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: 6.13). 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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May 17, 2014