Open Questions: Emotions

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Introduction


Recommended references: Web sites

Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Recommended references: Books

Introduction



Recommended references: Web sites

Site indexes


Sites with general resources

Emotions and Emotional Intelligence
"An on-line bibliography in the area of emotions and emotional intelligence, describing current research findings and notes of interest," by Cheri A. Young.


Surveys, overviews, tutorials

Fear and the Amygdala
1998 overview article on the topic, from the Society for Neuroscience.
Virtue in mind
November 2003 New Scientist interview with Antonio Damasio that deals mostly with his book about Spinoza and Spinoza's ideas which help understand the relationship of emotion and mind.
Icy stares and dirty minds: Hitch-hiking emotions
September 2009 New Scientist article. "Complex emotions may have emerged from basic physical sensations like cold or disgust."
Can We Cure Fear?
November 2005 Scientific American sidebar, subtitled "We naturally view any risk we witness as a personal threat--even when it is on the opposite side of the globe and we see it only on TV. Is popping a pill the answer?"
Feeling Our Emotions
March 2005 Scientific American Mind interview of Antonio Damasio. "According to noted neurologist Antonio R. Damasio, joy or sorrow can emerge only after the brain registers physical changes in the body."
If You're Happy and You Know It...
February 2001 Scientific American news article about the influence of personality traits on response to emotional stimuli.


Recommended references: Magazine/journal articles

Cerebral Delights
Susan Gaidos
Science News, February 26, 2011
The amygdala, a part of the brain known for its role in fear, also helps people spot rewards - and go after them.
The Nature of Emotions
Robert Plutchik
American Scientist, July-August 2001, pp. 344-350
The systematic study of emotions has a long but confusing history. It may be possible to construct a rigorous scientific approach by looking for the evolutionary roots of emotions and their adaptive functions.
[Abstract and references]
Emotion, Memory, and the Brain
Joseph E. LeDoux
Scientific American, June 1994, pp. 50-57
There is an increasing recognition that emotions play an important role in cognitive processes. A reflection of this is research into how a strong emotion like fear affects memory.


Recommended references: Books

Joseph LeDoux -- The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life
Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 1998
LeDoux has written a masterful book, which is at least the equal of Damasio's Descartes' Error. Although the two books cover the same general subject, human emotions, there is little overlap. With LeDoux, the emphasis is more on neurobiology, which is appropriate, as the author has been a leader in the investigation of the biology of emotions, especially fear. In this story, brain regions such as the amygdala, thalamus, hipopocampus, and several cortical areas play central roles. LeDoux addresses how emotions and memory interact, and finally, the relation of emotions and conscious feelings.
Antonio R. Damasio -- Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain
G. P. Putnam's Sons/Avon, 1994
Damasio is distinguished as both a neurologist and a neurobiologist. Out of his long clinical experience with patients having brain lesions affecting their emotional and cognitive lives, he has drawn significant conclusions about the interaction between emotion and cognition in general. His book presents lucid arguments for three basic theses: (1) Reason cannot operate well without guidance from the brain's emotional systems. (2) Feelings are a part of conscious experience based on the brain's perception of the rest of the body when emotions are triggered. (3) Mind in general depends in an essential way on the body as a frame of reference for neural processes that occur in the brain. Damasio advances a specific hypothesis, which he calls the "somatic marker hypothesis", for the manner in which the brain makes use of emotional experience in the process of planning and reasoning.

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