Brain Changes As A Function Of Emotional States

In spite of the above limitations, neuroimaging studies of human emotion have now produced a wealth of data that have helped to promote a paradigm shift from a prevailing focus on cognitive issues in human neuroscience toward an affect revolution. As reviewed below, the available evidence points to discrete regional effects in limbic and neocortical regions for different affective states and different aspects of emotion processing. Important issues of affective homeostasis and regulation, including the nature of cortical-subcortical interactions during intense emotive states, and the exact interplay of limbic and neocortical areas in emotion-cognition interactions are also beginning to get substantive attention (Liotti and Mayberg, 2001; Drevets and Reichle, 1998).

The relationship of the human neuroimaging findings to the core midbrain and brainstem emotional circuits identified in animal research (e.g., Panksepp, 1998a,b) are beginning to emerge largely from studies that have focused on generating intense affective states (Damasio et al., 2000; Liotti et al., 2000a). Although there are abundant gaps in our cross-species knowledge concerning homologies in the underlying brain circuits, existing evidence permits a provocative new model of cortical-subcortical interactions (summarized at the end of this chapter) that may help bridge between animal and human emotion studies.

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