15 Emotion

Behavioral Neuroscience

  1. Paul J. Whalen PhD1,
  2. M. Justin Kim1,2,
  3. Maital Neta PhD3,
  4. F. Caroline Davis PhD4

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop203015

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Whalen, P. J., Kim, M. J., Neta, M. and Davis, F. C. 2012. Emotion. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 3:15.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Dartmouth College, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA

  2. 2

    Korea Military Academy, Department of Psychology, Seoul, South Korea

  3. 3

    Washington University School of Medicine, Department of Neurology, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

  4. 4

    Duke University, Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, Durham, North Carolina, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012


We begin this review by being clear that we will cover a small subset of what we know about emotion. Specifically, we begin by discussing the role of the amygdala in emotional responses during biologically relevant learning. In doing so, we focus on the human amygdala. We then connect this information to more classic measurements of emotional responding, namely, electromyography (EMG) and electrodermal activity (EDA). Next, we discuss the role of the prefrontal cortex (PFC) in initial learning, subsequent extinction and ongoing regulation of emotional responding. Finally, we consider how these processes are compromised in normal and pathological anxiety. We conclude that the capacity for efficient crosstalk between the amygdala and PFC, which is represented as the strength of amygdala-PFC circuitry, is crucial to beneficial outcomes in terms of healthy emotion.


  • amygdala;
  • medial prefrontal cortex;
  • facial expression;
  • psychophysiology;
  • anxiety;
  • emotion regulation