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Affective neuroscience

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A branch of neuroscience that deals with the scientific study of the neural mechanisms associated with emotion


Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system and is concerned with the structure, development, function, chemistry, pharmacology, and pathology of the nervous system. Modern tools and technologies (e.g. molecular biology, electrophysiology, computational methods, etc.) led to the advancement of research on nervous system. As a result, neuroscience is now comprised of various branches. Affective neuroscience is one of the branches of neuroscience that deals primarily with the neural mechanisms of emotion. Studies on this field are typically done through experimentation on animal models. It relates to the psychological study of an individual's personality, emotion, and mood. Paul Broca (a French physician), James Papez (an American neuroanatomist), and Paul D. Maclean (an American neuroanatomist) made the earliest works suggesting that brain structures such as limbic system (e.g. amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus, fornix, cingulate gyrus, etc.) were involved in emotion. For instance, the amygdalae are said to be involved in the production of emotion, particularly fear.

Affective neuroscience is sometimes referred to as the cognitive neuroscience of emotion since cognition includes all mental processes. However, affective neuroscience is made distinct from another field, i.e. cognitive neuroscience. The latter tackles in particular the mental processes that are non-emotional., e.g. memory, problem solving, mental imagery, etc.

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