Emotion

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Emotion can be considered in terms of a relation between an individual and the environment based on the individual's evaluation of the environment (is it pleasant or hostile, for example), disposition toward the environment (am I happy and attracted to the environment or fearful of it?), and the actual physical response to it. While analyzing the physiological bases of emotion, it is helpful to distinguish: (1) the anatomical sites where the emotional value of a stimulus is determined; (2) the hormonal, autonomic, and outward expressions and displays of response to the stimulus (the so-called emotional behavior); and (3) the conscious experience, or inner emotions, such as feelings of fear, love, anger, joy, anxiety, hope, and so on.

Although inner emotions seem to be handled by different areas of the brain (Figure 13-11), there is no

Neural Activity And Emotions

FIGURE 13-11

Computer image of neural activity during a sad thought.

Marcus E. Raichle, MD, Washington University School of Medicine.

FIGURE 13-11

Computer image of neural activity during a sad thought.

Marcus E. Raichle, MD, Washington University School of Medicine.

PART TWO Biological Control Systems

Vander et al.: Human Physiology: The Mechanism of Body Function, Eighth Edition

PART TWO Biological Control Systems

Frontal lobe

Neural Activity And Emotions

Region of nucleus accumbens

FIGURE 13-12

Brain structures involved in directed attention, emotion, motivation, and the affective disorders. The limbic system is shaded purple.

From: BRAIN, MIND, AND BEHAVIOR by Floyd E. Bloom and Arlyne Lazerson. Copyright ©1985, 1988 by Educational Broadcasting Corporation. Reprinted by permission of W. H. Freeman and Company.

Thalamus

Region of nucleus accumbens

Hippocampus

Olfactory bulb

FIGURE 13-12

Brain structures involved in directed attention, emotion, motivation, and the affective disorders. The limbic system is shaded purple.

From: BRAIN, MIND, AND BEHAVIOR by Floyd E. Bloom and Arlyne Lazerson. Copyright ©1985, 1988 by Educational Broadcasting Corporation. Reprinted by permission of W. H. Freeman and Company.

one, single "emotional system." The amygdala, a cluster of nuclei deep in the tip of each temporal lobe (Figure 13-12), and the region of association cortex on the lower surface of the frontal lobe, however, are central to most emotional states. The amygdala interacts with other parts of the brain via extensive reciprocal connections that can influence emotion in terms of external stimuli, decision making, memory, attention, homeostatic processes, and behavioral responses. For example, it sends output to the hypothalamus, which is central to autonomic and hormonal homeostatic processes.

Emotional behavior includes such complex behaviors as the passionate defense of a political ideology and such simple actions as laughing, sweating, crying, or blushing. Emotional behavior is achieved by the autonomic and somatic nervous systems under the influence of integrating centers such as those we just mentioned and provides an outward sign that the brain's "emotion systems" are activated.

The cerebral cortex plays a major role in directing many of the motor responses during emotional behavior (for example, to approach or avoid a situation).

Moreover, it is forebrain structures, including the cerebral cortex, that account for the modulation, direction, understanding, or even inhibition of emotional behaviors.

As for inner emotions, the limbic areas have been stimulated in awake human beings undergoing neu-rosurgery. These patients reported vague feelings of fear or anxiety during periods of stimulation to certain areas. Stimulation of other areas induced pleasurable sensations, which the subjects found hard to define precisely. The cerebral cortex, however, elaborates the conscious experience of inner emotion.

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