Interaction between emotional state and learning underlies mood instability

Eran Eldar, Yael Niv

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


Intuitively, good and bad outcomes affect our emotional state, but whether the emotional state feeds back onto the perception of outcomes remains unknown. Here, we use behaviour and functional neuroimaging of human participants to investigate this bidirectional interaction, by comparing the evaluation of slot machines played before and after an emotion-impacting wheel-of-fortune draw. Results indicate that self-reported mood instability is associated with a positive-feedback effect of emotional state on the perception of outcomes. We then use theoretical simulations to demonstrate that such positive feedback would result in mood destabilization. Taken together, our results suggest that the interaction between emotional state and learning may play a significant role in the emergence of mood instability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6149
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Jan 21 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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