The evolving neurobiology of gut feelings

Prog Brain Res. 2000;122:195-206. doi: 10.1016/s0079-6123(08)62139-1.


The bi-directional communication between limbic regions and the viscera play a central role in the generation and expression of emotional responses and associated emotional feelings. The response of different viscera to distinct, emotion-specific patterns of autonomic output is fed back to the brain, in particular to the cingulofrontal convergence region. Even though this process unfolds largely without conscious awareness, it plays an important role in emotional function and may influence rational decision making in the healthy individual. Alterations in this bi-directional process such as peripheral pathologies within the gut or alterations at the brain level may explain the close association between certain affective disorders and functional visceral syndromes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Psychophysiology*
  • Visceral Afferents / physiology*