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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 - PSYC18.docx

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Michelle Hilscher

Lecture 7 The Brain Causes Emotions... - As opposed to the body - Peripheralist vs. Centralist models - Historically these models have pitted against each other - Peripheralist: thinks that the feedback you get from your physiological body causes psychological processes o Plato (peripheralist): reasoning part (head) responsible for thinking o Peripheralist for emotion - Centralist: feedback from your central nervous system (brain) causes your capacity to think or feel emotions o Centralist for cognition Then Along Came Galen - Body & brain responsible for distinct processes: 1. Heart, vital spirits 2. Brain, “marvelous net” yields refined animal spirits - For emotion: a peripheralist or centralist David Hartley (1705-1757) - Pain, pleasure, and complex emotions result from vibrations in the brain - Emotional Conditioning is a result of fusion: After repeated pairings of ice cream & math    o Co-activation of brain regions that become physiologically fixed due to repeated exposure to two stimuli - According to Hartley: o Pleasure = moderate vibration o Pain = excessive vibration o Pain is nothing more than “pleasure carried beyond its due limit” Modern Explanation: What parts of the brain produce & control emotions? - This necessitates a high-speed overview of brain anatomy: 1. Different brain regions = different functions Hind Brain: controls basic physiological processes Forebrain: regulates more complex actions of body; initiates and regulates cognitions & emotions  Limbic system & prefrontal cortex key for emotional processes including emotion regulation The Amygdala  appraises sensory information  it is looking for threats, so is sensitive to “good” and “bad” qualities in environment  as “emotional computer,” amygdala: (a) Determines if there is cause for emotion (b) Prescribes automatic behaviour The Collective Limbic System  Informed by the amygdala  Based on amygdala’s verdict, creates different emotional experiences and enacts different emotional expression o Anderson and Phelps (2002)  Evidence to support whole system view for felt emotion  Amygdala is automatic, rapid appraiser, but not the only appraiser The Prefrontal Cortex  Permits emotion regulation in the following domains:  Felt emotion  Actions/expressions  Physiology  Emotion-related cognition The Amygdala: Checking in on Recent Research o reveals a debate about the specialization of the amygdala  basic needs, non-social threats and rewards  complex social needs, social threats and rewards Position 1 is outlined by Keltner, Oatley & Jenkins: o amygdala is primary appraiser o sensitive to basic goal = self-preservation o General consensus and plenty of evidence to support this  E.g. active when disgusted; active when primed subconsciously Evidence for Position 2: 1. Adolphs, Baron-Cohen & Tranel (2002):  Patients w/unilateral amygdala damage vs. controls  Labeling task for facial expressions that depicted:  (a) basic emotions  (b) socially complex emotions  Revealed: greater impairment for socially complex emotions than basic emotions for patients w/amygdala damage (for both basic and socially complex emotions) Integrating Positions 1 and 2 - Positions 1 and 2 assume that valence is the key factor operated on by the amygdala - Some researchers (e.g., Cunningham & Johnson) contend that it is not valence but rather intensity that the amygdala responds to - Responding to intensity rather than valence allows a finer-gained appraisal of the world - Which of the negatives is worse  intensity instead of valence o Able to weigh the difference btwn two judgments o Amygdala is the appraiser  essential to appraisal Clearly, the Amygdala is Essential to Appraisal - It is our emotional computer - When the wrong verdict is rendered (environmental cues are misread) is it because the amygdala is structurally or functionally compromised - When the wrong verdict is rendered (thalamus) o Then is the amygdala structurally or functionally compromised  Ex: Computer  Structure  too hot in your apartment, hardware issue  Functional  virus What Causes Impairment? Amygdala activation Functional Or Or Amygdala volume Structural - Hajek et al. (2009). Amygdala volumes in mood disorders: Meta-analysis of magnetic resonance volumetry studies. Meta-analysis 9 studies = total of 215 bipolar patients vs. 276 controls - Bipolar  episodes of depression + mania 18 studies = total of 409 unipolar patients vs. 482 controls - Unipolar  only episodes of depression Results of Unipolar Patients - Controlling for age and other demographics reveals: - For unipolar patients across the lifetime: o Left amygdala is enlarged in the patients w/MDD, adults and children This Evidence Suggests: 1. Enlarged amygdalar volume underlies major depressive disorder 2. This size irregularity may be present from birth, or due to injury in childhood 3. Possibly the amygdalar irregularity biases perception a. Sensitivity to threat cues in ambivalent world may cause depression Results for Bipolar Patie
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