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The Science of Sentiment: The Problem of the Cerebral Localization of Emotion

  • John R. Durant

Abstract

This chapter considers the problem of the localization of specific functions within the central nervous system, by means of a detailed examination of the development of the idea of the “limbic system” with reference to a group of functionally interrelated forebrain structures subserving emotion. The origins of the idea of the limbic system are traced in a number of overlapping scientific disciplines in the first part of this century, including neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and psychophysiology, together with several closely related medical specialities, including neurology and psychiatry. The chapter identifies a number of key evolutionary and psychological assumptions underlying the idea of the existence of emotional centers in the brain, and it argues that these illustrate some of the limitations inherent in the idea of functional localization itself. At best, this idea represents an early stage in the development of a mature theory of the relationship between brain and behavior; at worst, it represents a poor substitute for it.

Keywords

Frontal Lobe Limbic System Functional Localization Bodily Change Brain Science 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Durant
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of External StudiesUniversity of OxfordOxfordEngland

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