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Psychology (9,685)
PSYC18H3 (274)
G Cupchik (49)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6: Emotions and the Brain

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G Cupchik

6 Emotions and the Brain y Awakenings 1973 by Oliver Sacks describes treatment of the survivors of the sleeping sickness encephalitis lethargica a disease that started in Europe in the winter of 191617 and spread throughout the world y Caused by a virus that attacked the striatal regions of the brain victims fell into a suspended state sitting motionless and speechless all day observing but doing nothing y A precursor of the transmitter substance dopamine was discovered that became the drug LDopa y With its administration some transmitter functions in the striatal system were restored people in suspended animation experienced awakenings they began to act spontaneously and schedule their daily activities y With this restoration not only did there arise emotions of joy and excitement with emergence from decades of lethargy but the drug gave rise to excitements mood swings and other emotional effect y Neural messages started to traverse longdormant nerve pathways y Such emotions passions and appetites sexual and otherwise were common with the administration of LDopa y May suppose that the effects occurred because the neural activity caused by the drug had as well as restoring partial function to the damaged striatal region gusts of nerve impulses were sent to the nearby limbic system where experiences of emotions arise y The above illustrates how brain regions and neurotransmitters are intimately involved in emotion How do brain mechanisms of emotion work y Neuroanatomists mapped the brain and traced pathways the anatomical methods of neuroimaging have become widely used y In these a machine monitors biochemical events in a series of conceptual slices through a persons brain while a computer takes this information and constructs visual images of the brain to show which regions have been metabolically most active usually noninvasive y Include Positron Emission Tomography PET and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging fMRI in which movie pictures are constructed to show brain activity changing over time in the course maybe of different emotional states y Neuroscientists study emotional effects of accidental damage to the brain while others made lesions deliberately in the brains of animals for experimental purposesstimulated parts of the brain electrically and with pharmacologically active substances that affect y Neurophysiologiststhe chemical mechanisms of neurons applied either generally as drugs or locally to small regions of the brain others recorded the electrical activity of single neurons or groups of neurons y Anatomy lesions stimulation pharmacology electrical recording y Hindbrain regions that control basic physiological processes o Medulla regulates cardiovascular activityo Pons controls human sleep o Cerebellum is involved in controlling motor movement y Forebrain o Thalamus involved in integrating sensory information o Hippocampus critical for memory processes o Hypothalamus regulates important biological functions like eating sexual behavior aggression and bodily temperatureo Limbic system structures involved in emotions like the amygdalaand the cortex which most sets the human brain apart from that of other speciesGrowth of cortex in humans associated with our abilities to lead complex social lives Dunbar 2003Frontal lobes of the cortex are involved in planning and intentional action as well in as emotion regulationEarly research on brain lesions and stimulation y First substantial theory of the brain mechanisms of emotion was proposed by Cannon y Bard 1928Cannons graduate studentindicated that cats deprived of their cortex were liable to make sudden inappropriate and illdirected attacks y Phenomenon was called sham rage Cannon 1931
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