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The embodiment of emotional feelings in the brain

Harrison, N.A. ORCID:, Gray, M.A., Gianaros, P.J. and Critchley, H.D. 2010. The embodiment of emotional feelings in the brain. The Journal of Neuroscience 30 (38) , pp. 12878-12884. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1725-10.2010

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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
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
ISSN: 0270-6474
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 14:03

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