Neural bases of the non-conscious perception of emotional signals

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2010 Oct;11(10):697-709. doi: 10.1038/nrn2889. Epub 2010 Sep 2.


Many emotional stimuli are processed without being consciously perceived. Recent evidence indicates that subcortical structures have a substantial role in this processing. These structures are part of a phylogenetically ancient pathway that has specific functional properties and that interacts with cortical processes. There is now increasing evidence that non-consciously perceived emotional stimuli induce distinct neurophysiological changes and influence behaviour towards the consciously perceived world. Understanding the neural bases of the non-conscious perception of emotional signals will clarify the phylogenetic continuity of emotion systems across species and the integration of cortical and subcortical activity in the human brain.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior / physiology
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology
  • Consciousness / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Perception / physiology*