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Chapter 11

PSYC 211 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Lateral Hypothalamus, Papez Circuit, Fusiform Face Area

Course Code
PSYC 211
Yogita Chudasama

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Chapter 11: Emotion
Notes taken by: Ashley Brown
Contact for mistakes: Ashley.brown@mail.mcgill.ca
Emotions as Response Patterns:
Emotion is often referred to as the positive or negative feelings that are produced by
particular situations.
- consist of patterns of physiological responses and specific-type behaviors,
and with humans this is accompanied by feelings
- it is the behavior not feeling though that has consequences for survival and
An emotional response consist of three types of components: (1) behavioral, (2)
autonomic, and (3) hormonal
-Behavioral component consist of muscular movements that are appropriate to
the situation that elicits them
-Autonomic responses facilitate the behaviors and provide quick mobilization
of energy for vigorous movements (these are like increased heart rate and the
-Hormonal responses reinforce the autonomic responses
The integration of the components of fear appears to be controlled by the amygdala
Research with laboratory animals
Amygdala plays a special role in physiological and behavioral reactions to objects and
situations that have biological significant
- single neurons become active when emotionally relevant stimuli are presented
- it is located within the temporal lobes
- consist of several groups of nuclei that all have different inputs and outputs
and furthermore different functions
Amygdala divided into 12 regions containing several subregions. We’ll study 3 major
regions: (1) the lateral nucleus, (2) the basal nucleus, and (3) the central nucleus
-Lateral nucleus (LA)
oInputs: all regions of neocortex incl. the ventromedial prefrontal
cortex, thalamus, and hippocampal formation
oOutputs: basal nucleus, accessory basal, ventral striatum (which
involves in the effects of reinforcing stimuli on learning), and the
dorsomedial nucleus of the thalamus (which projects to the prefrontal
cortex), ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and central nucleus
-Basal nucleus (B)

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oInputs: LA nucleus
oOutputs: CE nucleus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex
-Central nucleus (CE)
oInputs: basal, lateral, and accessory basal nuclei
oOutputs: hypothalamus, midbrain, pons, and medulla
oFunction: expression of emotion, especially those provoked by
aversive stimuli and expression of fear and emotional response
oSEE FIGURE 11.2 on p. 369
oWhen the central nucleus is stimulated, animals are highly fearful,
agitated and show stress induced illnesses (e.g. ulcers).
-Medial Nucleus
oConsist of several subnuclei which receive sensory input
oInformation related to the basal forebrain and hypothalamus
oInvolved in reproductive functions
It is especially important to learn that a particular stimulus or situation is dangerous or
- After learning this will evoke fear
oheart rate and blood pressure will increase, muscles will become more
tense, the adrenal glands will secrete epinephrine, making the animal
cautious, alert, and ready to respond
-conditioned emotional response is the most basic form of emotional learning
oa classically conditioned response that occurs when a neutral stimulus
is followed by an aversive stimulus; usually includes autonomic,
behavioral, and endocrine components such as changes in heart rate,
freezing, and secretion of stress-related hormones
- physical changes caused by classical conditioning take place in the lateral
nucleus of the amygdala
oLA neurons communicated with neurons in the CE which then
communicate with the hypothalamus, midbrain, medulla, and pons that
are responsible for the behavioral, autonomic, and hormonal
components of the conditioned emotional response
- ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) is involed in the process of extinction
which is when you kind of undo the conditioned stimulus
oextinction is not the same as forgetting, rather relearning. The
expression of the CR is inhibited by the medial prefrontal cortex
othe memory of the association can also be reactivated
Research with humans
Specific response are aimed at terminating the painful stimulus
Nonspecific response are controlled by the autonomic nervous system
The amygdala is involved in emotional response in humans as well.

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Seeing words that denote threatening situations increases amygdala activity
Medial prefrontal cortex plays a critical role in extinction of a conditioned emotional
response with humans too.
Damage to the amygdala interferes with the effects of emotion on memory
- with normal functioning people are more likely to remember things that evoke
emotional responses
- amygdala is also involved in the formation of emotional memories
oespecially the right amygdala
- amygdala lesions impair recognition of a musical style that is normally
associated with fear
Anger, Aggression, and Impulse Control
Aggressive behaviors are species types (biting, hissing, growling), or that is the patterns
of movements are organized by neural circuits whose development is largely
programmed by an animal’s genes
- many of these are related to reproduction
- also related to self-defense
- can consist of actual attacks or may just involve threat behaviors
ostereotypical species-typical behavior that warns another animal that it
may be attacked if it does not flee or show a submissive behavior
oconsist of postures or gestures
othreatened animals may show defensive behaviors – threat behaviors
or an actual attack- or it could show submissive behaviors
behaviors that indicate that it accepts defeat and will not challenge the
other animal
Predation is the attack of one animal directed at an individual of another species on
which the attacking animal normally preys
- more “coldblooded” then within species attacks: efficient and not
accompanies by a high level of sympathetic activation
Research With Laboratory Animals
Neural control of aggressive behavior:
- Hierarchical: particular muscular movements are programmed by neural
circuits in the brain stem (which is controlled by the hypothalamus and the
amygdala which are in turn controlled by perceptual systems that detect the
status of the environment)
Aggressive attack and predation can be elicited by stimulation of different parts of the
periaqueductal gray matter (PAG)
- amygdala and hypothalamus influence these behaviors through excitatory and
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