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Lane et al. emphasize the role of emotional arousal as a precipitating factor for successful psychotherapy. However, as therapy ensues, the arousal diminishes. How can the unfolding therapeutic process generate long-term memories for reconsolidated emotional material without the benefit of arousal? Studies investigating memory for emotionally regulated material provide some clues regarding the neural pathways that may underlie therapy-based memory reconsolidation.
In human language the mapping between symbol and meaning is arbitrary, and any symbol or set of letters may represent any object, action, or descriptor. As such, both the lexical meaning and the emotional meaning of words and sentences are entirely acquired through learning. This chapter reviews current empirical evidence on the processing of emotional content in human language. Regarding emotional semantics, the question of whether the right hemisphere plays a special role is of considerable theoretical interest because of its implications for the organization of the semantic system in general. The temporal dynamics of emotional language processing is also discussed here. Unlike lesion studies, functional neuroimaging studies generally do not indicate a pronounced role of the right hemisphere in the processing of emotional semantics. The chapter outlines how the processing of emotional language content differs from the processing of semantically neutral language.
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