Barnaby D. Dunn
Anhedonia—a loss of interest and pleasure in previously enjoyable activities—is one of the two cardinal symptoms of depression but has until recently been relatively neglected in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for depression. One way to better target anhedonia is to identify in the laboratory what psychological mechanisms drive the reduced pleasure experience in depression and then to develop in the clinic novel CBT techniques that address these mechanisms. This chapter reviews evidence evaluating how well classic CBT repairs anhedonia, provides an overview of recent experimental work characterizing anhedonia and exploring anhedonia maintenance mechanisms, and discusses implications for adapting CBT to better repair anhedonia. While the focus is on depression, implications for the transdiagnostic treatment of anhedonia are discussed.
Daniel A. Briley
As a field, behavior genetics has a long and often underappreciated focus on environmental and situational factors. This chapter describes the methodological details and empirical findings of this line of work, as well as what situation research can gain from behavior genetics and vice versa. Genetically informative designs offer tools to quantify the extent to which people actively create their situational experiences as opposed to randomly encountering them, and novel advances in situation research have the potential to clarify the scattered history of environmental variables in behavioral genetics. Current progress in personality psychology will be highlighted. Parallels between behavior genetics and personality work can be found both in terms of mechanisms (e.g., gene-environment correlation and gene × environment interaction contrasting with selection effects and person × situation effects) and explanatory pitfalls. Researchers interested in delineating the pathways from situations to behavior would do well to draw from and build upon work in behavior genetics.
Charles C. Chan
The essentiality of seeing people within a particular social context and their respective temporal contexts of livelihood is the core of community psychology. Community psychology takes an ecological perspective. As such, it does not stop at the immediate family, circle of friends, or work collegues, but includes the intermediate level and macro-level contexts. Hence, community psychology is demonstrably different from the rest of psychology both in conceptualization and methodology. Communities are social systems that serve to meet human needs; therefore, community psychology can be defined as understanding the needs of people and the resources available to meet those needs. This article initially introduces community psychology and its central values and principles in general and then explains the aspects of community psychology in Chinese societies. However, it states that the lack of proper literature on the history of development in community psychology of China is a hurdle in its study.
Tetsuya Iidaka and Tokiko Harada
This chapter reviews how cultural values modulate emotional processing in the amygdala? Here we discuss a functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment whereby Japanese participants performed an emotional dot-probe task in which they were presented with an unpleasant picture (insect) and a neutral picture (chair). The unpleasant picture condition evoked a greater amygdala response. Between-condition differences in amygdala response were negatively correlated with individualism and collectivism cultural value scores, indicating that individuals who were more collectivistic showed a greater amygdala response. In a second experiment, we modulated individual cultural differences (individualism vs. collectivism) with a cultural priming task in Japanese participants, half of whom were primed with an individualistic scenario and half with a collectivistic scenario. Significant activation of the right amygdala was observed in the collectivistic-primed group. Biological variability in responses to emotional stimuli exists in individuals living in a relatively unitary culture, such as Japan; the neural response of the amygdala was significantly associated with the cultural values of individualism and collectivism.
Hooria Jazaieri, Amanda S. Morrison, and James J. Gross
It has widely been acknowledged that many psychological disorders involve difficulties with emotion regulation. However, the majority of this work has focused on difficulties regulating negative emotion. Using the process model of emotion regulation as a guiding framework, this chapter illustrates the regulation of positive emotional experience in social anxiety disorder. For many people, interpersonal situations are some of the most meaningful and pleasurable in life. However, for individuals with social anxiety disorder, interpersonal situations often are more stressful and terrifying than they are meaningful and pleasurable. As a consequence, individuals with social anxiety disorder have poorer relationships and fewer social connections. This chapter first briefly reviews general features of emotion regulation and then considers emotion and emotion regulation in social anxiety disorder specifically. We then summarize the role of positive emotion and the regulation of positive emotional experience in social anxiety disorder. The chapter also discusses implications for assessment and treatment.
Emma Hitchcock, Afton L. Hassett, and Tor D. Wager
The relationship between negative affect and health outcomes is widely studied. One finding, clearly supported by both behavioral and biological data, is that pain and poor health lead to greater negative affect. We aim to challenge this paradigm by exploring the ways that positive affect can affect pain and health outcomes. Current models of pain show that painful experiences are more than just a direct mapping of nociceptive input: They are mediated by complex cerebral processes and psychological input. The objective of this chapter is to examine the role that positive affect plays in alleviating pain and benefitting health overall. In medical and clinical settings, positive affect is often overlooked and considered a mere negative correlate to negative affect. This chapter examines the true relationship between positive and negative affect and the implications of this relationship or balance in individuals with pain. The chapter suggests that positive and negative affect cannot be characterized as opposite ends of a single spectrum or as orthogonal factors produced by distinct systems. Each experience of positive and negative affect is a complex mapping within an affective sphere. Potentially beneficial manipulations of positive affect (intervention studies), informed by work on the brain basis of emotions, are explored.
