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, 3 (1), 11-21

The Functional Neuroanatomy of Emotion and Affective Style

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The Functional Neuroanatomy of Emotion and Affective Style

RJ Davidson et al. Trends Cogn Sci.

Abstract

Recently, there has been a convergence in lesion and neuroimaging data in the identification of circuits underlying positive and negative emotion in the human brain. Emphasis is placed on the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the amygdala as two key components of this circuitry. Emotion guides action and organizes behavior towards salient goals. To accomplish this, it is essential that the organism have a means of representing affect in the absence of immediate elicitors. It is proposed that the PFC plays a crucial role in affective working memory. The ventromedial sector of the PFC is most directly involved in the representation of elementary positive and negative emotional states while the dorsolateral PFC may be involved in the representation of the goal states towards which these elementary positive and negative states are directed. The amygdala has been consistently identified as playing a crucial role in both the perception of emotional cues and the production of emotional responses, with some evidence suggesting that it is particularly involved with fear-related negative affect. Individual differences in amygdala activation are implicated in dispositional affective styles and increased reactivity to negative incentives. The ventral striatum, anterior cingulate and insular cortex also provide unique contributions to emotional processing.

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