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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What Emotions Are (and Aren’t)

By Lisa Feldman Barrett
The New York Times
Originally published July 31, 2015

Here is an excerpt:

Brain regions like the amygdala are certainly important to emotion, but they are neither necessary nor sufficient for it. In general, the workings of the brain are not one-to-one, whereby a given region has a distinct psychological purpose. Instead, a single brain area like the amygdala participates in many different mental events, and many different brain areas are capable of producing the same outcome. Emotions like fear and anger, my lab has found, are constructed by multipurpose brain networks that work together.

If emotions are not distinct neural entities, perhaps they have a distinct bodily pattern — heart rate, respiration, perspiration, temperature and so on?

Again, the answer is no.

The entire article is here.
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