The Encultured Genome: Molecular Evidence for Recent Divergent Evolution in Human Neurotransmitter Genes
Chuansheng Chen, Robert K. Moyzis, Xuemei Lei, Chunhui Chen, and Qi Dong
This chapter aims to stipulate a line of research on the role of culture in recent human evolution. We discuss and evaluate several common arguments against recent human evolution. Second, we summarize empirical evidence for recent human evolution from classic examples to recent genome-wide searches. Third, using three data sets, we present detailed analyses of the extent of universal and group-specific selection of genes that are most relevant to human behaviors, namely neurotransmitter genes. We found that (1) a large number of neurotransmitter genes expressed in the central nervous system showed evidence of recent selection; (2) approximately one-fourth of these selection events appeared to be common among the four groups studied (i.e., Africans, Europeans, East Asians, and Australian Aborigines); and (3) selected gene variants were generally associated with better school-related skills but poorer performance on some cognitive and socioemotional traits, which seemed consistent with the human self-domestication hypothesis.
Nicole Geschwind, Saara Martinmäki, and Eric L. Garland
Positive emotions are vital to psychological well-being and enhance resilience against psychopathology. One of the psychiatric disorders most characterized by a lack of positive emotions is major depressive disorder. Despite the resilience-enhancing features of positive emotions and high rates of relapse for major depressive disorder, current recommended treatment forms do not pay much explicit attention to the stimulation of positive emotions. One evidence-based form of relapse prevention is mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. In mindfulness based cognitive therapy, participants train their capacity to intentionally guide their attention toward present-moment experience through daily practice, such as focusing on their own breath. Another important aspect of the training is the cultivation of an open, nonevaluative, curious, and mild orientation of mind. Many scholars have focused on the nonevaluative quality of mindful present-moment awareness as an antidote for reducing negative mental states. The question arises regarding which extent mindfulness-based therapies naturally enhance positive emotions. The current chapter first reviews the current evidence for positive emotions as a protective factor against the development of major depressive episodes and then examines the evidence for the idea that mindfulness practice may naturally facilitate the experience of positive emotions. The chapters ends by presenting a novel account detailing how the practice of mindfulness may result in increased positive emotions as well as translate into an increased sense of meaningfulness and purpose. Implications for enhancing the facilitation of positive emotions in mindfulness-based therapies are discussed.
Martin Reuter and Christian Montag
The chapter addresses the molecular genetic basis of the personality trait positive emotionality (PE). Beginning with historical aspects of heritability estimation and personality assessment, the main portion of this chapter discusses the molecular genetics basis of PE, which is investigated far less frequently than that of negative emotionality (NE). The studies reviewed focus on individual differences in PE in healthy subjects and include only those studies that assess PE by broadly accepted personality inventories. The review is concentrated on dopaminergic and serotonergic genes because these genes show the most association with PE.
Sheri L. Johnson, Amy H. Sanchez, and Charles S. Carver
This chapter addresses goal dysregulation in the mood disorders and schizophrenia. A large body of basic research has considered goal regulation mechanisms that support the pursuit of reward. This chapter outlines some components of goal regulation, their relevance for emotion, and some ways in which goal regulation can go awry. It begins by providing an overview of normative goal regulation processes and how these relate to emotion. Then, we discuss models and evidence concerning goal dysregulation across psychopathologies (depression, mania, and schizophrenia). The chapter concludes with a discussion of clinical implications of this work, unaddressed issues, and future directions.
Identifying a Cultural Resource: Neural Mechanisms Underlying Familial Influence on Adolescent Risk Taking
Eva H. Telzer, Andrew J. Fuligni, and Adriana Galvan
Family obligation, which implies children’s role in the support and assistance of their family, is a fundamental aspect of family life. Family obligation has important implications for the adjustment of adolescents from Mexican backgrounds, relating to lower levels of risky behavior. Risk taking underlies many behavioral and health factors, such as substance use and externalizing behavior, that contribute to the public health burden during the adolescent period. Advances in developmental neuroscience have identified key neurobiological underpinnings of adolescent risk taking, but there is little understanding of how these neural processes interact with cultural and social processes to promote or prevent risk taking. We present a multimethod, longitudinal program of research that uses self-reports of risk taking and substance use, experimental tasks, and functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the mechanisms by which a culturally meaningful type of family relationship—family obligation—buffers Mexican youth from drug use and risk taking.
