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Functional specialization does not require a one-to-one mapping between brain regions and emotions

  • Andrea Scarantino (a1)


Lindquist et al. have assumed that functional specialization requires a one-to-one mapping between brain regions and discrete emotions. This assumption is in tension with the fact that regions can have multiple functions in the context of different, possibly distributed, networks. Once we open the door to other forms of functional specialization, neuroimaging data no longer favor constructionist models over natural kind models.



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Barrett, L. F. (2005) Feeling is perceiving: Core affect and conceptualization in the experience of emotion. In: Emotions: Conscious and unconscious, ed. Barrett, L. F., Niedenthal, P. M. & Winkielman, P., pp. 255–84. Guilford Press.
Barrett, L. F. (2006a) Are emotions natural kinds? Perspectives on Psychological Science 1(1):2858. Available at:
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Pessoa, L. (2008) On the relationship between emotion and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 9(2):148–58.
Scarantino, A. (in press) How to define emotions scientifically. Emotion Review.


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