Sunday, June 28, 2009

Emotions in the Brain

fMRI studies at the University of Geneva, Switzerland: researchers presented subjects with pseudowords spoken in five ways - with anger, sadness, relief, joy, or neutral with no emotion at all. They were able to classify each emotion against all other alternatives by analyzing the spatial pattern of activity in the auditory cortex. Not only does this indicate that emotions do have their own brain-activity patterns, but also may provide increased understanding of what happens in brains that have difficulty recognizing, comprehending, or processing emotions. The comprehension of emotional prosody is crucial for social functioning. This ability appears to be compromised in various psychiatric disorders, including deficits for anger and sadness in schizophrenia, fear and surprise in bipolar affective disorder, and surprise in depression.

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