Functional neuroimaging studies of human emotions

CNS Spectr. 2004 Apr;9(4):258-66. doi: 10.1017/s1092852900009196.


Neuroimaging studies with positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging have begun to describe the functional neuroanatomy of human emotion. Taken separately, specific studies vary in task dimensions and in type(s) of emotion studied, and are limited by statistical power and sensitivity. By examining findings across studies in a meta-analysis, we sought to determine if common or segregated patterns of activations exist in different emotions and across various emotional tasks. We surveyed over 55 positron emission tomography and functional magnetic resonance imaging activation studies, which investigated emotion in healthy subjects. This paper will review observations in several regions of interest in limbic (eg, amygdala, anterior cingulate cortex) and paralimbic (eg, medial prefrontal cortex, insula) brain regions in emotional responding.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Affect / physiology*
  • Amygdala / physiology
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*