How emotion-cognition interactions drive affective bipolarity
Affective bipolarity is observed in a large group of people falling within the broad bipolar spectrum. Here, we propose a model of how emotion-cognition cycles drive affective bipolarity in the general case, and when these cycles may spiral into excessive forms. Our account specifies how emotion-cognition interactions produce two distinct epistemic modes: A behaviorally engaged, externally oriented mode of phenomenal exploration and a behaviorally disengaged, internally oriented mode of conceptual rumination. Affective bipolarity is viewed as a ubiquitous phenomenon underlying epistemic progress, which explains why mood fluctuations can be observed in many psychiatric disorders. The model explains why individuals with bipolar tendencies exhibit polar asymmetries in emotion, cognition and behavior, and are at risk for excessive affective bipolarity when their epistemic activities are guided by immutable and stable core beliefs.