In The Cognitive-Emotional Brain: From Interactions to Integration neuroscientist Luiz Pessoa argues that emotion and cognition are deeply intertwined throughout many levels of the brain. In a recent interview (BSP 106) Pessoa and I focused on recent discoveries about the amygdala and Thalamus that challenge traditional assumptions about what these structures do. The amygdala processes more than fear (and other negative stimuli) and the Thalamus is more than a mere relay station.
This a fairly technical discussion but Pessoa did a good job of making the material accessible to all listeners. The reason I think these concepts matter is that not only do they challenge overly simplistic notions of how the brain works, but they also challenge our tendency to see emotion and cognition as separate and often opposing processes.
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References and Additional Reading
- The Cognitive-Emotional Brain: From Interactions to Integration by Luiz Pessoa
- Pessoa L, Adolphs R. (2010) "Emotion processing and the amygdala: from a 'low road' to 'many roads' of evaluating biological significance.” Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11(11):773-83. doi: 10.1038/nrn2920.
- Networks of the Brain by Olaf Sporns
- In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind by Eric R. Kandel (BSP 3)
- Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines---and How It Will Change Our Lives by Miguel Nicolelis (BSP 79)
- Visit Dr. Pessoa's lab at emotioncognition.org to learn more.
- BSP 11: Emotion
- BSP 32: a brief introduction to Neuroanatomy
- BSP 65 and BSP 91 are interviews with Jaak Panksepp about the subcortical origins of emotion
- I spoke with Olaf Sporns about the Human Connectome and the use of Network Theory in BSP 74 and BSP 103.
- BSP 90: a discussion of Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain by Antonio Damasio.
- Please check out my other podcast Books and Ideas. I will be posting a new episode by the end of February.
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