Friday, May 13, 2022

Where Are Emotions In The Brain

Don't Miss

How Emotions Are Made

Emotions and the Brain

I regularly get this question from clients: How do we measure the emotions of our respondents? At this point, I explain that in order to get a good picture of the respondents emotional response, you can use The Observer XT to monitor their overt behavior, FaceReader to measure their facial expressions, and psychophysiological measures to get an idea of what occurs on the inside.

After data has been acquired using one of these tools, another question often pops up: Why does FaceReader measure so much anger? Our product / website was not designed to elicit anger?!

The Old Brain: Wired For Survival

The brain stem is the oldest and innermost region of the brain. Its designed to control the most basic functions of life, including breathing, attention, and motor responses . The brain stem begins where the spinal cord enters the skull and forms the medulla, the area of the brain stem that controls heart rate and breathing. In many cases the medulla alone is sufficient to maintain life animals that have the remainder of their brains above the medulla severed are still able to eat, breathe, and even move. The spherical shape above the medulla is the pons, a structure in the brain stem that helps control the movements of the body, playing a particularly important role in balance and walking.

Running through the medulla and the pons is a long, narrow network of neurons known as the reticular formation. The job of the reticular formation is to filter out some of the stimuli that are coming into the brain from the spinal cord and to relay the remainder of the signals to other areas of the brain. The reticular formation also plays important roles in walking, eating, sexual activity, and sleeping. When electrical stimulation is applied to the reticular formation of an animal, it immediately becomes fully awake, and when the reticular formation is severed from the higher brain regions, the animal falls into a deep coma.

Try On New Perspectives

According to the Theory of Constructed Emotion, the concepts we hold directly impact our body budgets, and therefore our experience of emotions. Concepts dont exist in an abstract, rarified realm separate from biology. Learning or changing concepts directly impacts how our body functions minute to minute.

This can include anything from travel in foreign countries, to spending time with different kinds of people, to reading literature, to trying new experiences. These experiences expose us to different ways of meeting human needs that we may want to borrow for ourselves.

Read Also: How To Relieve Brain Freeze

You May Like: Does Prevagen Help With Memory Loss

Research Focus: Identifying The Unique Functions Of The Left And Right Hemispheres Using Split

We have seen that the left hemisphere of the brain primarily senses and controls the motor movements on the right side of the body, and vice versa. This fact provides an interesting way to study brain lateralization the idea that the left and the right hemispheres of the brain are specialized to perform different functions. Gazzaniga, Bogen, and Sperry studied a patient, known as W. J., who had undergone an operation to relieve severe seizures. In this surgery, the region that normally connects the two halves of the brain and supports communication between the hemispheres, known as the corpus callosum, is severed. As a result, the patient essentially becomes a person with two separate brains. Because the left and right hemispheres are separated, each hemisphere develops a mind of its own, with its own sensations, concepts, and motivations .

Although Gazzanigas research demonstrated that the brain is in fact lateralized, such that the two hemispheres specialize in different activities, this does not mean that when people behave in a certain way or perform a certain activity they are only using one hemisphere of their brains at a time. That would be drastically oversimplifying the concept of brain differences. We normally use both hemispheres at the same time, and the difference between the abilities of the two hemispheres is not absolute .

The Effects On Memory

Emotional areas of the teenaged brain

Emotion affects the way autobiographical memories are encoded and retrieved. Emotional memories are reactivated more, they are remembered better and have more attention devoted to them. Through remembering our past achievements and failures, autobiographical memories affect how we perceive and feel about ourselves.

In the late 19th century, the most influential theorists were William James and Carl Lange . James was an American psychologist and philosopher who wrote about educational psychology, psychology of religious experience/mysticism, and the philosophy of pragmatism. Lange was a Danish physician and psychologist. Working independently, they developed the JamesâLange theory, a hypothesis on the origin and nature of emotions. The theory states that within human beings, as a response to experiences in the world, the autonomic nervous system creates physiological events such as muscular tension, a rise in heart rate, perspiration, and dryness of the mouth. Emotions, then, are feelings which come about as a result of these physiological changes, rather than being their cause.

Silvan Tomkins developed the affect theory and script theory. The affect theory introduced the concept of basic emotions, and was based on the idea that the dominance of the emotion, which he called the affected system, was the motivating force in human life.

Influential theorists who are still active include the following psychologists, neurologists, philosophers, and sociologists:

Read Also: Fluoride Classified As A Neurotoxin

Emotions Of Beautiful And Sublime

DL model of KI inherently involves emotional signals related to satisfaction or dissatisfaction of KI. These emotions are modeled by changes in the similarity between bottom-up and top-down signals, in other world by KI satisfaction. We perceive these emotions as feelings of harmony or disharmony between our knowledge and the world or within the knowledge these emotions related to knowledge are called aesthetic emotions . KI and aesthetic emotions drive the brain-mind to improve mental models-concepts for better correspondence to surrounding objects and events. This section relates aesthetic emotions to the beautiful and sublime according to .

