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Human emotion: We report our feelings in 3-D
Date:3/27/2013

Philadelphia, PA, March 26, 2013 Like it or not and despite the surrounding debate of its merits, 3-D is the technology du jour for movie-making in Hollywood. It now turns out that even our brains use 3 dimensions to communicate emotions.

According to a new study published in Biological Psychiatry, the human report of emotion relies on three distinct systems: one system that directs attention to affective states ("I feel"), a second system that categorizes these states into words ("good", "bad", etc.); and a third system that relates the intensity of affective responses ("bad" or "awful"?).

Emotions are central to the human experience. Whether we are feeling happy, sad, afraid, or angry, we are often asked to identify and report on these feelings. This happens when friends ask us how we are doing, when we talk about professional or personal relationships, when we meditate, and so on. In fact, the very commonness and ease of reporting what we are feeling can lead us to overlook just how important such reports are - and how devastating the impairment of this ability may be for individuals with clinical disorders ranging from major depression to schizophrenia to autism spectrum disorders.

Progress in brain science has steadily been shedding light on the circuits and processes that underlie mood states. One of the leaders in this effort, Dr. Kevin Ochsner, Director of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Columbia University, studies the neural bases of social, cognitive and affective processes. In this new study, he and his team set out to study the processes involved in constructing self-reports of emotion, rather than the effects of the self-reports or the emotional states themselves for which there is already much research.

To accomplish this, they recruited healthy participants who underwent brain scans while completing an experimental task that generated a self-report of emotion. This effort allowed the researc
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Contact: Rhiannon Bugno
Biol.Psych@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-0880
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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