Bridging emotion theory and neurobiology through dynamic systems modeling

Marc D. Lewis
2005 Behavioral and Brain Sciences  
Efforts to bridge emotion theory with neurobiology can be facilitated by dynamic systems (DS) modeling. DS principles stipulate higher-order wholes emerging from lower-order constituents through bidirectional causal processes -offering a common language for psychological and neurobiological models. After identifying some limitations of mainstream emotion theory, I apply DS principles to emotion-cognition relations. I then present a psychological model based on this reconceptualization,
more » ... ng trigger, self-amplification, and self-stabilization phases of emotion-appraisal states, leading to consolidating traits. The article goes on to describe neural structures and functions involved in appraisal and emotion, as well as DS mechanisms of integration by which they interact. These mechanisms include nested feedback interactions, global effects of neuromodulation, vertical integration, action-monitoring, and synaptic plasticity, and they are modeled in terms of both functional integration and temporal synchronization. I end by elaborating the psychological model of emotion-appraisal states with reference to neural processes. Marc Lewis is a Professor in Developmental Science at the University of Toronto. He has used dynamic systems methods for studying emotional behavior over development. However, his current research is focused on cortical processes of emotion in children and adults, using dense-array EEG/ERP techniques. He is particularly interested in the contributions of corticolimbic regulatory mechanisms to personality development and developmental psychopathology. 3.2.6. Multistability and stochasticity. The outcomes of self-organization are fixed or periodic (or chaotic) organizational patterns, called attractors, that endure for some period of time. The principle of multistability holds that many potential attractors coexist on the state space of an adaptive system (Kelso 1995), and systems rapidly move or "evolve" to one or another of them. Moreover, natural systems are usually thought to be influenced by stochastic forces, such that the attractor to which they gravitate is not fully predictable in advance. Appraisals do seem to fall into one of several identifiable attractors. Despite the many potential combinations of values on various appraisal dimensions, appraisal theorists stipulate a limited number of meaningful combinations, leading to a limited number of specific emotions. The core relational themes proposed by Smith and Lazarus (1993) tap these canonical combinations. Moreover, for an individual with a given emotion trait, only a small subset of these combinations occurs regularly (e.g., Horowitz 1998), and only one of these converges at a time. Lewis: Bridging emotion theory and neurobiology through dynamic systems modeling BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2005) 28:2 3.3.
doi:10.1017/s0140525x0500004x fatcat:lrzxfupunjh7pl5slueiwyxmrm