Cognitive science and psychology for decades have been at a complete loss when trying to identify cognitive functions of the highest human abilities, the most important and cherished ability to create and perceive the beautiful. Its role in the working of the mind was not understood. Aesthetic emotions discussed above are often below the level of consciousness at lower levels of the mind hierarchy. Simple harmony is an elementary aesthetic emotion related to improvement of mental models of objects. Higher aesthetic emotions are related to the development and improvement of more complex higher models at higher levels of the mind hierarchy. At higher levels, when understanding important concepts, aesthetic emotions reach consciousness.

What Does The Brain Look Like While Processing And Regulating Emotions

Now, in the first section, you learned about feelings, which scientists call emotions. You heard that emotions can lead to a reaction in your body. You also know that sometimes we experience several emotions at once and that sometimes it is necessary to control a feeling and not to act on it. This process is called emotion regulation. In the second section, you learned how an MRI camera works and how it can be used to take images of the structure and function of the brain. In the next section, we want to combine these two things and talk about the parts of the brain that are responsible for processing and regulating emotion.

  • Figure 3 – The emotion processing network includes several areas of the brain.
  • Some of these areas are shown here shaded in blue and you can see their different jobs: the amygdala recognizes and sorts the emotions before transporting them to other areas. In the picture, this transportation is visualized by a train driving along the dotted track line to the most frontal part of the brain. Once the information arrives there, the prefrontal cortex and the cingulate cortex act as a control center , deciding what has to be done next with the incoming emotions. Many areas work together to process an emotion! .

Recommended Reading: What Does The Hippocampus Do In The Brain

The Reticular Activating System

The reticular activating system is a network of neurons that runs through the core of the hindbrain and into the midbrain and forebrain. The RAS is made up of the midbrain reticular formation, the mesencephalic nucleus , the thalamic intralaminar nucleus , the dorsal hypothalamus, and the tegmentum.

The reticular activating system: The reticular activating system is involved in arousal and attention, sleep and wakefulness, and the control of reflexes.

The RAS is involved with arousal and attention, sleep and wakefulness, and the control of reflexes. The RAS is believed to first arouse the cortex and then maintain its wakefulness so that sensory information and emotion can be interpreted more effectively. It helps us fulfill goals by directing our concentration toward them and plays a role in individuals responses to situations and events.

Dont Miss: Brain Freeze Cures

Which Area Of The Brain Controls Emotions

How Does the Brain Regulate Emotion?

The main area of the brain that is involved with emotions is called the limbic system. It is also responsible for our memories and arousal. All parts of the limbic system are connected through a variety of neural pathways. This part of the brain is what enables us to react to situations when we feel a certain way.

The limbic system, therefore, is the part of the brain that is thought to control our emotions and the brain functions that coincide with them. It is said to consist of four main parts:

  • Hypothalamus: this part of the limbic system is responsible for regulating our body temperature, releasing hormones, and plays a key part in our emotions and our sex drive.
  • Amygdala: the amygdala is what helps us to respond to emotions including anger, fear, sadness in order to protect us. The amygdala also retains memories of emotions experienced and when they occurred. This helps us to prepare when similar experiences happen in the future.
  • Thalamus: the thalamus is where we detect and respond to our senses and is linked with the cerebrum which is where thinking and movement are triggered.
  • Hippocampus: the hippocampus plays a key part in our retention and retrieval of memories.

Read Also: Does Everyone Get Brain Freeze

Recommended Reading: What Does Fluoride Do To Your Brain

What Are The Parts Of The Brain

The various parts of the brain work together to conduct everyday thought processes and necessary functions such as breathing. Essentially, the brain is made up of the forebrain, the midbrain and the hindbrain. Each part consists of different structures that allow them to conduct different tasks and handle varying responsibilities.

Made up of the cerebrum and the structures within the brain referred to as the inner brain, the forebrain is the largest part of the brain. Connected by bundles of nerves, the cerebrum is made up of two hemispheres, referred to as the right hemisphere and left hemisphere. Activities controlled by the left hemisphere include movements by the right side of the body and the ability to form thoughts. The right side of the brain controls movements on the left side of the body and allows you to think abstractly.

Within each hemisphere of the cerebrum are lobes with specialized functions. Frontal lobes handle planning and scheduling tasks. Parietal lobes allow you to experience taste, touch and temperature. Responsible for processing images and storing them in memory are the occipital lobes. Finally, your temporal lobes allow you to process music and form memories related to musical activities.

Recommended Reading: Explain Why Brain Freeze Is A Type Of Referred Pain

Ventricles And Cerebrospinal Fluid

Deep in the brain are four open areas with passageways between them. They also open into the central spinal canal and the area beneath arachnoid layer of the meninges.

The ventricles manufacture cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, a watery fluid that circulates in and around the ventricles and the spinal cord, and between the meninges. CSF surrounds and cushions the spinal cord and brain, washes out waste and impurities, and delivers nutrients.

