(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
This book collects 17 essays written by eminent researchers of
neurology, psychology and cognitive science.
The focus of their essays is on the role of emotion in cognition, and
viceversa. By reviewing anatomical, psychiatric and animal data, the book
provides an up to date survey of the field.
The classical literature on emotion emphasizes that emotion and at least some level of cognitive processing are linked in a bidirectional way. First of all, an emotion is the consequence of the individual's interaction with the environment and how well her plans are succeeding in the environment: cognition helps assess the current status and such status affects emotion. Secondly, emotion directly affects cognition, for example memory.
The discussion quickly sets of the relationship between emotion and consciousness. Damasio distinguishes between emotion and feelings (the conscious experience of emotion) and details his model: some external stimuli cause certain regions of the brain to be triggered; such regions generate an "emotion", which is a set of instructions sent to the body; the emotion changes the state of the body; the "feeling" is the perception of that new state.
Several chapters deal with the neurobiological basis of emotion. Where is emotion generated and what are the physiochemical processes that generate it? The amygdala is everybody's favorite suspect, because of its known participation in processes that precede emotion, but LeDoux and others offer a very complex scenario, in which several distinct regions of the brain participate in the generation and development of emotion.
This book is an ideal companion for professionals and scholars who want to bridge neurophysiology and psychiatry.