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PSYC18H3 (275)
Chapter 5

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC18H3
Professor
Gerald Cupchik
Semester
Winter

Description
Chapter 6: Emotions and the Brain - brain regions and neurotransmitters are intimately involved in emotion - How do brain mechanisms of emotion work? o Human brain = 100 billion neurons, 10 thousand – 150 thousand synapses o Synapse: small gap at the end of a neuron that allows information to pass from one neuron to the next o Neuroimaging: a machine that monitors biochemical events in a series of conceptual slices through person’s brain, visual images of brain constructed  shows which regions have been metabolically most active  PET (Positron Emission Tomography)  fMRI ( fuctional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) o shows brain activity changing over time in the course of different emotional states o study emotional affects through: anatomy, lesions, stimulations, pharmacology, electrical recording o hindbrain: includes regions that control basic physiological processes o medulla: regulates cardiovascular activity o pon: controls human sleep o cerebellum: involved in controlling motor movement o forebrain:  thalamus: integrates sensory information  hippocampus: critical for memory processes  hypothalamus: regulates important biological functions like eating, sexual behaviour, aggression, bodily temperature  limbic system: has structures involved in emotion like the amygdala • amygdala: the cortex which most sets the human brain apart from other species • associated with our ability to lead complex social lives  frontal lobes: involved in planning and intentional action, emotion regulation o nerve messages are carried by electric and chemical signals  sensory receptors excited by a stimuli o Cannon: cortex inhibits expression of “sham rage” (cats + lesion + rage/attacks) o Stimulating the hypothalamus = anger - The limbic system: o Controls the autonomic nervous system + hormonal system (pituitary gland) o Neural activity in the cortex decreases when emotions are experienced, limbic system activated (PET) o Maclean: human forebrain includes three distinct systems, each developed in a distinct phase of vertebrate evolution, with each system fulfilling new functions related to its species-characteristic repertoire  Striatal region: (stream of movement) devoted to scheduling and generating basic behaviours such as preparation and establishment of a home site, marking/patrolling of territory, formalized fighting in defence of territory, foraging, hunting, hoarding, forming social groups (hierarchies, greeting, grooming, mating, flocking, migration) • Humans: damage in striatal region  Huntingdon’s chorea (patients unable to organize daily activities) • Reptiles have it  Neocortex: stream of thought • Distinctive to higher mammals • 80% of the whole human brain  Limbic system: stream of feeling • Reptiles do not have a limbic system (evolutionary difference between reptiles & mammals) • Mammals have it, they are generally social creatures o Stimulation of septal parts delivered rewarding effects + induces the tendency to approach o Temporal lobe epilepsy: nerve cells in limbic system in an “electrical storm” that spreads to involve a progressively larger area  Epileptic attacks  causes subjective states that include strong emotions  Feelings sometimes associated with motor automatism (kissing, flailing etc.) 1 o Experience of emotion generated in the limbic system  each distinct emotion type is based on a particular system of limbic brain circuitry  Experiences of emotion reflect desire to engage in action depending on situation  something we share with animals o Language enhances emotional relatedness - The amygdala as an emotional computer: o Amygdala is the appraisal mechanism for emotions  Automatic evaluation of events in relation to goals and concerns  assigning emotional significance to events  Activation to emotionally evocative stimuli o Connected to the visual and auditory cortex (via the thalamus) o Closely connected with the hypothalamus (part that deals with emotional behaviour) o Rewarding self-stimulation demonstrated in the amygdala o Pavlovian conditioning: conditioned stimulus (e.g. bell sound) + unconditioned stimulus (e.g meat/electric shock) = learned emotion about what signals the important event  Emotional conditioning  negative stimuli is quick to learn and slow to extinguish  ***hypothalamus and thalamus MUST be present to learn conditioning  Amygdala can receive sensory information that has not been processed by the cortex - **Interesting Note: young Black and White men participated in an experiment to identify faces of black/white males and females  after repeated views of the faces, amygdala activated (in fMRI) continually ONLY with faces that are not of one’s own ethic group  those of another group remain threatening o Amygdala activation in depression +negative emotion o Anderson and Phelps: Amygdala NOT INVOLVED IN THE EXPERIENCE OF EMOTIONS  Damage to amygdala does not impair patient’s expression of emotion - Prefrontal cortex, emotion, and emotion regulation: o “neocortex” or cortex is greatly enlarged compared to other mammals o Connected to amygdala o 3 regions of interest:  Orbitofrontal region: centrally involved in the representation of goals, rewards, and approach/withdrawal-related tendencies  Dosolateral prefrontal region  Anterior cingulated and medial frontal regions o Important to the regulation of emotional behaviour/emotions  Damage to orbitofrontal region = difficulty showing emotional reactions appropriate to social context (difficulty in regulating their emotional behaviour) • Difficulty empathizing with others, judging others’ emotions, engaging in tasteless or uncontrolled social behaviour o Activated when people try to inhibit emotional responses to evocative stimuli (dorsal and ventral regions of the left lateral prefrontal cortex + dorsal medial prefrontal cortex) - Lateralization effects and emotions: o Humans  information from the outside world crosses over to the opposite side of the brain (neural patheways of action are crossed) o Stroke:  Left-sided brain damage: right side of body is paralyzed +often some lost of language  Right-sided brain damage: left side of body is paralyzed + unable to recognize emotions of others + (maybe) difficulty recognizing facial expressions of emotion o RIGHT CORTEX:  Recognition of emotional expressions is better for faces in the left visual field
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