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  • Cited by 29
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
February 2013
Print publication year:
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Book description

Neuroscientific research on emotion has developed dramatically over the past decade. The cognitive neuroscience of human emotion, which has emerged as the new and thriving area of 'affective neuroscience', is rapidly rendering existing overviews of the field obsolete. This handbook provides a comprehensive, up-to-date and authoritative survey of knowledge and topics investigated in this cutting-edge field. It covers a range of topics, from face and voice perception to pain and music, as well as social behaviors and decision making. The book considers and interrogates multiple research methods, among them brain imaging and physiology measurements, as well as methods used to evaluate behavior and genetics. Editors Jorge Armony and Patrik Vuilleumier have enlisted well-known and active researchers from more than twenty institutions across three continents, bringing geographic as well as methodological breadth to the collection. This timely volume will become a key reference work for researchers and students in the growing field of neuroscience.


"This edited volume provides a welcome up-to-date review of current Literature in the neuroscience of emotion.... Twenty eight-chapters authored by established experts provide coverage that is both broad and deep.... Chapters are well organized into sections that help the reader find relevant information quickly.... The focus on human emotion, rather than on nonhuman models of affect, gives the book a necessary focus while still covering plenty of ground. True to the field, the chapters represent findings from a wide range of methodological techniques.... It can also serve as a useful companion to the other valuable handbooks about emotion that are not as neuroscience oriented.... Highly recommended..."
--R. Compton, Haverford College, CHOICE

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Page 1 of 2

  • Chapter 6 - Lesion Studies in Affective Neuroscience
    pp 154-168
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    This chapter considers major current models of emotion by using an affective neuroscience approach. It provides a global survey of historical and conceptual issues that have guided scientific inquiries about emotion. Although the scope of affective neuroscience research is not limited to emotion but includes other affective phenomena such as moods, preferences, and affective dispositions, the chapter examines models of emotion because they are more typically the focus of affective neuroscience research. It explains terminological and taxonomy-related issues and suggests what seems to be a relatively consensual definition of emotion. The chapter discusses the major models of emotion in modern research and the contrast in their focus on different phenomena: expression, action tendencies, bodily reaction, feeling, and cognition. It considers the case of the amygdala to illustrate the potential of the affective neuroscience approach to constrain theoretical models of emotion.
  • Chapter 7 - The Facial Expression of Emotions
    pp 171-197
  • View abstract


    The goal of affective neuroscience research is to integrate as many measures as possible when attempting to gauge affective experience. This chapter examines the value of objective and subjective measures used in affective neuroscience. It presents examples that showcase the use of the response indices, illustrating how objective and subjective measures operate uniquely and offer opportunities to investigate the properties of emotion from different vantage points. The chapter addresses some limitations to measurement and comments on work that is pushing research forward by combining measures with inventive methods. Future research that investigates deeply experiential aspects of the human emotional life will benefit from employing a network of measures to provide a more in-depth understanding of the neurophenomenology of emotion. The challenge before affective neuroscientists is to include and integrate multiple indices from both subjective and objective categories of measurement to best capture the mental and neural bases of emotional life.
  • Chapter 8 - Bodily Expressions of Emotion
    pp 198-222
  • VisualCues and Neural Mechanisms
  • View abstract


    In the interaction of emotion and physiology, two important conceptualizations can be distinguished: efferent and afferent effects of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) in emotion. Although the afferent and efferent definitions of emotional response are not mutually exclusive, the large majority of research on emotion has been based on the efferent conceptualization. This chapter draws on research findings in support of each conceptualization. It first considers the anatomy and central control of the ANS. The anatomical structure of the ANS and its central control constitute the basis for understanding autonomic effects of emotion. The chapter talks about neural feedback mechanisms, although hormonal, chemical, and physical feedback mechanisms may also operate through interactions with central components of this neural pathway. Various neural feedback mechanisms exist that allow for the transmission of information on homeostatic parameters. The exact nature and role of peripheral physiological responses to emotional feelings remain to be determined.
  • Chapter 9 - Pain and the Emotional Responses to Noxious Stimuli
    pp 223-240
  • View abstract


    Recent years have seen exciting developments in virtually every aspect of electroencephalography (EEG)/ magneto-encephalography (MEG) research of emotion, ranging from innovation in data-recording techniques to novel experimental paradigms and sophisticated analysis techniques. A major advantage of electrophysiological time series is that they directly reflect neuroelectric processes rather than blood flow (such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)) or metabolic processes (such as positron emission tomography (PET)), which makes them unique indices of neuronal activity. This chapter considers the specific properties of the neural population activity that underlies EEG/MEG recordings. EEG and MEG are safe and noninvasive procedures that are associated with minimum discomfort to the participant. The chapter discusses a few interesting issues that inform but also constrain the use of frequencydomain techniques in affective neuroscience research. Electrophysiological studies of emotion may move beyond a descriptive analysis of waveforms to consider the data as measures of in-vivo neurophysiology.
  • Chapter 10 - Examining Emotion Perception and Elicitation via Olfaction
    pp 241-264
  • View abstract


