Evidence is reviewed to suggest that parietotemporal regions of the right hemisphere not only are specialized for the processing of emotional information but also play a critical role in the experience of emotion. In particular, it is argued that these regions of the right hemisphere constitute a system involved in modulating autonomic and behavioral arousal in emotional states. This system is characterized by a set of cognitive and attentional qualities that make it uniquely suited to respond to environmental events in an adaptive fashion. The current proposal is an elaboration of a model of emotion and brain organization (Heller, 1990) that incorporates several aspects of emotional function: (a) perception and production of emotional information, (b) mood and emotional experience, and (c) autonomic arousal. In the context of this model, it is suggested that the right-hemisphere system operates in conjunction with a system localized to the frontal lobes that is involved in modulating the emotional valence of experience. The interaction of these two systems is hypothesized to be conditioned by individual differences and developmental tendencies that contribute to the production of a unique and stable pattern of personality traits and emotional characteristics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology