Heart-Brain Neurodynamics: The Making of Emotions
Rollin McCraty, Ph.D.
In Issues of the Heart: The Neuropsychotherapist special issue, M. Dahlitz, & Hall, G., Editor 2015, Dahlitz Media: Brisbane. p. 76-110. http://www.neuropsychotherapist.com/
For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.
As pervasive and vital as they are in human experience, emotions have long remained an enigma to science. This monograph explores recent scientific advances that clarify central controversies in the study of emotion, including the relationship between intellect and emotion, and the historical debate on the source of emotional experience. Particular attention is given to the intriguing body of research illuminating the critical role of ascending input from the body to the brain in the generation and perception of emotions. This discussion culminates in the presentation of a systems-oriented model of emotion in which the brain functions as a complex pattern-matching system, continually processing input from both the external and internal environments. From this perspective it is shown that the heart is a key component of the emotional system, thus providing a physiological basis for the long-acknowledged link between the heart and our emotional life.