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Rev Neurosci. 2008;19(6):467-74.

Genetic contributions to individual differences in emotion: a primer.

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Program of Cognitive Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania.


The methodological and empirical development of cognitive, affective and clinical neuroscience has brought these fields into the ideal position of being able to benefit from the increasing number of techniques and interdisciplinary applications developed since the completion of the sequencing of the human genome. An increasingly investigated topic in behavioral, molecular and neuroimaging genetics concerns genetic influences on emotional reactivity and regulation. The estimation of the heritability of emotional traits and states, and the identification of functional genetic polymorphisms that are associated with emotional aspects of behavior, hold great promise for understanding the etiology and pathogenesis of mood and anxiety disorders. This article briefly reviews evidence from twin, genetic association, and neuroimaging genetic studies of individual differences in emotion reactivity and regulation, with an emphasis on trends in recent research, and their potential to contribute to the clinical neuroscience of emotional dysfunction.

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