Chapter 6. Emotions and the Brain
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Include PET and fMRI that show brain activity changes over time.
Neuroimaging: display and analysis of images of brain processes, derived from scanning the brain and making
computational constructions of specific brain activities.
Hindbrain includes regions that control basic physiological processes: the medulla regulates cardiovascular activity,
the pons controls human sleep, the cerebellum is involved in controlling motor movement. The forebrain includes
the thalamuswhich is involved in integrating sensory information, the hippocampuscritical for memory processes,
and the hypothalamuswhich regulates important biological functions like eating, sexual behaviour, and aggression.
Within the forebrain, limbic system with structures involved in emotion like the amygdala sets human brain apart
from that of other species.
Children abound with uncontrolled emotion until their cortex develops sufficiently to inhibit their lower
Similar to Phineas Gage.
Cats deprived of their cortex were liable to make sudden, inappropriate, and ill-directed attacks called sham rage.
Became enlarged with the evolution of reptiles and provides the basis for all animal behaviour
evolved from this stock.
Devoted to scheduling and generating basic behaviours including prep and establishment of home
site, marking and patrolling of territory, etc.
When damaged, it becomes Huntingdon'schorea, a hereditary disease in which parents are unable to
organize daily activities.
Striatal regionis the earliest and most basic part of the forebrain (apart from the hypothalamus).
Maternal caregiving with infant attachment is what makes mammals different from reptiles.
Enable increasing sociality in mammals.
Limbicsystemhas close connections with mammals and the hypothalamus.
Prefrontal cortex (wanting and liking) has three areas of interest: the orbitofrontal region
(representation of goals), the dorsolateral prefrontal region, and the anterior cingulate and medial
First, patients with orbitofrontal damage have problems regulating their emotional behaviour
appropriate to the social context.
Second, imaging studies have begun to show that regions of the prefrontal cortex are activated
when people try to inhibit emotional responses to evocative stimuli.
Two kinds of evidence suggest that prefrontal cortex is important to regulation of emotion.
Neocortex is distinctive to higher mammals, has reached its highest level of development in human beings
(80% of the whole brain is taken up by it).
MacLean proposed that the human brain has three distinct systems, each of which developed in a distinct phase of
vertebrate evolution, with each system fulfilling new functions.
The emotions experienced with temporal lobe epilepsy are free-floating, completely unattached to any particular
thing, situation, or idea.
For each emotion, its circuitry creates a readiness for a set of species-characteristic brain processes and
behaviours, somewhat appropriate to the event that triggered them.
It is in these processes that the experience of a particular emotion arises, and the experience is something
we share with other animals.
Each of these emotions is associated with an urge to engage in a particular kind of action.
Each is adapted to circumstances that have recurred during mammalian evolution.
The MacLean-Panksepp conjectureis that experience of emotions is generated in the limbic system and that each
distinct emotion type is based on a particular system of limbic brain circuitry.
Amygdala receives input from regions of the cortex concerned with visual recognition of objects and those
concerned with sounds.
It also has close connections with the hypothalamus, which is concerned with emotional behaviour.
Amygdala receives visual and auditory input directly via the thalamus -not via routes that result in the
recognition of objects or events.
Emotional conditioning for negative stimuli is quick to be learned and slow to extinguish, one of the reasons
why anxiety can be such a severe and long-lasting clinical disorder.
Perception of fear faces activates regions of the left amygdala while perception of sad faces activates the
left amygdala and the right temporal lobe.
Amygdala is the central emotional computer of the brain: it is the appraisal mechanism for emotions.
Chapter 6. Emotions and the Brain
Monday, February 14, 2011
PSYC18 Page 1
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