Neuroscience 6e Chapter 31 Summary

The word emotion covers a wide range of states that have in common the association of visceral motor responses, somatic behavior, and powerful subjective feelings. The visceral motor responses are mediated by the visceral motor nervous system, which is itself regulated by inputs from many other parts of the brain. The organization of the somatic motor behavior associated with emotion is governed by circuits in the limbic system, which includes the hypothalamus, the amygdala, and several regions of the cerebral cortex. Although a good deal is known about the neuroanatomy and transmitter chemistry of the different parts of the limbic system and how they are affected by drugs, there is still a dearth of information about how this complex circuitry mediates specific emotional states. Similarly, psychologists, neurologists, and psychiatrists have only recently begun to study the role of emotional processing in decision making and social behavior. The prevalence and social significance of human emotions and their disorders ensure that the neurobiology of emotion will be an increasingly important theme in modern neuroscience.