Evidence for the theory of constructed emotion

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Appendix D endnote 14, from How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:

We hypothesized that less typical simulations would require the interoceptive network to work harder to issue predictions, compared to simulating more typical instances like pleasant happiness and unpleasant fear, which are like mental habits. This is exactly what we observed.

The validity of any scientific theory depends on the evidence that supports it or calls it into doubt. The validity of the theory of constructed emotion depends on evidence regarding how emotions are made from more basic parts (e.g., from core systems in the brain). It is not called into doubt by repeated failures to find emotion fingerprints or essences, since it posits neither.

Every chapter in How Emotions are Made presents evidence to support a piece of the theory. Here are some selected highlights from neuroscience experiments specifically. (The references provided are examples, not comprehensive lists.)

  • An emotion category, such as fear, is a highly variable category and that the default mode network, in particular, is important for emotion simulations and predictions[1][2][3]
  • Multisensory summaries of emotion concepts are represented in the default mode network[3][4][5][6]
  • Emotion concepts are multisensory and embodied[7][1][8]
  • The salience network is more engaged when attending to sensory inputs[2]
  • Degeneracy (mapping many neuron groups to one emotion category): neuroimaging evidence;[9][10][3][2][1][11] intracranial stimulation studies in humans,[12] behavioral studies from patients with amygdala lesions,[13][14] optogenetic studies in rodents[15]
  • Core systems (mapping one group of neurons to many emotion categories):e.g., neuroimaging evidence,[9][10][3][2][1][3][16][17] optogenetic studies in rodents[18]
  • Increased connectivity within the interoceptive network is associated with the intensity of emotional experience[19]

Notes on the Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Oosterwijk, Suzanne, Kristen A. Lindquist, Morenikeji Adebayo, and Lisa Feldman Barrett. 2015. “The Neural Representation of Typical and Atypical Experiences of Negative Images: Comparing Fear, Disgust and Morbid Fascination.” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 11 (1): 11–22.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Wilson-Mendenhall, Christine D., Lisa Feldman Barrett, and Lawrence W. Barsalou. 2015. “Variety in Emotional Life: Within-Category Typicality of Emotional Experiences Is Associated with Neural Activity in Large-Scale Brain Networks.” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 10 (1): 62–71.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Wilson-Mendenhall, Christine D., Lisa Feldman Barrett, W. Kyle Simmons, and Lawrence W. Barsalou. 2011. “Grounding Emotion in Situated Conceptualization.” Neuropsychologia 49 (5): 1105–1127.
  4. Peelen, M.V., Atkinson, A.P., Vuilleumier, P. 2010. "Supramodal representations of perceived emotions in the human brain." Journal of Neuroscience 30 (30): 10127–10134.
  5. Skerry, A.E., Saxe, R. 2015. "Neural representations of emotion are organized around abstract event features." Current Biology 25 (15): 1945–1954.
  6. Spunt, Robert P., and Matthew D. Lieberman. 2012. "An integrative model of the neural systems supporting the comprehension of observed emotional behavior." Neuroimage 59 (3): 3050-3059.
  7. Oosterwijk, S., Lindquist, K.A., Anderson, E., Dautoff, R., Moriguchi, Y., Barrett, L.F. 2012. "States of mind: Emotions, body feelings, and thoughts share distributed neural networks." NeuroImage 62 (3): 2110–28.
  8. Wilson-Mendenhall, Christine D., Alexa Henriques, Lawrence W. Barsalou, and Lisa Feldman Barrett. Under review. "Primary Interoceptive Cortex Activity during Simulated Experiences of the Body."
  9. 9.0 9.1 Vytal, K., Hamann, S. 2010. "Neuroimaging support for discrete neural correlates of basic emotions: a voxel-based meta-analysis." Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 22 (12): 2864–2885.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Lindquist, K.A., Wager, T.D., Kober, H., Bliss-Moreau, E., Barrett, L.F. 2012. "The brain basis of emotion: a meta-analytic review." Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (3): 121–143.
  11. Clark-Polner, Elizabeth, Timothy D. Johnson, and Lisa Feldman Barrett. 2016. "Multivoxel pattern analysis does not provide evidence to support the existence of basic emotions." Cerebral Cortex doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhw028. Compare the different patterns for a given emotion category across the following three papers: Kragel, P.A., Labar, K.S. (2015). "Multivariate neural biomarkers of emotional states are categorically distinct." Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 10 (11): 1437–1448; Wager, Tor D., Jian Kang, Timothy D. Johnson, Thomas E. Nichols, Ajay B. Satpute, and Lisa Feldman Barrett. 2015. "A Bayesian model of category-specific emotional brain responses." PLOS Computational Biology 11 (4): e1004066.; Saarimäki, Heini, Athanasios Gotsopoulos, Iiro P. Jääskeläinen, Jouko Lampinen, Patrik Vuilleumier, Riitta Hari, Mikko Sams, and Lauri Nummenmaa. 2016. "Discrete Neural Signatures of Basic Emotions." Cerebral Cortex 26 (6), 2563-2573.
  12. Guillory, Sean A., and Krzysztof A. Bujarski. 2014. "Exploring emotions using invasive methods: review of 60 years of human intracranial electrophysiology." Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 9 (12): 1880–1889.
  13. Becker, Benjamin, Yoan Mihov, Dirk Scheele, Keith M. Kendrick, Justin S. Feinstein, Andreas Matusch, Merve Aydin et al. 2012. "Fear processing and social networking in the absence of a functional amygdala." Biological Psychiatry 72 (1): 70-77
  14. Mihov, Yoan, Keith M. Kendrick, Benjamin Becker, Jacob Zschernack, Harald Reich, Wolfgang Maier, Christian Keysers, and René Hurlemann. 2013. "Mirroring fear in the absence of a functional amygdala." Biological Psychiatry 73 (7): e9–11.
  15. Herry, C., Johansen, J.P. 2014. "Encoding of fear learning and memory in distributed neuronal circuits." Nature Neuroscience 17 (12): 1644–1654.
  16. Barrett, Lisa Feldman and Ajay B. Satpute. 2013. "Large-scale brain networks in affective and social neuroscience:  Towards an integrative architecture of the human brain." Current Opinion in Neurobiology 23 (3): 361-372.
  17. Touroutoglou, A., Lindquist, K.A., Dickerson, B.C., Barrett, L.F. 2015. "Intrinsic connectivity in the human brain does not reveal networks for ‘basic’ emotions." Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 10 (9): 1257–1265.
  18. Tovote, Philip, Jonathan Paul Fadok, and Andreas Lüthi. 2015. "Neuronal circuits for fear and anxiety." Nature Reviews Neuroscience 16 (6): 317-331.
  19. Raz, Gal, Alexandra Touroutoglou, Christine Wilson-Mendenhall, Gadi Gilam, Tamar Lin, Tal Gonen, Yael Jacob et al. 2016. "Functional connectivity dynamics during film viewing reveal common networks for different emotional experiences." Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience 16: 709–723.