Indices and Correlates of Positive Emotion in Psychopathology: Methodological and Design Considerations
Sunny J. Dutra, Marianne Reddan, John R. Purcell, Hillary C. Devlin, and Keith M. Welker
This chapter not only draws from previous authoritative measurement overviews in the general field of emotion, but also advances these resources in several key ways. First, it provides a specific focus on positive valence systems, which have not yet received specific methodological attention. Second, the field of positive emotion (PE) has expanded in recent years with new and innovative methods, making an updated review of methodological tools timely. Third, the chapter incorporates discussion of PE disturbance in clinical populations and the methods best suited to capture PE dysfunctions. This chapter also outlines some tools that can allow researchers to capture a broad array of PE quantified by self-report, behavioral coding, and biological correlates as seen through changes in the central and peripheral nervous system (i.e., brain and body). After reviewing PE measurement methods and correlates, this chapter includes several methods for studying PE beyond the individual level (i.e., interpersonal) and traditional laboratory settings (i.e., ambulatory or experience sampling). It provides key examples of their applications to study PE in clinical populations while acknowledging several of their basic advantages and disadvantages.
Kent C. Berridge
Reward, pleasure, threat, fear, and disgust are emotional labels that we often use with confidence, as if we knew the identity of their corresponding psychological processes. Those psychological processes of emotion are quite real and deeply grounded in brain systems shared by humans with many animals. But, the identity of fundamental psychological components within emotion are sometimes mistaken because only the final products are experienced, losing the identity of important psychological components that arise en route. Some of those components can have counterintuitive psychological features. For example, the experience of pleasant rewards actually contains distinct psychological processes of “liking” (hedonic impact) and “wanting” (incentive salience). Experience of fear-evoking threats hides distinct psychological components of passive reaction and an actively coping form of fearful salience. Perhaps most counterintuitively, the component of “fear” salience in threat shares a hidden psychological and neural relationship to that of “wanting” for rewards. These psychological components have implications both for ordinary emotions and for pathological disorders ranging from addiction to paranoia. Affective neuroscience studies in this way can produce surprises and insights into the psychological structure of emotions.
Catherine E. Barrett and Larry J. Young
Many psychiatric illnesses, including autism spectrum disorders (ASD), schizophrenia, and depression, are characterized by impaired social cognition and a compromised ability to form social relationships. Although drugs are currently available to treat other symptoms of these disorders, none specifically target the social deficits. In order to develop pharmacotherapies to enhance social functioning, particularly for ASD where social impairment is a core symptom, we must first understand the basic neurobiology underlying complex social behaviors. The socially monogamous prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster) has been a remarkably useful animal model for exploring the neural systems regulating complex social behaviors, including social bonding. Prairie voles form enduring social bonds between mated partners, or pair bonds, and display a biparental familial structure that is arguably very similar to that of humans. Here we discuss the neural systems underlying social bonding in prairie voles, including the neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin, opioids, dopaminergic reward and reinforcement, and stress-related circuitry, as well as the susceptibility of social functioning to early life experiences. We highlight some of the remarkable parallels that have been discovered in humans, and discuss how research in prairie voles has already led to novel therapies to enhance social functioning in ASD.
Michelle N. Shiota and Samantha L. Neufeld
Visceral sensations mediated by activation of the autonomic nervous system are thought to play an important role in emotional experience. Autonomic physiology changes in important and complex ways with normal aging, with implications for several aspects of emotional responding. These changes are summarized, and current research on the relationship between emotion psychophysiology and emotional experience is reviewed in light of these structural alterations. Suggested directions for future research on aging and autonomic aspects of emotion are offered that take advantage of new methodological techniques and new knowledge about autonomic aging, as well as recent theoretical developments on emotion, aging, and their intersection.
Alexis E. Whitton, Michael T. Treadway, Manon L. Ironside, and Diego A. Pizzagalli
This chapter provides a critical review of recent behavioral and neuroimaging evidence of reward processing abnormalities in mood disorders. The primary focus is on the neural mechanisms underlying disruption in approach motivation, reward learning, and reward-based decision-making in major depression and bipolar disorder. Efforts focused on understanding how reward-related impairments contribute to psychiatric symptomatology have grown substantially in recent years. This has been driven by significant advances in the understanding of the neurobiology of reward processing and a growing recognition that disturbances in motivation and hedonic capacity are poorly targeted by current pharmacological and psychotherapeutic interventions. As a result, numerous studies have sought to test the presence of reward circuit dysfunction in psychiatric disorders that are marked by anhedonia, amotivation, mania, and impulsivity. Moreover, as the field has increasingly eschewed categorical diagnostic boundaries in favor of symptom dimensions, there has been a parallel rise in studies seeking to identify transdiagnostic neural markers of reward processing dysfunction that may transcend disorders. The thesis of this chapter is twofold: First, evidence indicates that specific subcomponents of reward processing map onto partially distinct neurobiological pathways. Second, specific subcomponents of reward processing, including reward learning and effort-based decision-making, are impaired across different mood disorder diagnoses and may point to dimensions in symptom presentation that possess more reliable behavioral and neural correlates. The potential for these findings to inform the development of prevention and treatment strategies is discussed.
