A new three-dimensional model for emotions and monoamine neurotransmitters
Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Geriatric Medicine, Umeå University, SE-901 85 Umeå, Sweden
a r t i c l e i n f o
Received 30 August 2011
Accepted 13 November 2011
a b s t r a c t
The monoamines serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline have a great impact on mood, emotion and
behavior. This article presents a new three-dimensional model for monoamine neurotransmitters and
In the model, the monoamine systems are represented as orthogonal axes and the eight basic emotions,
labeled according to Tomkins, are placed at each of the eight possible extreme values, represented as cor-
ners of a cube.
The model may help in understanding human emotions, psychiatric illness and the effects of psycho-
tropic drugs. However, further empirical studies are needed to establish its validity.
? 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
In this article a new explanatory model for emotions and mono-
aminergic neurotransmitters is presented. The model though
rather simple contains much information and may help in the
understanding of human emotions, psychiatric illness and the ef-
fects of psychotropic drugs.
The monoamine system
Consider first the monoamine neurotransmitter systems. The
most important monoamine neurotransmitters are serotonin, nor-
adrenaline and dopamine, which share many properties. They are
all derived from one amino acid (hence the name monoamines)
and are produced by relatively few neurons in small areas in the
upper part of the brainstem. The main brain areas for the produc-
tion of these monoamine neurotransmitters are the raphe nuclei
for serotonin, ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra for
dopamine and locus ceruleus for noradrenaline. The monoamine-
producing nerve cells project their axons, and release their trans-
mitter substances widely and diffusely throughout the cerebral
cortex. Each monoamine binds to a whole family of receptors.
Most, but not all, monoamine receptors are metabotropic,
G-protein coupled, receptors that typically upon binding of their
particular ligand do not elicit an action potential, but act to change
the sensitivity of the postsynaptic cell to other signals. Most
monoamine receptors are excitatory, i.e. increase the probability
of an action potential starting in the postsynaptic cell [1–6]. All
these features are consistent with the concept that the monoamine
systems are regulating systems.
The monoamine transmitter systems are highly evolutionarily
conserved. It has been found that monoamines are involved in
behavioral control in various species such as nematodes, lobsters,
desert locusts, mice, zebra finches and hens [7–14]. That mono-
indicates that it is a great advantage for survival if an organism is
able to modify its behavior. The environment an organism encoun-
be general in some way. The monoamine systems are probably also
very dynamic, as the modification of behaviors and emotion has to
be rather rapid and able to adjust to changes in the environment.
In humans, the important role of the monoamine systems in
regulating emotions and behavior is illustrated, not least, by the
fact that many psychotropic drugs, e.g. antidepressants and anti-
psychotics, act by interfering with the monoamine system . It
is suggested that monoaminergic systems are involved in human
behavior [16–20], and in several psychiatric disorders such as
depression, psychosis, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder,
anxiety, and behavioral disturbances among people with dementia
ventral tegmental area and locus ceruleus – do not, however, ulti-
mately control our emotions. There is a growing body of evidence
suggesting a crucial role for the amygdala and other limbic struc-
tures in the synthesis of information and control of behaviors and
emotions [34–44]. These structures handle the processing of emo-
tion-eliciting information and trigger certain emotions in certain
situations, and are projecting towards the monoaminergic nuclei
which serve to deliver the message – the emotion – to the whole
tional information to large and dispersed areas of the brain.
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Medical Hypotheses 78 (2012) 341–348
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Many studies from different research fields support the belief
that all three of the monoamines, serotonin, dopamine and nor-
adrenaline are essential in the control of behaviors and emotions
[7–14,16–31,45–56]. Furthermore, each of the monoamines seems
to be involved in different aspects of emotion or behavior. People
suffering from major depression and premenstrual dysphoric
disorder appear to have low levels of serotonin, and common
antidepressants act through blocking the serotonin transporter
[15,26,51,54–56]. Low levels of serotonin have also been coupled
to aggression [10,19,27,28,52,53]. The serotonin axis, therefore,
seems to represent aspects such as self-confidence, inner strength
and satisfaction. The dopamine axis has been found to be involved
in reward, motivation and reinforcement [9,46,48,49,57–59], while
noradrenaline has been coupled to the fight or flight response and
to stress and anxiety, and appears to represent an axis of
activation, vigilance and attention [4,5,33,45,47,50,60,61]. A brief
overview of the monoaminergic systems is given in Table 1.
