Limbic Cortex: The Functional Neuroanatomy of Emotion and Hedonic Processing
Emotion is central to human life and intimately connected with consciousness (Kringelbach and Phillips 2014). Investigating the underlying brain mechanisms can help us understand and potentially treat the serious problems of affective disorders, such as unipolar depression, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, and the worldwide epidemic of obesity. Historically, the link with consciousness has led to a relative neglect of emotion as a subject of systematic scientific inquiry in comparison with other fields, such as cognition. However, the last few decades have seen a significant increase in research on emotion, leading to important new discoveries of the brain mechanisms involved. Importantly, it has become clear that a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of emotion relies on investigating reward and hedonic processing which is the main focus of this chapter.