You May Like: Is Prevagen Safe For Diabetics

Matching Emotions With Brain Activity

For the study, the researchers collected scene-by-scene emotional reactions that the participants had during the movie.

They asked the participants to rate their responses to each scene from six basic emotions: happiness, surprise, fear, sadness, anger, and disgust.

The participants also recorded how strong the feeling was, with a number ranging between 1 and 100.

The team used open science data available from a German study called study forrest, which provided brain imaging data from the fMRI scans of 15 participants showing which regions were active during each scene of the same movie.

Finally, the team analyzed the data from both studies, comparing the self-reported measures of emotion against the fMRI data.

What Happens During An Emotion

Your Brains 3 Emotion Regulation Systems

When an emotion is triggered, what actually happens? Scientists have learned that an emotional reaction actually has many different parts . One part of an emotional reaction is that the brain changes whats happening in the body. For example, when you are afraid or angry, you might feel your heart start to pound and your lungs might start breathing faster. Or, when you are sad, you might get tears in your eyes. Emotions can also cause some muscles in your body to move automatically. For example, during happiness you might smile, your voice might sound more excited, and you might stand up a bit tallerand you might not even notice youre doing these things.

Another part of an emotional reaction is that you start to think differently. For example, scientists have found that when people are sad they usually think of sad memories, but when people are happy they usually think of happy memories. As another example, when people are scared they usually start looking for other dangers in their surroundings, and they are more likely to have thoughts about other scary things. On the other hand, when people are happy, they usually notice more things that they like as they go through the day.

Read Also: Why Do People Get Brain Freeze

Connecting Feeling States To Biology

This study demonstrates how making use of open science data can free up resources and energy to tread new ground.

The team was able to focus its efforts on constructing a unique approach for identifying and locating where emotions are encoded in the brain without conducting its own fMRI study.

The study also provides more of an understanding about how psychiatry and biology combine within the body.

Also, these findings have real-world implications for people with mental health issues, notes study co-author Pietro Pietrini.

Dissecting the brain correlates of elementary factors that modulate intensity and quality of our emotions has major implications to understand what happens when emotions , as in case of depression and phobia, says Pietrini.

Your Brains Hemispheres Keep Your Emotions In Check

If you were to crack open your skull and take a look at the gray matter contained within it, youd see that the brain appears to be divided into two equal-sized halves. These are your brains hemispheres and, while they work together to keep you functioning, they each take responsibility for processing different types of information. The left side of your brain thinks in concrete ways, such as the literal meaning of words and mathematical calculations, while the right side thinks in more abstract ways, such as symbolism and gestures .

Because the two sides of your brain process information differently, they work together to keep your emotions in check. Heres an easy way to explain it: The right hemisphere identifies, and the left hemisphere interprets. The right brain identifies negative emotions, like fear, anger or danger. It then alerts the left brain, which decides what to do by interpreting the situation and making a logical decision about how to act in response.

Its a great system, unless something happens and one side of the brain cant do its job. Without the left brain, the right brain would be overcome with negative emotions and not know how to respond to them. And without the right brain, the left brain would not be as good at identifying negative emotions .

Dont Miss: How Long Can Your Brain Survive Without Oxygen

Also Check: Effects Of Minecraft On The Brain

Blood Supply To The Brain

Two sets of blood vessels supply blood and oxygen to the brain: the vertebral arteries and the carotid arteries.

The external carotid arteries extend up the sides of your neck, and are where you can feel your pulse when you touch the area with your fingertips. The internal carotid arteries branch into the skull and circulate blood to the front part of the brain.

The vertebral arteries follow the spinal column into the skull, where they join together at the brainstem and form the basilar artery, which supplies blood to the rear portions of the brain.

The circle of Willis, a loop of blood vessels near the bottom of the brain that connects major arteries, circulates blood from the front of the brain to the back and helps the arterial systems communicate with one another.

Your Memories Drive And Inform Your Emotions

Emotions and the Brain: What is the limbic system?

It may seem like common sense: Recalling a negative memory can put you in a bad mood, and thinking about a happy memory can put you in a good mood. But there’s actually scientific evidence to back that up. Studies even show that this effect is taking place whether or not we’re aware of it.

So what’s the big deal? It turns out that memory recall can be used to regulate mood in people who are experiencing depression, because thinking about positive memories causes the brain to release dopamine. So when someone tells you to cheer up, it may be a simple matter of thinking happy thoughts .

Not surprisingly, memories of previous experiences influence how you respond emotionally to situations. If you once nearly drowned, you might experience fear around water. If a previous love had a wandering eye, you might feel jealousy when a current flame looks at another person. What’s more, the intensity of the previous experience affects the intensity of the current emotion. For example, a soldier who has had extensive combat experience or traumatic combat experience will likely have more intense anxiety later on.

Preconceived ideas also affect your emotions. Anticipation and your expectations, which are driven by memories of previous events, affect the intensity of an emotional reaction .

Want to know more about the brain and your emotions? The links below will give your brain some new information to process.

Recommended Reading: Why Do People Get Brain Freeze

More articles

Popular Articles