the integrated models of the three perception processes, the formal description of the cognitive processes of motivations and attitudes will be presented using Real-Time Process Algebra (RTPA) (Wang, 2002b, 2003c). Applications of the formal models of emotions, motivations, and attitudes will be demonstrated in a case study on maximizing strengths of individual motivations in software engineering.


The Hierarchical Model Of Emotions

Emotions are a set of states or results of perception that interprets the feelings of human beings on external stimuli or events in the binary categories of pleasant or unpleasant.

Definition 2. An emotion is a personal feeling derived from one’s current internal status, mood, circumstances, historical context, and external stimuli.

Emotions are closely related to desires and willingness. A desire is a personal feeling or willingness to possess an object, to conduct an interaction with the external world, or to prepare for an event to happen. A willingness is the faculty of conscious, deliberate, and voluntary choice of actions.

According to the study of Fischer and his colleagues (Fischer et al., 1990; Wilson and Keil, 1999), the taxonomy of emotions can be described at three levels known as the sub-category, basic, and super levels as shown in Table 1.

Table 1.
Taxonomy of emotions
Super levelPositive (pleasant)Negative (unpleasant)
Basic levelJoyLoveAngerSadnessFear
Sub-category levelBliss, pride,
Fondness, infatuationAnnoyance, hostility, contempt, jealousyAgony, grief, guilt, lonelinessHorror, worry

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