As each of these three monoamine systems probably represents
a different aspect of emotion, a hypothetical three-dimensional
space for possible combinations is formed. It is evolutionarily ra-
tional that the monoamine systems are mutually orthogonal as this
maximizes the amount of information that can be transmitted,
however, although likely, this needs to be further established
empirically. It is important to note that as long as none of the
monoamines transmit exactly the same information as any other
(which seems unlikely), there will still be a three-dimensional
space. For simplicity, in this article the monoamines axes have
been depicted as mutually orthogonal.
In the model depicted in Fig. 1 serotonin is represented on the
x-axis, noradrenaline on the y-axis and dopamine on the z-axis,
in an orthogonal coordinate system. The origin represents a situa-
tion where no signal substances at all are released. The other end of
each arrow represents the maximum effect of the specific neuro-
transmitter system. The corners of the cube thus represent the
combination of the extreme values, either low or high on the three
axes respectively. An infinite number of combinations of different
levels of the three neurotransmitters are possible, but all lie within
this space, and within the eight ‘‘extreme values’’, defined by the
eight possible combinations of either zero or maximum effect of
the three monoamine systems respectively.
That each monoamine neurotransmitter represents a different
aspect of emotion should not, however, be interpreted to mean
that the monoamines are independent. There are probably com-
plex systems of feedback and reciprocal control where the mono-
amine systems interact and affect each other. These interactions
probably contribute to the dynamics of the monoamine systems
[62–66]. It is also noteworthy that the total ‘‘out-effect’’ in a mono-
amine axis is a function of the amount of signal substance that is
released into the synaptic cleft, the rate of reuptake and degrada-
tion of the transmitter substance as well as the type, number,
sensitivity and specificity of post-synaptic receptors. Complex
feedback mechanisms regulate these factors.
Basic emotions theory
Keeping in mind the monoamines, let us now focus on the the-
ory of basic emotions. Basic in this context means that certain
emotions are thought to be innate and universal, a theory some-
times referred to as the differential emotions theory (DET)
[67,68]. In 1872 Charles Darwin published his groundbreaking
work The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, in which
he listed over thirty emotions, ordered into seven clusters .
Later scientists have proposed different sets of basic emotions,
although no final consensus has yet been reached concerning the
exact number of basic emotions, or which emotions are basic. In
fact, scientists have long argued over whether or not there is a fi-
nite number of basic emotions at all [70–74]. However, among
those who adhere to the theory of basic emotions there seems to
be a fair level of agreement that the number of basic emotions lies
somewhere in the range of 5–10 [67,68,75–88].
For psychologists, the study of emotions has often originated
from the study of facial expressions. By investigating facial expres-
sion in adults and newborn children, and in people from different
cultures, common features have been found which seem to repre-
sent an innate palette of emotions, shared by all humans
[67,69,78,89–92]. Recent evidence in support of the idea of basic
emotions has also been gathered from brain imaging studies and
investigations of autonomic responses, demonstrating unique pat-
terns of activation associated with certain emotions [93–97].
Basic emotions might be viewed as the extremes of emotional
expression. All emotions, including everyday tepid emotions, lie
within the bounds of these basic emotions.
The aim of this article
Combining these two fields of research, my intention was to
explore how different levels of monoamines are jointly linked to
particular emotional states, and thereby to fit these emotions
into the three-dimensional model comprising the monoamine
The three main monoamines.
MonoamineDerived from the amino acidArea projecting to the cerebral cortexAssumed axis representation
Ventral tegmental areaa
Self confidence, inner strength, satisfaction
Reward, reinforcement, motivation
Attention, vigilance, activity
aNeurons in substantia nigra also contain dopamine, however, these neurons do not project to the cerebral cortex.
Fig. 1. A three-dimensional model for emotions and monoamine neurotransmit-
ters. A three-dimensional model of emotion, with the eight basic emotions ordered
in an orthogonal coordinate system of the three main monoaminergic axes. The
axes represent serotonin (5-HT, 5-hydroxytryptamine), dopamine (DA) and nor-
adrenaline (NE), and each end of the arrows represents low and high levels of
signaling respectively. The eight basic emotions, located in each corner, are labeled
according to Tomkins.
