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Introduction to Brain and Behavior [NOTES] Part 10 -- I got a 92% in the course

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PSB 2000
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Emotions and Aggression  Functions of emotions • Fear  escape • Anger  attack • Disgust  avoid • Gut feeling: snakes, spiders, and shocks → Show subjects pictures of snakes or spiders; too quick for identification → Follow one of the those pictures with an electric shock → Usually begin to have sympathetic response when shown picture that is followed by shock → Sometimes asked if notice change in HR; sometimes asked if shock was forthcoming → Good at reporting HR increase = good at predicting shock  Emotion related to action • 3 aspects of an emotional state → Cognition (“this is bad”) → Readiness for action (“Run away!” – autonomic NS) → A feeling (“I’m scared!”) • James-Lange theory → Event/stimulus physiological reaction feeling/emotion → Feedback from body ⇒ Tell people how to move facial muscles produce expression of an emotion alterations in autonomic nervous system ⇒ Part of emotional experience is related to what body is doing (even muscles of facial expressions) ⇒ And, imitation of facial expression seems to be innate  Facial expression of emotions • Innate, unlearned, biologically determined • People in different cultures (even isolated environments) use same patterns of movements of facial muscles to express various emotions • Blind versus sited children; same expressions  Brain areas involved in emotion • Limbic system → Traditionally thought of as emotion center → Amygdala especially • Cortex → Strong response to all emotions → Different emotions seen all over, especially frontal and temporal lobes, and sometimes different emotions activate same regions → Some cells respond mainly to pleasant pictures, others to unpleasant pictures; haven’t seen cells specific to different types of unpleasantness (fear vs. anger) • Insular cortex → Lights up a lot, especially when experiencing (or recognizing someone else) disgust → Also fear  Lateralization: roles of left versus right hemisphere • Personality: → More activity in left frontal cortex happier, outgoing, fun-loving → More activity in right hemisphere  socially withdrawn, less satisfied with life, prone to unpleasant emotions • Right hemisphere is more responsive to emotional stimuli → Activity in R amygdala (more in L) when listen to laughter or crying → Pay attention to emotional expression on face: R (more than L) temporal cortex → Damage to R temporal cortex: difficulty identifying others’ emotional states → People with L hemisphere damage outperformed other groups on knowing when people were lying or telling the truth → We can inactivate one hemisphere at a time for a limited at a time; inactive R hemisphere: can remember facts surrounding emotional event, but not the emotion itself  Emotions and Moral decisions • Prefrontal cortex, cingulate gyrus and amygdala all active when contemplating a moral decision → We tend to make decisions based on how they “feel”; reason through them (justify them) later • Inability to anticipate unpleasantness leads to bad decision making (includes lack of autonomic arousal in anticipation of bad outcome) → Man w/ prefrontal cortex damage; no emotion, made bad decision, could predict outcome, couldn’t predict feeling resulting from outcome  Amygdala • Receives highly processed sensory information (vision, audition, olfaction, somatosensory; from cortex) • Output to → Hypothalamus for autonomic response → Prefrontal cortex to control approach and avoidance → Midbrain, then pons, then spinal cord for startle reflex • Judging someone’s “goodness” or “badness” or when responding even to the name of someone widely known as being bad or seeing words that denote a threatening situation will cause the amygdala to light up • Looking at photos of something frightening, or someone looking fearful • Trying to discern complicated emotional stimuli → Fear directed at you or anger directed away from you are hard to discern; looking at someone else whose expression is fear or anger, even if observer isn’t conscious of presentation  cortical blindness • Hamster in cage → Introduce another hamster to a cage (intruder)  home hamster checks it out and eventually attacks → Take out the intruder…wait…put in another intruder home hamster attacks quicker and harder, he has been primed → During that time, increased activity in amygdala ⇒ Or if stimulate amygdala, prime the hamster to attack → People – why don’t we attack? ⇒ PFC: Prefrontal cortex puts the breaks on a knee-jerk response initiated by the amygdala • Damage to the amygdala → They can still feel emotions but there’s impairment → Hard to process emotional content when it’s complicated or subtle or ambiguous ⇒ Trouble recognizing arrogance, guilt, anger, surprise admiration, and flirtation ⇒ Trouble rating “trustfulness” in another person → Especially difficult to recognize fear b/c don’t focus on eyes (which express fear) but on mouth (which expresses happiness) and nose  Serotonin synapses and aggressive behavior: non-humans • Mice: less serotonin turnover = more aggressive → Those that naturally have less serotonin are more aggressive → If you isolate male mice for about a month, you’ll see decreased serotonin turnover and increased aggression • Male monkeys in wild: low serotonin turnover are most aggressive, most often injured, and earlier death • Why would evolution select for this? →
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