The Neuroanatomy and Physiology of Emotion

The Neuroanatomy and Physiology of Emotion
Basal Ganglia •
The Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) Processes higher order emotions that 1— require recall, reason, and decision making (e.g., embarrassment) Integrates sensory information from the viscera in response to the inciting •
environmental object or event with information from the amygdala
Emotional feeling (i.e., conscious experience of emotion)
Emotionally salient environmental stimulus

Sensory input (e.g., vision, touch, smell, hearing, taste)
Hypothalamus ► (major output of the limbic system)

Primary and Association Cortices •
Amygdala Processes lower order emotions that have fast, automatic, and conditioned responses (e.g., fear) Participates in formation and retrieval of emotionally relevant memories from neocortical areas, attaching emotional significance to sensory input
Hippocampus (key for memory consolidation and retrieval)
► Motor, Endocrine and Visceral systems
Notes: • The structures involved in emotions are defined as the limbic system • The thalamus, basal ganglia and PFC together form the corticostriatalthalmocortical loop which comprises the major emotional processing pathway in the brain • The Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) includes the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex • *Olfaction is the only sense that bypasses the thalamus and connects directly to the primary olfactory cortex
Legend: Pathophysiology Mechanism
Sign/Symptom/Lab Finding
Authors: Andrea Moir Reviewers: Erika Russell Usama Malik Brienne McLane* * MD at time of publication
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
The ANS automatically and unconsciously responds to the emotional stimulus (e.g., 11` HR, blushing)
Physical response to emotional stimulus Visceral sensation
Sensory receptors are stimulated by the ANS response and transmit this information to the somatosensory and insular cortices