H. Lövheim/Medical Hypotheses 78 (2012) 341–348
axes. During the work, I discovered that the eight basic emotions,
as described by Tomkins, could fit rather well into the eight corners
of the cube model. In the following, the reasoning and some evi-
dence for the placement of each basic emotion in its particular cor-
ner of the model will be presented. The choice of which basic
emotion should be placed in which corner was made based on
the literature of basic emotions theory, various aspects of mono-
amines and their relation to mood and behavior in humans and
animals, and the known effects and side-effects of various psycho-
Construction of the model
The psychologist Silvan Tomkins devoted his life to the study of
emotions and developed an elaborate and comprehensive theory of
basic emotions [85–87,89]. Tomkins identified eight basic emo-
tions, which he labeled with one word for the emotion when it
was of low intensity and another word for the same emotion at a
higher intensity [98,99]. Tomkins referred to basic emotions as ‘‘in-
nate affects’’ where affect, in his theory, stands for the ‘‘strictly bio-
logical portion of emotion’’ . According to his theory, these are
the eight basic emotions: Two positive: Interest/excitement and
enjoyment/joy, one neutral: Surprise/startle, and five negative:
Distress/anguish, fear/terror, shame/humiliation, contempt/disgust
and anger/rage [98,99]. The basic emotions and their associated fa-
cial expressions, according to Tomkins, are summarized in Table 2.
Tomkins originally labeled one basic emotion surprise/startle,
however, Ekman later convincingly showed that the startle re-
sponse was unrelated to the basic emotion of surprise , and
the label surprise was therefore chosen.
Fear/terror and anger/rage
Both of the basic emotions, fear/terror and anger/rage, are sup-
posedly high-dopaminergic and therefore coupled to reinforce-
ment [9,101–104]. This seems logical when one considers the
great evolutionary value of learning about those dangerous situa-
tions in which these negative basic emotions are triggered. It has
been found that laboratory rats easily learn to avoid various stimuli
presented simultaneously as something innately scary (such as a
cat) . The rewarding effect of these basic emotions might also
possibly explain why certain people continue to seek so-called
Patients with Parkinson’s disease acutely withdrawn from
dopamine replacement therapy have been found to have a selec-
tive impairment of the recognition of facial expressions of anger
, and in another study patients with Parkinson’s disease
showed a blunted response to aversive stimuli . Further,
treatment with the dopamine receptor 2 antagonist sulpiride was
found to lead to a selective disruption of the recognition of facial
expressions of anger  and reduced striatal dopamine 1 (D1)
receptor binding (indicative of increased release of dopamine)
has been found among patients with major depression with anger
Both fear/terror and anger/rage are here further assumed to be
low-serotonergic, as these emotions are triggered when the indi-
vidual feels threatened or under pressure, and therefore probably
has an inner feeling of weakness. Aggression has also been coupled
to serotonergic deficit in many studies, supporting the placement
of anger/rage on the low-serotonergic side [10,19,27,28,52,53]. An-
ger is also a rather common symptom in patients with depression
[110–113], which lends further support to the idea that anger is
low-serotonergic. Aggression among patients with Alzheimer’s dis-
ease has been treated with selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors
(SSRI), antipsychotic drugs (dopamine antagonists) and noradren-
ergic b-blockers [24,114].
High-noradrenergic emotions are supposedly those where the
individual is active and aroused, attentive, with a high pulse
[5,33,45,47,50]. The basic emotion fear/terror has been placed in
the low-serotonergic, low-noradrenergic, high-dopaminergic cor-
ner of the cube. This basic emotion should not be confused with
the active ‘‘fight or flight’’ reaction; instead fear/terror is consid-
ered here the ‘‘white, cold’’ fear, when the heart almost stops beat-
ing. Darwin wrote that fear is expressed ‘‘...by trembling, the
erection of the hair, cold perspiration, pallor, widely opened eyes,
the relaxation of most muscles, and by the whole body cowering
downwards or held motionless.’’ The so-called vasovagal syn-
cope might be understood as this reaction, as can freezing behavior
in mice. Considering these features, one might understand that
fear/terror is probably low-noradrenergic. The ‘‘fight or flight’’
reaction, on the other hand, seems analogous with the basic emo-
tion anger/rage i.e. high-noradrenergic, low-serotonergic, high-
dopaminergic, in the model. The reddish face and high pulse asso-
ciated with anger point towards this basic emotion being high-
As mentioned above Tomkins labeled each basic emotion with
two words, one for high intensity and one for lower intensity. In
the model the corner should be understood as the extreme state
and, therefore, the site for the basic emotion at maximum inten-
sity. The lower intensity of the specific basic emotion is located
within the cube, in the model, somewhere along the line between
the corner and the centre of the cube (which represents a more or
less neutral state).
