Broca’s area

… stories and the literature of marriages that has been broken over damage to the right hemisphere, specifically in the region of
Broca’s area.
Imagine this, one spouse declares to another, “you don’t love me anymore.” “Of course I love you. Why don’t you believe me that I love you?”
Well, the idea here [is] one spouse no longer believes the words by themselves.
Because the other–who perhaps has had a brain injury to the right inferior frontal gyrus–can no longer imbue speech with passion, with the emotion that is the life force of our human relations.

Medical Neuroscience
January 2016
Duke University


Persistent Mood States

A Social Model of Persistent Mood States
Long Doan
Social Psychology Quarterly September 2012   vol. 75  no. 3  198-218

Researchers have used moods to explain a variety of phenomena, yet the social causes of a mood are unknown. In this article, I present a social model of persistent mood states that argues that interactional characteristics such as the status differences between actors, the perceived responsibility of the other actor, and the reason for an emotional response influence the persistence of an emotional response to a situation. The mechanisms through which these factors cause an emotion to become a mood are the intensity of the emotional reaction and how much the actor reflects on the situation as a result of the interaction. I use data from the 1996 General Social Survey to test this model for anger; the results of the analyses provide support for many aspects of the model. The proposed model is a first step in explaining social factors that cause persistent mood states, and I discuss possible directions for future scholarship.

Keywords: moods, emotions, affect control theory, self and identity, self-attributions

Less and less willing to sit with our emotions

How Medicalizing Grief Turns Into Dollars
Forbes. February 21, 2012

grief, once excluded from the definition of depression, is now included within it.
This means that people grieving over the death of a loved one could theoretically go to their psychiatrist and be prescribed pills to treat the “condition.”

The Lancet beautifully outlines why the medicalization of grief is misguided for so many reasons.
Antidepressants don’t do anything to the moods of non-depressed people, they point out, so there’s little likelihood that they would work to reduce grief.
Arthur Kleinman, a medical anthropologist, says that since the APA wants to allow for treatment of the normal grieving process, it had to first yank it from Normalcy and plunk it down in the realm of Abnormal, or worse, “make it over into a disease—ie, depression.”

the DSM continues to shorten the normal grieving processes.
The DSM-III considered grief for up to one year acceptable, the DSM-IV only two months.
No other culture, Kleinman says, considers two months a normal amount of time to grieve. They must be shaking their heads at us silly Americans and our strange attitude towards grief. Cultures across the globe vary hugely in what’s considered a normal timeframe to grieve, some devoting the remainder of the lifespan to mourning the loss of a loved one.

a fundamental difference between grief and clinical depression: grief, in many ways, makes sense, as there is direct cause for the feelings of sadness, loss, sleeplessness, and lack of concentration.

Would you want to take a medication if it would help lighten the pain of grief?
Or is it better to experience it, work through it, and wait for it to lift in its own time?
There is undoubtedly a place where grief becomes depression when it does not lighten for a long time.
But considering it a symptom of depression from day one seems like a damaging way to define it.

see also:


CRAZYWISE: A Traditional Approach to Mental Illness
Phil Borges
Jan 2, 2016

When a young person experiences a frightening break from reality, Western experts usually label it a “first-episode psychosis”, while many psychologists and cultures define it as a “spiritual awakening.

Our emotional state biases our expectations for the future

Mining Books To Map Emotions Through A Century
April 01, 2013

“Generally speaking, the usage of these commonly known emotion words has been in decline over the 20th century,” Bentley says. We used words that expressed our emotions less in the year 2000 than we did 100 years earlier — words about sadness and joy and anger and disgust and surprise.

In fact, there is only one exception that Bentley and his colleagues found: fear. “The fear-related words start to increase just before the 1980s,” he says.

this method — mining vast amounts of written language — is incredibly promising.

language analysis seems so promising to him — as a new window that might offer a different, maybe even more objective, view into our culture. Because, he says, it’s difficult for people today to guess the emotions of people of different times.

Our current emotional state completely biases our memories of the past and our expectations for the future,” Pennebaker says. “And, using these language samples, we are able to peg how people are feeling over time.
That’s what I love about it as a historical marker, so we can get a sense of how groups of people — or entire cultures — might have felt 10 years ago, or 100 years ago.”

see also:

We’ve become loose in applying the term “mental disorder” to …

IF… (a SEL game)

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is learning how to understand and manage our emotions.

