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 Emotion: refers to positive or negative
feelings that are produced by particular
 An emotional response consists of :
1. Behavioural
2. Autonomic
3. Hormonal components
– These components are controlled by
separate neural structures and systems.
The Amygdala
 The amygdala plays a special role in
physiological and behavioral reactions to
objects and situations that have special
biological significance, such as those that
warn of pain or other unpleasant
consequences or signify the presence of
food, water, salt, potential mates or rivals,
or infants in need of care.
 The amygdala is located within the temporal
lobes. It consists of several groups of nuclei,
each with different inputs and outputs and
with different functions It has been twelve
regions, each containing several sub-
regions. The key area involved in emotions
is the central nucleus.
central nucleus (CE).
 The central nucleus projects to regions of
the hypothalamus, midbrain, pons, and
medulla that are responsible for the
expression of the various components of
emotional responses.
 activation of the central nucleus elicits a
variety of emotional responses:
behavioral, autonomic, and hormonal.
central nucleus (CE).
 The central nucleus of the amygdala is the single
most important part of the brain for the expression
of emotional responses provoked by aversive
stimuli. When threatening stimuli are presented,
both the neural activity of the central nucleus and
the production of Fos protein increase.

 Damage to the CE (or to the nuclei that provide it

with sensory information) reduces or abolishes a
wide range of emotional behaviors and
physiological responses.
 After the CE has been destroyed, animals
no longer show signs of fear when
confronted with stimuli that have been
paired with aversive events.
 They also act more tamely when handled
by humans, their blood levels of stress
hormones are lower, and they are less
likely to develop ulcers or other forms of
stress-induced illnesses.
 Incontrast, when the CE of the amygdala is
stimulated by means of electricity or by an
injection of an excitatory amino acid, the
animal shows physiological and behavioral
signs of fear and agitation and long-term
stimulation of the central nucleus produces
stress-induced illnesses such as gastric
ulcers .
 The CE of the amygdala is particularly
important for aversive emotional learning.
We learn that a particular situation is
dangerous or threatening, therefore once the
learning has taken place, we will become
frightened when we encounter that situation.
Our heart rate and blood pressure will
increase, our muscles will become more
tense, our adrenal glands will secrete
epinephrine, and we will proceed cautiously,
alert and ready to respond.
 One of the earliest studies observed the
reactions of people who were being
evaluated for surgical removal of parts of the
brain to treat severe seizure disorders.
These studies found that stimulation of parts
of the brain,e.g. the hypothalamus, produced
autonomic responses that are often
associated with fear and anxiety but that only
when the amygdala was stimulated did
people also report that they actually felt
 Lesions of the amygdala decrease people's
emotional responses. People with lesions of the
amygdala showed impaired acquisition of a
conditioned emotional response.
 Damage to the amygdala also interferes with the
effects of emotions on memory. Alzheimer's
patients memory of a frightening event
(earthquake) was inversely correlated with
amygdala damage: The more a patient's
amygdala was degenerated, the less likely it was
that the patient remembered the earthquake.
 The amygdala plays a role in recognition of
facial expressions of emotions;
 lesions of the amygdala disrupt this ability, and
PET scans show increased activity of the
amygdala while the subject is engaging in this
 Neural Control of Aggressive Behavior.
 The activity of the brain stem circuits appears to
be controlled by the hypothalamus and the
amygdala, which also influence many other
species-typical behaviors( hissing , striking,
posturing). And, of course, the activity of the
limbic system is controlled by perceptual
systems that detect the status of the
environment, including the presence of other
Role of the Prefrontal Cortex
 The analysis of social situations involves much
more than sensory analysis; it involves
experiences and memories, inferences and
judgments. These skills are not localized in
anyone part of the cerebral cortex, but the right
hemisphere is more important than the left and
a region of the prefrontal cortex, the
orbitofrontal cortex plays an important role.
Orbitofrontal Cortex
Anger & Aggression
 The fact that the orbitofrontal cortex plays an
important role in the control of emotional
behavior is shown by the effects of damage to
this region. (1800s:- Phineas Gage, Before his
injury he was serious, industrious, and
energetic. Afterward, he became childish,
irresponsible, and thoughtless of others)
 His accident largely destroyed the
orbitofrontal cortex.
Thus, moral judgments appear
to be guided by emotional
reactions and are not simply
the products of rational, logical
decision making processes
and that the prefrontal cortex
plays a role in these
Hormonal Control of Aggressive
Behaviour (MALES)
 Inter-male aggressiveness begins around
the time of puberty, which suggests that the
behavior is controlled by neural circuits that
are stimulated by androgens.
 Castration reduced aggressiveness and that
injections of testosterone reinstated it.
Hormonal Control of Aggressive
Behaviour (MALES)
 Males readily attack other males but
usually do not attack females. Their ability
to discriminate the sex of the intruder
appears to be based on the presence of
particular pheromones.
Hormonal Control of Aggressive
Behaviour (FEMALES)
 Aggression between females, like
aggression between males, appears to be
facilitated by testosterone.
 Female rats are ovariectomized and then
given them daily injections of testosterone,
estradiol, or a placebo for 14 days. The
animals were then placed in a test cage,
and an unfamiliar female was introduced. It
was found that testosterone increased
aggressiveness, whereas estradiol had no