    It took almost a century and several discoveries in the seemingly unrelated field of quantum physics to allow researchers to be able to use changes in blood flow and volume to identify areas of neural activity. The most widely used techniques to do so include positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In addition to measuring task-induced changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) or cerebral metabolism, PET imaging can be used to directly and selectively assess the action of different neurotransmitters in the human brain in vivo. The change in the BOLD signal triggered by a brief neural event is known as the hemodynamic response (HDR). It is important to keep in mind that, as is the case with any experimental method, there are limitations and potential pitfalls that one needs to consider when designing, analyzing, or interpreting experiments using PET or fMRI.
  • Chapter 11 - Emotional Voices
    pp 265-285
  • The Tone of (True) Feelings
  • View abstract


    This chapter defines the main experimental designs possible with lesion methods and discusses both the strengths and weaknesses of these techniques. Lesion studies remain a crucial part of the experimental toolbox in this field because of the nature of evidence that can be obtained with this method. These studies offer particular inferential strengths, complementing other approaches. Human lesion studies are at best quasiexperimental. Most studies in affective neuroscience make use of novel behavioral measures and so usually require a reference group made up of healthy subjects demographically similar to the target patient population to help interpret the performance of the patient group. Region-of-interest (ROI) studies often involve both a healthy reference group and a brain-damaged control group. Lesion studies have made many interesting contributions to affective neuroscience and are especially important in building a converging evidence base for the brain basis of complex processes.
  • CHAPTER 13 - Love Letters and Hate Mail
    pp 304-329
  • CerebralProcessing of Emotional Language Content
  • View abstract


    This chapter explains how facial expressions of emotions are produced and which physical features of the face convey emotional expressions. It talks about neural substrates of the perception of emotion from faces, addressing the brain regions involved and the temporal dynamics of their responses. The chapter discusses other aspects of faces that are related to emotion perception and elicitation. It reviews two main types of models that have been proposed to classify the facial expressions of emotions. In addition, the role of the amygdala extends to the perception of emotion from other cues than faces. The chapter further reviews the role of the main regions involved in the perception of emotions from faces. It talks about the pulvinar, and then describes the involvement of the regions classically associated with the perceptual analysis of faces. The chapter briefly mentions other cortical regions that have general roles in emotion.
  • Chapter 14 - Affective Biases in Attention and Perception
    pp 331-356
  • View abstract


    Emotions are often expressed or signaled via postures and movements of the whole body or its parts. This chapter surveys the smaller but important corpus of research devoted to investigating the perception of bodily expressed emotions and its neural substrate. It focuses on the visual cues underlying body and bodily emotion perception. The chapter begins with a consideration of what constitutes a bodily expression or signal of emotion, highlighting a difference between actions that directly convey an emotion and actions that do not but are nevertheless performed in an emotional way. It then briefly summarises studies that have demonstrated the ability of human observers to distinguish between and identify a range of emotions from body posture and movement stimuli. The chapter surveys the current state of knowledge about how the brain processes visual information relating to other people's bodies and bodily expressions of emotion.
  • Chapter 15 - Top-Down Attention and the Processing of Emotional Stimuli
    pp 357-374
  • View abstract


    There are several features that characterize emotions and are given different weights in theories of emotions. Emotions are triggered by objects or events that are immediately present or evoked mentally. Functional imaging of pain in humans is based firmly on the fundamental knowledge acquired in animal studies on the transmission and integration of noxious information at multiple levels of the central nervous system (CNS). The relative neurofunctional specificity of pain processes may be found at the level of the neural networks within each area that are activated by painful stimuli and reflect the underlying factors that make pain highly salient based on its strong intensity and inherent affective valence. Acute pain is generally accompanied by a robust autonomic activation. The analysis of neurophysiological activity underlying nociception and pain must consider the multiple responses that accompany painful experiences and are not necessarily encoded adequately in subjective responses.
  • Chapter 16 - EmotionRegulation
    pp 375-400
  • View abstract


    In recent years, the development of sophisticated imaging technologies has significantly advanced the understanding of both human olfactory perception and affective neuroscience. This chapter discusses the basic properties of olfactory perception to illustrate how the anatomy and function of olfaction and emotion are closely intertwined. It focuses on olfactory hedonic perception and highlights mechanisms of basic emotional processing. The chapter explains how an examination of limbic brain areas involved in odor perception has resulted in considerable progress in delineating the neural mechanisms that support different aspects of emotion coding and emotion-related learning in the amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, and olfactory cortices. It talks about the malleability of olfactory hedonic perception. According to Rouby et al. odorhedonic judgments are influenced by nonhedonic characteristics of the odor, characteristics of the perceiver, and context of the stimulus or perceiver. Olfactory research has thus brought new insights into mechanisms of emotion-cognition interactions.
  • Chapter 17 - NeuralMechanisms Underlying Value-Based Decision Making
    pp 401-416
  • View abstract


    This chapter explains how human beings infer emotional meaning from vocal signals. It reviews research on cerebral processes that contribute to the decoding of emotions from vocal cues such as speech prosody or nonverbal vocalizations like laughter. With the advent of modern brain imaging techniques, research has achieved substantial progress in delineating the neurobiological bases of (emotional) voice perception. In particular, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has contributed greatly to the understanding of how the brain processes emotional information in human voices. Despite the methodological limitations, however, empirical evidence and hypotheses reviewed in the chapter suggest the idea of two distinct modes of speech prosody processing, each implemented differently in the human brain: explicit processing and implicit processing. Suppression of limbic activation reflects a recruitment of emotion regulation processes that attenuate the automatic induction of emotional reactions associated with limbic activation in order to avoid emotional interference in goal-directed behavior.
  • Chapter 18 - NeuralBasis of Human Fear Learning
    pp 419-443
  • View abstract


    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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