There is at present limited understanding of the neurobiological basis of the different processes underlying emotion perception. We have aimed to identify potential neural correlates of three processes suggested by appraisalist theories as important for emotion perception: 1) the identification of the emotional significance of a stimulus; 2) the production of an affective state in response to 1; and 3) the regulation of the affective state. In a critical review, we have examined findings from recent animal, human lesion, and functional neuroimaging studies. Findings from these studies indicate that these processes may be dependent upon the functioning of two neural systems: a ventral system, including the amygdala, insula, ventral striatum, and ventral regions of the anterior cingulate gyrus and prefrontal cortex, predominantly important for processes 1 and 2 and automatic regulation of emotional responses; and a dorsal system, including the hippocampus and dorsal regions of anterior cingulate gyrus and prefrontal cortex, predominantly important for process 3. We suggest that the extent to which a stimulus is identified as emotive and is associated with the production of an affective state may be dependent upon levels of activity within these two neural systems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry