A model of neurovisceral integration in emotion regulation and dysregulation

J Affect Disord. 2000 Dec;61(3):201-16. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(00)00338-4.


In the present paper we present the outlines of a model that integrates autonomic, attentional, and affective systems into a functional and structural network that may help to guide us in our understanding of emotion regulation and dysregulation. We will emphasize the relationship between attentional regulation and affective processes and propose a group of underlying physiological systems that serve to integrate these functions in the service of self-regulation and adaptability of the organism. We will attempt to place this network in the context of dynamical systems models which involve feedback and feedforward circuits with special attention to negative feedback mechanisms, inhibitory processes, and their role in response selection. From a systems perspective, inhibitory processes can be viewed as negative feedback circuits that allow for the interruption of ongoing behavior and the re-deployment of resources to other tasks. When these negative feedback mechanisms are compromised, positive feedback loops may develop as a result (of dis-inhibition). From this perspective, the relative sympathetic activation seen in anxiety disorders may represent dis-inhibition due to faulty inhibitory mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Arousal / physiology
  • Attention / physiology
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiopathology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Feedback / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / physiopathology
  • Viscera / innervation*