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Emotion : pleasure and pain in the brain


Morten L. Kringelbach and Helen Phillips,  Emotion : pleasure and pain in the brain, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2014, 304 p.


Emotions are often seen as an intrinsic part of what makes us human; they underpin how we feel about ourselves, and our interactions with others. New discoveries continue to reveal more about how emotion translates into brain activity - what is actually happening in our brains to make us 'feel' the way we do. They are also illuminating our understanding of dysfunctional emotions - the emotional basis of addiction, or the maladaptive emotional behaviors that characterize our difficult, and sometimes pathological, relationship with food.

Emotion presents the fundamental principles of the neural mechanisms underlying emotional processing as well as reviewing our current scientific understanding of pleasure and emotion. The book takes the reader from everyday conceptions of pleasure and emotion through to the latest insights into the nature and functions of emotions at the interface of psychology and neuroscience, before exploring topics such as the nature of subjective experience and future possibilities including emotions in silico.

Throughout, the book focuses on the principles of reward systems in the brain and its links with mainstream psychology, helping the reader to understand the function and nature of emotion and pleasure, and its relevance to the rest of psychology. In addition, it also offers a clear understanding of fundamental topics such as the social emotions, individual emotions and the role of emotion and pleasure in decision making.

The book also encourages the reader to achieve a better understanding of emotional disorders, which are central to clinical psychology and the treatment of a range of psychiatric disorders.

Emotion is the ideal guide for any student wanting a clear, contemporary introduction to this complex yet fascinating subject.

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