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      The Experience of Emotion

      1 , 2 , 3 , 4
      Annual Review of Psychology
      Annual Reviews

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          Abstract

          Experiences of emotion are content-rich events that emerge at the level of psychological description, but must be causally constituted by neurobiological processes. This chapter outlines an emerging scientific agenda for understanding what these experiences feel like and how they arise. We review the available answers to what is felt (i.e., the content that makes up an experience of emotion) and how neurobiological processes instantiate these properties of experience. These answers are then integrated into a broad framework that describes, in psychological terms, how the experience of emotion emerges from more basic processes. We then discuss the role of such experiences in the economy of the mind and behavior.

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          Most cited references143

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          Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body.

          Converging evidence indicates that primates have a distinct cortical image of homeostatic afferent activity that reflects all aspects of the physiological condition of all tissues of the body. This interoceptive system, associated with autonomic motor control, is distinct from the exteroceptive system (cutaneous mechanoreception and proprioception) that guides somatic motor activity. The primary interoceptive representation in the dorsal posterior insula engenders distinct highly resolved feelings from the body that include pain, temperature, itch, sensual touch, muscular and visceral sensations, vasomotor activity, hunger, thirst, and 'air hunger'. In humans, a meta-representation of the primary interoceptive activity is engendered in the right anterior insula, which seems to provide the basis for the subjective image of the material self as a feeling (sentient) entity, that is, emotional awareness.
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            Neurobiology of emotion perception I: The neural basis of normal emotion perception.

            There is at present limited understanding of the neurobiological basis of the different processes underlying emotion perception. We have aimed to identify potential neural correlates of three processes suggested by appraisalist theories as important for emotion perception: 1) the identification of the emotional significance of a stimulus; 2) the production of an affective state in response to 1; and 3) the regulation of the affective state. In a critical review, we have examined findings from recent animal, human lesion, and functional neuroimaging studies. Findings from these studies indicate that these processes may be dependent upon the functioning of two neural systems: a ventral system, including the amygdala, insula, ventral striatum, and ventral regions of the anterior cingulate gyrus and prefrontal cortex, predominantly important for processes 1 and 2 and automatic regulation of emotional responses; and a dorsal system, including the hippocampus and dorsal regions of anterior cingulate gyrus and prefrontal cortex, predominantly important for process 3. We suggest that the extent to which a stimulus is identified as emotive and is associated with the production of an affective state may be dependent upon levels of activity within these two neural systems.
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              The functional neuroanatomy of the human orbitofrontal cortex: evidence from neuroimaging and neuropsychology.

              The human orbitofrontal cortex is an important brain region for the processing of rewards and punishments, which is a prerequisite for the complex and flexible emotional and social behaviour which contributes to the evolutionary success of humans. Yet much remains to be discovered about the functions of this key brain region, and new evidence from functional neuroimaging and clinical neuropsychology is affording new insights into the different functions of the human orbitofrontal cortex. We review the neuroanatomical and neuropsychological literature on the human orbitofrontal cortex, and propose two distinct trends of neural activity based on a meta-analysis of neuroimaging studies. One is a mediolateral distinction, whereby medial orbitofrontal cortex activity is related to monitoring the reward value of many different reinforcers, whereas lateral orbitofrontal cortex activity is related to the evaluation of punishers which may lead to a change in ongoing behaviour. The second is a posterior-anterior distinction with more complex or abstract reinforcers (such as monetary gain and loss) represented more anteriorly in the orbitofrontal cortex than simpler reinforcers such as taste or pain. Finally, we propose new neuroimaging methods for obtaining further evidence on the localisation of function in the human orbitofrontal cortex.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annual Review of Psychology
                Annu. Rev. Psychol.
                Annual Reviews
                0066-4308
                1545-2085
                January 2007
                January 2007
                : 58
                : 1
                : 373-403
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts 02467 and Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129; email:
                [2 ]Department of Psychology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109; email:
                [3 ]Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027; email:
                [4 ]Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305; email:
                Article
                10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085709
                1934613
                17002554
                1b8cddf9-6590-4770-8df9-517b8fafde68
                © 2007
                History

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