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The Brain Regions And Neuronal Basis Of Emotions

 Jun 16, 2022

Since the Early days, a lot of researchers have explored that, how the brain generates emotions in psychological science. With an increase in the studies of affective neuroscience in the last decade, scientists are very curious to answer these questions. A meta-analytic summary on the emotions with the effect of the human neuroimaging literature indicates the direction. After comparing the locationist approach (A hypothesis that distinct brain regions are associated with certain discrete emotion categories) with the other psychological constructionist approach (A hypothesis that general brain networks are associated with discrete emotion categories) to know better about the brain basis of emotions. Both the hypothesis of brain emotion, locationist and psychological constructionist report meta-analytic findings which have these hypotheses (Dr. Kristen).


Overall, discrete emotion categories can also be specifically  and consistently localized to the different and specific brain regions. Evidence supported that a psychological constructionist approach to the mind: a group of different brain regions generally involved in basic psychological operations of emotional and non-emotional nature.  This is active during  perception and emotion experience throughout the discrete emotion categories (Dr Barret).

Summary of the region of brains which shows increase in activation and fluctuation during various mental states and manipulations:


OFC= orbitofrontal cortex; DMPFC=Dorsomedial Prefrontal Cortex; PAG=periaqueductal gray; VLPFC=ventrolateral prefrontal cortex; ATL=anterior temporal lobe;

Most notably, it was observed that the regular increases in activation in the brain regions implicated in language (retrieval and representation of semantic concepts), conceptualization (prior episodic experiences simulations), and executive attention (working memory and volitional attention), suggest that these cognitive functions play a crucial and regular role in perceptions of emotion and constructing experiences. For example, when study participants perceived emotion on others’ faces, an increased activation in the Dorsomedial Prefrontal Cortex was observed. Increased activation in the anterior temporal lobe (ATL) was observed when individuals focused on emotional stimulation. Increased activity in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) occurred when participants focused on perceived instances of emotion on people face or the affective content of feelings. When participants understand the emotional content of a stimulus an Increased activity in the DLPFC was found. Activity in these different brain regions is therefore associated to producing emotionan instances (Dr Kober, Dr. Wager).