Neural systems for recognizing emotion

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2002 Apr;12(2):169-77. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(02)00301-x.


Recognition of emotion draws on a distributed set of structures that include the occipitotemporal neocortex, amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex and right frontoparietal cortices. Recognition of fear may draw especially on the amygdala and the detection of disgust may rely on the insula and basal ganglia. Two important mechanisms for recognition of emotions are the construction of a simulation of the observed emotion in the perceiver, and the modulation of sensory cortices via top-down influences.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Basal Ganglia / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Facial Expression
  • Fear / physiology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Humans
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology