Do strong emotions cause our brain hemispheres to interact more closely?

This 2015 human/macaque study found:

“The functional coordination between the two hemispheres of the brain is maintained by strong and stable interactions.

These findings suggest a notable role for the corpus callosum in maintaining stable functional communication between hemispheres.”

The human subjects were asked to:

“Generate four negative autobiographical memories and create word cues that reminded them of each event. Participants then underwent a 6-min IR fMRI scan during which they were cued with the words they had created to recall the two most negative autobiographic memories generated outside the scanner.”

However, the study’s supplementary material didn’t address why the researchers used this particular technique.

Does recalling strong emotional memories that engage our limbic systems cause our brain hemispheres to interact more closely than do cerebral exercises?


This study demonstrated that including emotional content in brain studies was essential. It may have provided additional information had the researchers also used the two least-negative emotional memories.

As noted in the Agenda-driven research on emotional memories study, one hypothesis of Dr. Arthur Janov’s Primal Therapy is that recalling an emotional memory engages one’s brain differently than does re-experiencing an emotional memory. Asking the subjects to attempt to re-experience the two least-negative emotional memories may have provided data relevant to this hypothesis.


I didn’t understand the usefulness of using macaques as subjects. The researchers didn’t provide any tasks for the monkeys during the scans. The information this study gained only duplicated other studies.

Also, the monkeys were anesthetized throughout the experiments. In my view, that fMRI scan data on anesthetized macaques would be able to provide directly comparable evidence to fMRI scan data on normal non-anesthetized humans who were recalling emotional memories was an assumption that needed to be addressed, but wasn’t.

Did the researchers use macaques simply because they were available?

http://www.pnas.org/content/112/20/6473.full “Stable long-range interhemispheric coordination is supported by direct anatomical projections”

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