(video not available)
Abstract: In this talk I will describe the main neural systems and mechanisms involved in the processing of emotional information, highlighting the similarities and differences between species (rats, monkeys and humans). In addition, I will briefly present findings and controversies regarding the interactions between emotion and other cognitive processes, such as attention and awareness.
Sergerie, K., Chochol, C.,& Armony, J.L. (2008). The role of the amygdala in emotional processing: A quantitative meta-analysis of functional neuroimaging studies. Neuroscience& Biobehavioral Reviews, 32(4), 811-830.
Armony, J.L.& LeDoux, J.E. (2010). Emotional responses to auditory stimuli. In A. Palmer& A. Rees (Eds), The Oxford Handbook of Auditory Science: The Auditory Brain (pp. 479-505). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press http://bit.ly/ArmonyEmotResp
Vuilleumier, P.,& Pourtois, G. (2007). Distributed and interactive brain mechanisms during emotion face perception: evidence from functional neuroimaging. Neuropsychologia, 45(1), 174-194. http://labnic.unige.ch/nic/papers/PV_GP_NPsia2006.pdf
Ledoux highlighted that the distinction between emotion and consciousness is overlooked in emotion research. Fittingly, Armony did not want to talk about consciousness.ReplyDelete
Well, at least I was (somewhat) willing to talk about emotion...Delete
I found it very interesting that the amygdala be involved in processing emotions other than anger and fear—and preferentially so to positive emotions! This entirely reverses my previous logic concerning the amygdala. Come to think of it, though, given its numerous functions and relations to other parts of the brain, it makes sense that the amygdala be a general purpose novelty detector for potentially relevant emotional stimuli.ReplyDelete
Glad to hear you've learned something new from the talk! The "relevance detector" idea is nicely described by David Sanders in Reviews in the Neurosciences, 14, 303-316 (2003).Delete
I agree with Jorge that part of what the amygdala does is "relevance detection" (also very nicely described by Paul Whalen in a paper in 1998), but I think it goes well beyond that, and includes attention and value representation (which affects decision making). Some of the ideas are here:Delete
A question to Dr. Armony and amygdala researchers : if amygdala is activated by so many different emotions (happy, scared, etc.), are they subserved by different individual cells firing, different amygdala nuclei, or is it in the pattern of firing? For example, do we have happy vs. scared emotion-specific cells, or happy emotions are generated when the cells fire in a particular pattern?ReplyDelete
That is a critical question, which is still largely unresolved. There seems to be evidence for the same cells potentially coding different emotions (see Gothard et al., J Neurophys 2007) as well as for different neurons coding different emotions (See Paton et al., Nature 2008)Delete
I am unfamiliar with the literature, but it would seem to me that the amygdala's differential activations are determined by co-activation with other brain areas. In other words, one might expect the same nuclei to show activation for different emotions, but for each emotion, show co-activation with a different set of brain regions.Delete
Ledoux showed that there are different amygdala nuclei which show connections which different brain areas and are thus implicated in different functions. See its paper: Emotion circuits in the brain (2000)ReplyDelete
True, but there is not much evidence to suggest that different amygdala nuclei are involved in different emotions...Delete
In considering whether an emotional response is possible without feeling, I have to say that I don't think you can be scared (for example) without being at least minimally aware *that* you are afraid. You may not be conscious of *what* you are afraid of (as when you react to something you have perceived subliminally), but you will nonetheless be aware of a certain feeling of, for example, malaise. Without at least the felt-feeling I don't think we can say that you are scared. Also, the response of the amygdala could simply be an activation in preparation for a potential threat, a possibility supported by the research. I would say that a brain response alone may be a necessary condition for the presence of feeling but is certainly not sufficient.ReplyDelete
(adapted from original posting June 30 on Turing Consciousness Facebook Page in response to Guillaume Loignan's question "Can I be scared of something I am not conscious of?")
It depends on what you mean by "emotional response". If you refer to physiological/behavioral responses, then there is evidence to suggest that you can have them in the absence of awareness. If, on the other hand, you refer to the subjective, conscious feeling, then indeed you would need awareness.Delete
Not sure what else besides a brain response you would need for the presence of feeling (assuming we're not dualists...). Although you're probably right in that a response in one specific part of the brain is unlikely to be sufficient (as the growing consensus is that there is a distributed representation of consciousnesses in the brain, right?)
I was wondering if there was any evidence for people being differentially aware of the response produced by a subliminal image? Are certain people more aware that way? Do you know if this has been studied?Delete
Do you think awareness to subliminal stimuli would at some extent be linked to the hypnozability level of an individual?Delete
Oh! Hmm... in the way that they might be better at focusing their attention?Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
I would really like to be able to see that talk again, I hope to see the video up soon!ReplyDelete
Originally posted on facebookReplyDelete
Can I be scared of something I am not conscious of? (Starting another thread to discuss the "is emotional response possible without feeling" re the experiment discussed by Armony where they elicit a response with a hidden stimulus.)
I don't think you can be scared without being at least minimally aware *that* you are afraid. You may not be conscious of *what* you are afraid of (as when you react to something you have perceived subliminally), but you will nonetheless be aware of a certain feeling of, for example, malaise. Without at least the felt-feeling I don't think we can say that you are scared. Also, the response of the amygdala could simply be an activation in preparation for a potential threat, for example. I would say that a brain response alone may be a necessary condition for the presence of feeling but is certainly not sufficient.
I do think like Sarah. When I read Guillaume's post I was thinking about the stimulation of the amygdala. There is no "real" stimulus but you would feel an intense fear anyway, without knowing why. This emotion is very intense and is very conscious even if there is no "real" stimulus that you are aware of. I guess it must be like a panic attack you have when you wake up, you feel the fear, but you don't really know what happened that put you in this state. So I guess you can be conscious of your emotions (you feel them) without being conscious of what elicited them.
I found Dr. Armony's talk very interesting and entertaining! Especially the anecdote about the rat with the lesioned amygdala and the cat! Unfortunately the talk is not available online, I was wondering if anyone remembered if Dr. Armony described if there were differences in the level of activation in the amydgala with different types of emotional responses, do fear and happiness responses elicit a higher level of activation in the amydgala?ReplyDelete
Xavier Dery @XavierDeryReplyDelete
We keep running in the limitations of functional brain imaging, reporting activations for areas way too large to pinpoint function! #TuringC
10:35 AM - 30 Jun 12 via Twitter for Android