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Cereb Cortex. 2016 May;26(5):1910-1922. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhv001. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

The Brain Basis of Positive and Negative Affect: Evidence from a Meta-Analysis of the Human Neuroimaging Literature.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
2
Biomedical Research Imaging Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
3
Pomona College, Claremont, CA, USA.
4
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA.
5
Department of Psychology, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
6
Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA.
7
Department of Psychiatry and Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School/Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

The ability to experience pleasant or unpleasant feelings or to represent objects as "positive" or "negative" is known as representing hedonic "valence." Although scientists overwhelmingly agree that valence is a basic psychological phenomenon, debate continues about how to best conceptualize it scientifically. We used a meta-analysis of 397 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography studies (containing 914 experimental contrasts and 6827 participants) to test 3 competing hypotheses about the brain basis of valence: the bipolarity hypothesis that positive and negative affect are supported by a brain system that monotonically increases and/or decreases along the valence dimension, the bivalent hypothesis that positive and negative affect are supported by independent brain systems, and the affective workspace hypothesis that positive and negative affect are supported by a flexible set of valence-general regions. We found little evidence for the bipolar or bivalent hypotheses. Findings instead supported the hypothesis that, at the level of brain activity measurable by fMRI, valence is flexibly implemented across instances by a set of valence-general limbic and paralimbic brain regions.

KEYWORDS:

affect; meta-analysis; neuroimaging; valence; value

PMID:
25631056
PMCID:
PMC4830281
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bhv001
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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