The Brain Basis of Emotion: A meta-analytic review

Citation: Lindquist, K. A., Wager, T. D., Kober, H., Mliss-Moreau, E., Barrett, L. F. (2012). The Brain Basis of Emotion: A meta-analytic review. Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 35(3): p. 121-143.

Full Text


In this paper, we use a meta-analytic summary of the human neuroimaging literature on emotion (published from 1993-2007) to compare competing hypotheses about the brain basis of emotions. A locationist approach hypothesizes that discrete emotion categories consistently and specifically correspond to distinct brain regions or networks of regions. A psychological construction approach hypothesizes that emotions are constructed of more general brain networks not specific to emotions. Overall, we found little evidence that discrete emotion categories can be consistently and specifically localized to distinct brain regions. Consistent with a psychological construction approach to the mind, a common set of processes corresponding to interacting brain regions constitute emotion experience and perception across a range of emotion categories.