Shame/humiliation and distress/anguish
The basic emotion of shame/humiliation has been placed in the
corner where all three monoamines are low. Tomkins wrote that
‘‘...shame strikes deepest into the heart of man.’’ and the individ-
ual feels ‘‘naked, defeated, alienated, lacking in dignity or worth.’’
The basic emotions, facial expression and assumed monoamine levels.
Eyebrows down, eyes track, look, listen
Smile, lips widened up and out, smiling eyes (circular wrinkles)
Eyebrows up, eyes blink
Crying, arched eyebrows, mouth down, tears, rhythmic sobbing
Eyes frozen open, pale, cold, sweaty, facial trembling, with hair erect
Eyes down, head down
Sneer, upper lip up
Frown, clenched jaw, eyes narrowed, red face
Note: 5-HT = serotonin, DA = dopamine, NE = noradrenaline.
aAccording to Tomkins [98,99].
bTomkins originally labeled this basic emotion surprise/startle, however, Ekman later convincingly showed that the startle response is unrelated to the basic emotion
surprise , and the label surprise was therefore chosen.
H. Lövheim/Medical Hypotheses 78 (2012) 341–348
 It seems rather clear, therefore, that this basic emotion be-
longs in this corner, considering the assumed properties of each
Distress/anguish is placed in a corner close to shame/humilia-
tion, as the active (and hence noradrenaline-high) analogue to
shame/humiliation, i.e. where noradrenaline is supposedly high
and dopamine and serotonin are low. The relation between shame
and depression [115–117], and anxiety and depression 
respectively, supports the placing of these two basic emotions on
the low-serotonergic side, as do the effect of SSRI antidepressants
on anxiety disorders , and an increased serotonin transporter
binding in generalized social anxiety disorder [120,121]. The asso-
ciation between shame and anxiety supports the decision to place
these two basic emotions close to each other [122,123].
A panic attack might be regarded as a model for the basic emo-
tion distress/anguish. There is evidence to support an association
between low dopamine activity and anxiety, particularly social
phobia but also generalized anxiety disorder. Patients with Parkin-
son’s disease often have concomitant anxiety [124,125], and the
dopamine-low Val genotype of the Val158Met polymorphism of
the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene is associated with
phobic anxiety [126,127]. Increased dopamine transporter binding
has been found among patients with generalized social anxiety dis-
order . Treatment with antipsychotics might also, in some
cases, provoke acute social phobia , and one dopamine-
enhancing drug, bupropion, has been found to be possibly useful
in the treatment of social phobia .
Noradrenergic b-receptors have been found to be critical for the
expression of cocaine-induced anxiety in mice , and high
doses of caffeine might provoke panic attacks in patients with
panic disorder or social phobia . Tension-anxiety has been
found to be associated with decreased b-adrenergic sensitivity
 and noradrenergic b-blockers are sometimes used to treat
uncomplicated performance anxiety . Taken together this
supports the view that distress/anguish is high-noradrenergic.
Interest/excitement and enjoyment/joy
Interest/excitement has been placed in the corner of the cube
where all three monoamines are high. This basic emotion is, there-
fore, according to this model, active, reinforcing and coupled to a
basic feeling of inner strength. One archetypal form of excitement
is sexual excitement, but this basic emotion might accompany a
wide range of events, perceptions or thoughts.
Considering the rewarding, motivating and reinforcing effects of
the dopamine axis it seems logical for the basic emotion of interest
to be high-dopaminergic. Dopamine plays an important role in
drug addiction , in appetite [134–136], in exploratory activity
, and in love  – which all represent interest in different
That interest is a high-serotonergic basic emotion is supported
by the effects of the serotonin-releasing agent 3,4-methylenedi-
oxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ‘‘Ecstasy’’) [139–144], the finding
that tryptophan supplementation or acute treatment with SSRI
antidepressants induces a positive bias in the processing of stimuli
[145–148], and the possibility of inducing mania by giving treat-
ment with antidepressants . The inability to experience inter-
est, i.e. anhedonia, is also a key feature of major depression ,
and hence supports interest as a high-serotonergic basic emotion.