Revolutionary Bedfellows: IF Teachers and Game Mechanics Unite to Innovate
Trip Hawkins  |  CEO, If You Can Company
November 06, 2013
In this session Trip Hawkins, founder of gaming giant Electronic Arts, will reveal his latest venture; an educational service for preteen children, that offers regular, new monthly content in the form of interactive stories and curriculum delivered through blended gameplay and role-playing.
He will describe how they developed the program with a recipe that is similar to how EA Sports was co-developed, with subject matter experts like John Madden, blueprints like the NFL Rules, player statistics, and then blended into state-of-the-art platforms, game technologies and UI.
Trip will discuss this new model and his recipe for successful product development, design, content and UI.

Emotional contagion -> Empathy

Emotional contagion for pain is intact in autism spectrum disorders
Translational Psychiatry (2014) 4, e343
N Hadjikhani, et al.

Individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have impaired social understanding, and seemingly reduced reactions to others’ emotions, which may be interpreted as lack of empathetic concern.
Empathy can be defined as ‘the ability to form an embodied representation of another’s emotional state, while at the same time being aware of the causal mechanism that induced the emotional state in the other’.
Empathy is a multicomponent process, consisting mainly of experience sharing and mental state attribution.
The evolutionary precursor of empathy is emotional contagion, a phylogenetically old phenomenon, even observable in distressed mice.
Emotional contagion is a precursor of emotional empathy, whereby embodiment entails the forming of a representation of the other person’s feelings, and thereby sharing of their experience.
In the observer, this ‘perception-action’ coupling mechanism elicits the activation of the same neural networks as in the person experiencing the emotional state.

Dimensional models of emotion

Rolls’ theory of emotion

Unifying accounts of emotion

Dimensional models in psychology
Dimensional accounts of emotion were borne out of the observation that human errors in recognizing facial expressions are not random, but instead form consistent, replicable patterns that can be accommodated by a model in which facial expressions are recognized by registering their positions in a continuous two-dimensional space.
This approach has survived to the present day, its most recent variant being Russell’s circumplex model, a two-dimensional system coding pleasure–displeasure and arousal–sleepiness.

Neuropsychology of fear and loathing
Andrew J. Calder, et al.
Nature Reviews Neuroscience 2, 352-363 (May 2001)

I felt some kinship with that

Living, And ‘Forgiving,’ In A Brilliant Writer’s Orbit
January 18, 2014

I first read Kafka when I was young, and it felt to me very direct.
It felt to me — although they were about a person turning into a cockroach, or an artist whose art is to starve himself while people watch — it felt to me like the stories were the autobiography of his emotions. And I guess I felt some kinship with that.

Victory Or Defeat? Emotions Aren’t All In The Face

Victory Or Defeat? Emotions Aren’t All In The Face
November 29, 2012

… that sense of certainty disappeared, he found, when he took images of tennis winners and losers, and erased everything but the face. When he showed just those isolated faces to people, they couldn’t tell if something positive or negative was going on.

Then he showed people images of tennis players with the faces erased. People had to judge winners from losers based solely on the rest of the body. “And when people saw the body alone, they easily knew if this was a positive or negative emotion,”

This is counterintuitive, he says, because people usually assume that if they are getting an emotional message, it must come from the facial expression.

In fact, when Aviezer shows people full images of tennis players — the faces plus the body — and asks them to describe how they know what the player is feeling, people usually describe the face. They claim to see tell-tale clues in the player’s eyes or mouth. “When in fact it’s an illusion,” says Aviezer. “They have this false idea of information in the face when really it’s coming from the body.”

These studies challenge long-held assumptions about the importance of facial expressions, she says.

“When you and I talk to each other and we look at each other, we’re really looking at each other’s faces. That’s where our attention is. And so the assumption has been that that’s where all the information is, too,” says Barrett. “But these studies show very clearly that that’s not the case.”

These findings add to a growing body of evidence that when we’re trying to figure out another person’s emotional state, we rely on a lot more than just the face.

very related: