Emotion and Decision Making: Multiple Modulatory Neural Circuits

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2014;37:263-87. doi: 10.1146/annurev-neuro-071013-014119. Epub 2014 May 29.

Abstract

Although the prevalent view of emotion and decision making is derived from the notion that there are dual systems of emotion and reason, a modulatory relationship more accurately reflects the current research in affective neuroscience and neuroeconomics. Studies show two potential mechanisms for affect's modulation of the computation of subjective value and decisions. Incidental affective states may carry over to the assessment of subjective value and the decision, and emotional reactions to the choice may be incorporated into the value calculation. In addition, this modulatory relationship is reciprocal: Changing emotion can change choices. This research suggests that the neural mechanisms mediating the relation between affect and choice vary depending on which affective component is engaged and which decision variables are assessed. We suggest that a detailed and nuanced understanding of emotion and decision making requires characterizing the multiple modulatory neural circuits underlying the different means by which emotion and affect can influence choices.

Keywords: amygdala; insular cortex; mood; orbitofrontal cortex; stress; striatum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Emotions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Pathways / physiology