Furthermore, the fact that ongoing treatment with SSRI antidepres-
sants might lead to blunted positive emotions and sexual dysfun-
tion [51,151,152], also supports interest as high-serotonergic, as
a reduction of post-synaptic receptors following continuous treat-
ment probably dampens serotonergic transmission in these cases.
Noradrenaline has been found to be elevated in relation to po-
sitive experiences of unexpected food reward  and sexual
excitement , and in relation to the initiation of eating [155–
158]. The classical experiment by Dutton and Aron where sexual
attraction to an attractive interviewer was increased by locating
the interview on a fear-arousing, high, suspension bridge as com-
pared to a low bridge , also points towards interest being
Enjoyment/joy is suggested as the low-noradrenergic analogue
to interest/excitement. Another word for this basic emotion might
be contentment, and compared to the basic emotion of interest/
excitement the individual experiencing enjoyment/joy is calm
and relaxed. These two basic emotions are considered the positive
basic emotions according to Tomkins [98,99], and, according to the
model, are defined by high levels of both serotonin and dopamine.
When an individual experiences an emotion of contempt or dis-
gust, there is also a nuance of superiority towards the object of the
emotion. Therefore, this basic emotion has been placed in one
high-serotonergic corner. Food-related disgust has been regarded
as a core feature of disgust and if you continue to eat when you
are already satisfied, you will eventually experience aversion to-
wards the food, even though it was previously palatable. Disgust
might, therefore, be somewhat related to satiety, in its extreme.
This points towards disgust being high-serotonergic, as do the re-
duced ability to recognize disgusted faces found in healthy individ-
uals after tryptophan depletion  and among patients with
severe depression  or social anxiety disorder . A seroto-
nin 5-HT2Creceptor agonist has been shown to induce conditioned
taste aversion  and blockade of 5-HT3receptors to lessen al-
lergy-induced food aversion . Nausea and vomiting are also
often treated with antagonists of serotonin receptor type 3, e.g.
ondasetron . The relation between shame/humiliation and
contempt/disgust has been described as self-contempt versus con-
tempt for an object , and therefore, it seems logical that the dif-
ference between these basic emotions, according to the model, is
the serotonergic state, assumed to be related to inner strength
Disgust is supposedly low-dopaminergic as it is in many ways
the direct opposite of reinforcement. Contempt/disgust is closely
related to repulsion and withdrawal; we usually stop eating when
we feel disgust. Dopamine-low individuals with the Val/Val geno-
type of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism have been found to be
more sensitive to disgust , and individuals with chronic
schizophrenia with anhedonia (functionally low in their dopamine
axis] have also been found to experience more disgust than healthy
controls [167,168]. In rats, it has been found that a conditioned
taste aversion stimulus leads to a significant decrease in extracel-
lular dopamine in the nucleus accumbens .
Surprise has been placed in the high-serotonergic, low-dopami-
nergic, high-noradrenergic corner, and might thus be regarded as
the non-reinforced analogue to excitement, which seems logical
tion. At the same time surprise is a highly focused, attentive state,
and therefore logically high-noradrenergic. Also, according to the
model, the individual experiencing surprise as compared to dis-
tress/anguish has a basic feeling of confidence and inner strength.
The basic emotions can be observed in adults and in newborns
and across different cultures [67,78,89–91]. Nathanson describes
H. Lövheim/Medical Hypotheses 78 (2012) 341–348
the basic emotions as ‘‘the group of ‘‘hard-wired,’’ preprogrammed,
genetically transmitted mechanisms that exist in each of us and
are responsible for the earliest forms of emotional life’’ . Con-
sidering the great impact of the monoamine systems on mood
and behavior, it seems likely that this ‘‘hard-wired’’ emotional con-
trol system is in fact the monoamine system.
Even if the monoaminergic axes might be represented in an
orthogonal coordinate system, as suggested in this article, further
studies are needed to confirm the relation between combinations
of monoamine levels and different emotional states. There is also
a need for further elucidation of the properties of each monoamin-
ergic axis. More studies including registration of emotions and
behavior, and/or registration of typical brain activation patterns
using a PET scan, during pharmacological manipulation of the
monoaminergic axes, either one by one or more than one at the
time, would be valuable, as would more studies of emotional dys-
regulation and associated perturbations in the monoaminergic sys-
tems in people with various psychiatric disorders. Animal studies
of emotion and behavior following systematic manipulation of
the monoaminergic axes or during direct voltammetric measure-
ments  of monoamine levels could also be used to test the
validity of the model.
