Center for Mind, Brain, and Culture

Emotions Conference (2 of 20)| Stephan Hamann | Neuroscience Perspectives on Psychological Theories of Emotion

Episode Summary

Emotions Conference (2 of 20) | Stephan Hamann | Neuroscience Perspectives on Psychological Theories of Emotion

Episode Notes

Neuroimaging and other neuroscience approaches have generated a wealth of new findings about the brain correlates of emotion, for example, changes in brain activity patterns corresponding to variations in emotion intensity and type. Such evidence is playing an increasingly important role in debates about the nature and organization of emotion, for example, whether emotions are best represented by a discrete set of emotions such as fear and anger, and the extent to which dedicated, evolutionarily-shaped neural circuits exist for emotion. The talk will focus on exploring new perspectives that neuroimaging has provided on the brain basis of human emotion and psychological emotion theories. Emotion views which propose that individual emotions or affective dimensions map directly onto the function of specific brain regions have long been influential in neuroscience and psychology, yet there is mounting neuroscience evidence that such one-to-one correspondences between structure and function are illusory and that emotions arise from the complex interactions of multiple brain regions. Neuroimaging findings provide clues about how these distributed brain representations create different emotions and how emotion states can be decoded from patterns of brain activity. Key implications of these findings for existing psychological theories of emotion will be discussed, as well as the need to corroborate correlational neuroimaging findings with other approaches that experimentally manipulate brain activity and structure. (February 11, 2016)