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States of mind: Emotions, body feelings, and thoughts share distributed neural networks

Northeastern University, Department of Psychology, Boston, MA 02115-5000, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 06/2012; 62(3):2110-28. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.05.079
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Scientists have traditionally assumed that different kinds of mental states (e.g., fear, disgust, love, memory, planning, concentration, etc.) correspond to different psychological faculties that have domain-specific correlates in the brain. Yet, growing evidence points to the constructionist hypothesis that mental states emerge from the combination of domain-general psychological processes that map to large-scale distributed brain networks. In this paper, we report a novel study testing a constructionist model of the mind in which participants generated three kinds of mental states (emotions, body feelings, or thoughts) while we measured activity within large-scale distributed brain networks using fMRI. We examined the similarity and differences in the pattern of network activity across these three classes of mental states. Consistent with a constructionist hypothesis, a combination of large-scale distributed networks contributed to emotions, thoughts, and body feelings, although these mental states differed in the relative contribution of those networks. Implications for a constructionist functional architecture of diverse mental states are discussed.

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Available from: Kristen A Lindquist, Aug 25, 2015
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    • "Importantly, the CAT predicts that the aforementioned elements are domain-general elements of the mind and are not specific to the category of mental states called " emotions " (Barrett, 2009; Lindquist and Barrett, 2012; Barrett and Satpute, 2013; Lindquist, 2013). In essence, the CAT does not see " emotions " as states that are fundamentally distinct from " cognitions " or " perceptions " (cf., Barrett, 2009; Lindquist, 2013; e.g., Oosterwijk et al., 2012); all are constructed from the same basic elements and are nominal kind categories that exist because members of a culture agree that they share certain features (e.g., in English, " emotions " are typically thought to involve relatively greater involvement of the body than " thoughts, " even if body states are in fact constitutive of both kinds of mental states; e.g., Oosterwijk et al., 2012). The agreement between members of a culture imbues emotions with social reality—they are real even if the specific categories (e.g., anger, disgust, fear, sadness, schadenfreude, pride, excitement, awe, etc.) are not inborn categories given by the structure of the nervous system (cf., Barrett, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Common sense suggests that emotions are physical types that have little to do with the words we use to label them. Yet recent psychological constructionist accounts reveal that language is a fundamental element in emotion that is constitutive of both emotion experiences and perceptions. According to the psychological constructionist Conceptual Act Theory, an instance of emotion occurs when information from one’s body or other people’s bodies is made meaningful in light of the present situation using concept knowledge about emotion. The CAT suggests that language plays a role in emotion because language supports the conceptual knowledge used to make meaning of sensations from the body and world in a given context. In the present paper, we review evidence from developmental and cognitive science to reveal that language scaffolds concept knowledge in humans, helping humans to acquire abstract concepts such as emotion categories across the lifespan. Critically, language later helps individuals use concepts to make meaning of on-going sensory perceptions. Building on this evidence, we outline predictions from a psychological constructionist model of emotion in which language serves as the “glue” for emotion concept knowledge, binding concepts to embodied experiences and in turn shaping the ongoing processing of sensory information from the body and world to create emotional experiences and perceptions.
    Frontiers in Psychology 04/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00444 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "The mental state sentences used in this study were taken from an existing set of materials (cf. Oosterwijk et al., 2012). The nonmental state sentences (e.g., " the jungle was full of life " ) were specifically written for the present study (the full list of sentences is available upon request). "
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    ABSTRACT: According to embodied cognition theories, concepts are contextually situated and grounded in neural systems that produce experiential states. This view predicts that processing mental state concepts recruits neural regions associated with different aspects of experience depending on the context in which people understand a concept. This neuroimaging study tested this prediction using a set of sentences that described emotional (e.g., fear, joy) and nonemotional (e.g., thinking, hunger) mental states with internal focus (i.e., focusing on bodily sensations and introspection) or external focus (i.e., focusing on expression and action). Consistent with our predictions, data suggested that the inferior frontal gyrus, a region associated with action representation, was engaged more by external than internal sentences. By contrast, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, a region associated with the generation of internal states, was engaged more by internal emotion sentences than external sentence categories. Similar patterns emerged when we examined the relationship between neural activity and independent ratings of sentence focus. Furthermore, ratings of emotion were associated with activation in the medial prefrontal cortex, whereas ratings of activity were associated with activation in the inferior frontal gyrus. These results suggest that mental state concepts are represented in a dynamic way, using context-relevant interoceptive and sensorimotor resources.
    Social Neuroscience 03/2015; 10(3):1-14. DOI:10.1080/17470919.2014.998840 · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    • "Podemos encontrar que el DMN es formado por: vmPFC, dmPFC, PTR inferior, PCC/ " precuneus " (Smallwood et al. 2012); PCC, mPCC y giro angular (Mantini and Vandufell 2012); PCC/Precuneus, ACC, PRT (Herber et al. 2014); mPCC, PCC/ " precuneus " , TPJ, TMP (Boyatzis et al. 2014); mPFC, PCC, TMP (Schooler et al. 2011); PRT inferior, PCC/ " precuneus " , mPFC (Anticevic et al. 2012). de procesos psicológicos de dominio general que mapean redes cerebrales de gran escala en el cerebro donde todo él está activo y, aún más que el cerebro, el cuerpo entero, los estímulos exteriores y experiencias previas (Oosterwijka et al. 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract. The present paper offers contributions from neuroscience to faith experience and vice versa. First of all, we look for a meeting point between them for beginning the interdisciplinary dialog. Personal system of beliefs (PSB in English and SPC in Spanish) is proposed as the meeting point. PSB has to do with both disciplines. The relation between PSB and faith is assumed, but it is not treated here. Here we try to answer two questions: (i) what can be said from neuroscience about PSB?, and (ii) what can be useful for the experience of faith? To do that we make a conceptual redefinition of one neural system that neuroscience calls “default mode”. So, we need to clarify how neuroscience works. How several reductions of reality are made in order to be capable to study it. We also introduce some other elements which manifest the person as a unity. After this initial approach (parts 1 and 2), a neuroanatomical presentation (part 3) about the “default mode”, “precuneus”, and “rich-club” is presented. This is the starting point for the following reflection about contributions from cognitive neuropsychology to faith experience. They show the importance of keeping in contact faith experience with the whole life and reality, of human relationships, of emotions, and they also talk about personal processes for maturation, about the consequences for personal future and other relevant aspects like: conscience, forgiveness, cognitive dissonance / blame, and possible pathology of faith (part 4). The conceptual redefinition of “default mode network” (DMN) as a personal system of beliefs (PSB) is made in order to have a broad conception of making decisions. Neuroscience has reached the view that emotion, as body and perception are several elements for making decisions, but it is not yet assumed that our PSB is another element playing an important role. PSB would be the abstract representation about what is and what could be the world, my relationships, and myself. These beliefs are reached through a long process of reappraisal in which personal experiences, emotion, and relationships are settled down. When beliefs are formed thanks to abstraction they are no longer connected to a given and concrete experience but to a conceptualization of the whole world and myself. Thus, the PSB is one more element for making decisions.
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