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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Affective neuroscience, the study of neural mechanisms that give rise to emotional experiences in humans and animals, has a short but rich history. Almost three decades old, affective neuroscience has predominantly taken two theoretical approaches to understanding the brain bases of human emotions, and thus, two stances on the brain bases of emotion dysregulation. One approach, the traditional approach, argues that specific emotions are hardwired in human biology with specific neural underpinnings or signatures for said emotions. The second approach, a psychological constructionist approach, argues that each experienced emotion emerges not from a specific, dedicated anatomical circuit, but from an interplay of broad networks in the brain that are involved in general operations of the mind. This chapter provides an overview of these two theoretical approaches with a specific focus on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) findings. It concludes with evidence suggesting how emotion dysregulation may arise and links this work to clinical fMRI investigations of anxiety disorders. It closes by suggesting future directions affective neuroscience may take to better understand processes underlying dysregulated emotions.

Keywords: affective neuroscience, emotion dysregulation, emotions, psychological constructionism, brain, mind, functional MRI, anxiety disorders, constructed emotion theory

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