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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is from the forthcoming The Oxford Handbook of Affective Computing edited by Rafael Calvo, Sidney K. D'Mello, Jonathan Gratch, and Arvid Kappas. Emotion is often defined as a multicomponent response to a significant stimulus characterized by brain and body arousal and a subjective feeling state, eliciting a tendency toward motivated action. This chapter reviews the neuroscience of emotion, especially highlighting a psychological constructionist approach that considers certain events to result from the interplay of basic neurophysiological operations not specific to emotion. The authors adopt an embodied cognition perspective, highlighting the importance of the whole body—not just the brain—to better understand the biological basis of emotion and drawing on influential theories, including Polyvagal Theory and the Somatic Marker Hypothesis, which emphasize the importance of bidirectional communication between viscera and brain, and the impact of visceral responses on subjective feeling state and decision making, respectively. Embodied cognition has important implications for understanding emotion, and the authors emphasise the need for further research that draws on affective computing principles and focuses on objective measures of body and brain to further elucidate the specificity of different emotional states.

Keywords: Basic emotions, natural kinds, psychological constructionism, emotion specificity, embodied cognition, psychophysiology, neuroimaging

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