6

Brain Mechanisms and Emotion

CONTENTS

Historical Approaches to the Neuroscience of Emotion

Early Research on Brain Lesions and Stimulation

The Limbic System

Emotion and Subcortical Processes in the Brain

The Amygdala as an Emotional Computer

The Nucleus Accumbens, Dopamine, and the Opiates

Periaqueductal Gray

Emotion and Cortical Processes in the Brain

Cortex and Empathy

Prefrontal Cortex, Emotion, and Emotion Regulation

Anterior Cingulate and Social Pain

Lateralization Effects, Approach and Withdrawal, and Emotion

Neurochemicals and the Emotions

Serotonin

Oxytocin

Summary

To Think About and Discuss

Further Reading

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FIGURE 6.0 Image from a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study by Leah Somerville and Bill Kelley: coronal slice through the brain showing greater blood oxygen level–dependent response in the right amygdala (the white region indicated by the black arrow) when participants viewed faces previously associated with emotional information, in contrast to faces previously associated with neutral information.

Herein too may be felt the powerlessness of mere Logic … to resolve these problems which lie nearer to our hearts.

(George Boole, 1854, An Investigation of the Laws of Thought, p. 416)

In his book, Awakenings (1973), Oliver Sacks describes treatment of the survivors of the sleeping sickness (encephalitis lethargica), a disease that started in Europe in the ...

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