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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.
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 chapter reviews behavioral and neuroimaging data illustrating the impact of threat and other emotional signals on attention and perception. It presents both current models and remaining issues concerning the brain mechanisms subserving these effects. A key issue in the framework described here is that perception can be modulated by multiple sources simultaneously, including not only endogenous, exogenous, or object-based attention but also emotional feedback signals from the amygdala, together with other emotion-processing regions. Amygdala responses and its projections to sensory areas can be regulated by signals from distinct brain areas, producing different biasing effects according to the context. The central amygdala has strong outputs to the sympathetic pathways and locus coeruleus in the brainstem. Just as attention can be influenced by feature- or object-based effects, reflecting the readiness of our perceptual systems to preferentially encode certain aspects of sensory, it is also influenced by emotion-based or value-based representations.
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.