Interestingly, the model suggested in this article offers a theo-
retical explanation of why there might be exactly eight basic emo-
tions, a number previously suggested as a result of various
empirical investigations of emotion [82,99]. There is also, suppos-
edly, an infinite number of intermediate states, located inside the
cube model, that all correspond to certain inner states. This model
might, therefore, also explain the formation of complex, or mixed,
emotional states, as well as why certain emotions are ‘‘basic’’.
Cognitive processes might also, most probably, modify the experi-
ence and emotional expression produced by a given monoaminer-
gic combination, however, this does not invalidate the model as
In the field of psychology, some authors have previously de-
scribed human emotions in terms of dimensions [71,171–187],
and some have proposed three-dimensional systems [177–
185,187]. In 1897 Wilhelm Max Wundt, the father of modern
psychology, proposed three dimensions of emotion: ‘‘pleasurable
versus unpleasurable’’, ‘‘arousing or subduing’’ and ‘‘strain or
relaxation’’ . Later, Schlosberg named three dimensions
‘‘pleasantness–unpleasantness’’, ‘‘attention–rejection’’ and ‘‘level
of activation’’ . These two theories bear some obvious similar-
ities to the model presented in this article. However, the pleasant-
ness dimension, which has been proposed in many articles
following Wundt, is not identical to either one of the serotonergic
or dopaminergic axes. These earlier models thus seem somewhat
rotated compared to the model presented in this article. One poten-
tial bias in previous studies of the dimensionality of emotion is that
the pleasantness dimension was often more or less taken for
granted, and used when subsequently rating a variety of emotions.
Plutchik also developed a sort of three-dimensional model of
emotion, in which the emotions are basically ordered in a circle
based on similarity . An intensity dimension is added to this
polar, similarity-based model. Here Plutchik might have been mis-
led by the fact that the model originated from a two-dimensional
representation, a so-called circumplex model, which then might
have led to the possibly false conclusion that the emotions could
be ordered in opposing pairs. Therefore, Plutchik’s model is not
three-dimensional in the same sense as the model presented in
The main advantage of the model presented in this article, com-
pared to all these earlier models of the dimensionality of emotions,
is its neurobiological correlate. The model presented in this article
could, because of its direct relation to the monoamine systems,
help in the understanding of psychiatric illness and the effect of
psychotropic drugs. In certain psychiatric disorders the dynamics
of one monoamine is thought to be impaired, e.g. serotonin in ma-
jor depression . If interpreted in terms of the model, in the case
of depression, the serotonin axis is supposedly locked in the low-
end of the scale and the emotional palette is therefore restricted
to one side of the cube, the low-serotonergic side. The basic emo-
tions that are within reach are shame/humiliation, fear/terror, dis-
tress/anguish and anger/rage. The primary depressive symptoms of
sadness and lack of interest or pleasure , might be viewed as
the inability to reach the basic emotions of enjoyment/joy and
interest/excitement respectively, both located on the high-seroto-
nergic side of the cube.
Other psychiatric disorders associated with disturbances of the
monoamine systems might also be interpreted in terms of the
model. Although this is speculative and needs to be empirically
tested, consider, for example, whether the symptoms of an acute
psychosis might be characterized by the supposedly high-dopami-
nergic basic emotions – an emotional palette restricted to the high-
dopaminergic side of the cube – or possibly if symptoms of mania
could be characterized as an emotional palette comprising high-
serotonergic basic emotions only. If further studies could confirm
the validity of this model, perhaps an inventory of the emotions ex-
pressed by the patient could serve as a guide to which monoamine
disturbances are present. Further clarifying the relation between
the emotions, the monoamines and the psychiatric disorders might
contribute to a better understanding of emotional regulation in
healthy as well as in mentally ill people, and possibly lead to more
specific treatments with psychotropic drugs.
This article presents a new, explanatory, three-dimensional
model for monoamine neurotransmitters and basic emotions. Fur-
ther empirical studies are needed to establish its validity.
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