Issues in localization of brain function: The case of lateralized frontal cortex in cognition, emotion, and psychopathology

Gregory A. Miller, Laura D. Crocker, Jeffrey M. Spielberg, Zachary P. Infantolino, Wendy Heller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The appeal of simple, sweeping portraits of large-scale brain mechanisms relevant to psychological phenomena competes with a rich, complex research base. As a prominent example, two views of frontal brain organization have emphasized dichotomous lateralization as a function of either emotional valence (positive/negative) or approach/avoidance motivation. Compelling findings support each. The literature has struggled to choose between them for three decades, without success. Both views are proving untenable as comprehensive models. Recent evidence indicates that positive valence and approach motivation are associated with different areas in the left hemisphere. Evidence of other frontal lateralizations, involving distinctions among dimensions of depression and anxiety, make a dichotomous view even more problematic. Recent evidence indicates that positive valence and approach motivation are associated with different areas in the left hemisphere. Findings that appear contradictory at the level of frontal lobes as the units of analysis can be accommodated because hHemodynamic and electromagnetic neuroimaging studies suggest considerable functional differentiation, in specialization and activation, of subregions of frontal cortex, including their connectivity to each other and to other regions. Such findings contribute to a more nuanced understanding of functional localization that accommodates aspects of multiple theoretical perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFrontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
Issue numberJAN
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 7 2013

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • Frontal cortex
  • Lateralization
  • Localization
  • Motivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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