Virginia E. Sturm and Robert W. Levenson
Alterations in emotion are common in neurodegenerative disease. Although often associated with diminished functioning, neurodegeneration of emotion circuits can lead to both losses and gains in a range of emotional functions, including reactivity, regulation, appraisal, and empathy. Most previous research in this area has focused on the impact of neurodegeneration on negative emotions; however, there has recently been increasing interest in the degree to which neurodegenerative diseases may also alter positive emotions. This chapter reviews how different neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., frontotemporal dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease) impact positive emotions and the neural basis of positive emotion alterations. We will also discuss how decreases and increases in positive emotional reactivity can lead to specific behavioral symptoms in neurodegenerative disease and can impact patients’ family members and caregivers.
Adam Anderson and Hans Melo
Our ability to recover from a negative experiences has profound implications not only for mental disorder but also for healthy living; while some individuals are deeply affected by life stressors and develop poor mental health, others seem to overcome even major traumatic events quickly and effortlessly. Critically, individual differences in resilience reflect underlying differences in the neural and genetic mechanisms implemented by different individuals to cope with hardship. Recent advances in functional neuroimaging and molecular genetics have given rise to a synthetic approach referred to as Imaging Genetics with great potential to develop a more fine-grained neurobiological characterization of optimal human functioning. The goal of imaging genetics is to identify mid-level phenotypes, or endophenotypes, in the form of brain activity patterns that reveal genetic influences on specific cognitive and emotional neural processes in the path from genes to behavior, and disorder. Recent years have seen increasing interest in understanding the genetic and neural basis of resilience. In this context, optimal functioning is not defined as the absence of disease but rather as the characteristics and conditions that allow a person to live well, thrive, and flourish. In this chapter we introduce the imaging genetics approach by providing methodological considerations, and discussing relevant studies and future directions as they may relate to resilience and the field of positive psychology in general.
Daniel G. Dillon
Depression can disrupt episodic memory; stress and excessive negative emotion associated with depressive illness are largely to blame. The tendency of depressed adults to repeatedly retrieve and elaborate on emotionally negative memories is well documented and figures prominently in the disorder’s cognitive models. Focusing exclusively on enhanced memory for negative material, however, misses the fact that depression impairs memory for emotionally positive material. The neural mechanisms responsible for this positive memory deficit are not well understood, but data from nonhuman animals and healthy adults suggest a simple hypothesis. Confronted daily with innumerable inputs, the brain has evolved signals that distinguish information to retain from information to safely discard. Dopamine release is such a signal. When dopamine impinges on receptors in the hippocampus, it triggers a sequence of molecular processes that strengthen the connection between synapses, solidifying memory for the events proximal to dopamine release. Because dopamine neurons fire robustly in response to unexpected, rewarding events (i.e., highly arousing, positive experiences), this mechanism should support lasting memories for positive experiences. A growing literature links depression to stress-induced inhibition of midbrain dopamine neurons. The chapter proposes that the positive memory deficit in depression reflect failure of the aforementioned mechanism: Positive events do not elicit robust dopamine responses in depressed adults, leading to weak activation of hippocampal dopamine receptors, compromised synaptic strengthening, and—ultimately—poor memory. The chapter presents this proposal in detail to evaluate its promise as an explanation for positive memory deficits in depression.
Timothy A. Allen and Colin G. DeYoung
Personality psychology seeks both to understand how individuals differ from one another in behavior, motivation, emotion, and cognition and to explain the causes of those differences. The goal of personality neuroscience is to identify the underlying sources of personality traits in neurobiological systems. This chapter reviews neuroscience research on the traits of the Five Factor Model (the Big Five: Extraversion, Neuroticism, Openness/Intellect, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness). The review emphasizes the importance of theoretically informed neuroscience by framing results in light of a theory of the psychological functions underlying each of the Big Five. The chapter additionally reviews the various neuroscientific methods available for personality research and highlights pitfalls and best practices in personality neuroscience.