The embodiment of emotional feelings in the brain

Harrison, Neil A, Gray, Marcus A, Gianaros, Peter J and Critchley, Hugo D (2010) The embodiment of emotional feelings in the brain. Journal of Neuroscience, 30 (38). pp. 12878-12884. ISSN 0270-6474

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Central to Walter Cannon's challenge to peripheral theories of emotion was that bodily arousal responses are too undifferentiated to account for the wealth of emotional feelings. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, this remains widely accepted and for nearly a century has left the issue of whether visceral afferent signals are essential for emotional experience unresolved. Here we combine functional magnetic resonance imaging and multiorgan physiological recording to dissect experience of two distinct disgust forms and their relationship to peripheral and central physiological activity. We show that experience of core and body–boundary–violation disgust are dissociable in both peripheral autonomic and central neural responses and also that emotional experience specific to anterior insular activity encodes these different underlying patterns of peripheral physiological responses. These findings demonstrate that organ-specific physiological responses differentiate emotional feeling states and support the hypothesis that central representations of organism physiological homeostasis constitute a critical aspect of the neural basis of feelings.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: disgust, emotion, electrocardiogram, electrogastrogram, fMRI, Insula
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Clinical and Experimental Medicine
Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neurosciences. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
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Depositing User: Hazelle Woodhurst
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2011 10:27
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 18:01
Google Scholar:18 Citations

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