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WIREs Cogn Sci
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Neural basis of affect and emotion

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Abstract Research on affect and emotion has recently been informed by novel methods and theories in cognitive neuroscience. This perspective, known as affective neuroscience, has the potential to dramatically improve our understanding of fundamental processes of emotion. In this article, we review the major neural systems involved in emotion and consider the computational properties of these regions. Specifically, we consider affect systems associated with the representation of predicted and experienced affective states, the cortical re‐representation of body states, and the role of reflection in generating and maintaining emotional episodes. WIREs Cogni Sci 2011 2 656–665 DOI: 10.1002/wcs.145 This article is categorized under: Neuroscience > Cognition

Multiple determinants of emotional state. At any given moment in time, an individual's current affective state is partially determined by (1) the situation, or what is occurring in the environment and (2) the individual's affective trajectory: comparing the current state of the world with what the individual had predicted for himself. A current affective state also naturally leads to a prediction for the future: whether things will improve, worsen, or remain the same. For example at Time [n + 1], the individual's affective state is jointly determined by his representation of the world at Time [n + 1] and what he had predicted for himself at Time [n]. This composite affective state informs a prediction for his affective state at Time [n + 2].

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