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Prefrontal Cortex, Emotion, and Approach/Withdrawal Motivation



This article provides a selective review of the literature and current theories regarding the role of prefrontal cortex, along with some other critical brain regions, in emotion and motivation. Seemingly contradictory findings have often appeared in this literature. Research attempting to resolve these contradictions has been the basis of new areas of growth and has led to more sophisticated understandings of emotional and motivational processes as well as neural networks associated with these processes. Progress has, in part, depended on methodological advances that allow for increased resolution in brain imaging. A number of issues are currently in play, among them the role of prefrontal cortex in emotional or motivational processes. This debate fosters research that will likely lead to further refinement of conceptualizations of emotion, motivation, and the neural processes associated with them.