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The neuroscience of sadness: A multidisciplinary synthesis and collaborative review

Juan A. Arias, Claire Williams Orcid Logo, Rashmi Raghvani, Moji Aghajani, Sandra Baez, Catherine Belzung, Linda Booij, Geraldo Busatto, Julian Chiarella, Cynthia HY Fu, Agustin Ibanez, Belinda J. Liddell, Leroy Lowe, Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Pedro Rosa, Andrew Kemp Orcid Logo

Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Volume: 111, Pages: 199 - 228

Swansea University Authors: Claire Williams Orcid Logo, Rashmi Raghvani, Andrew Kemp Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Sadness is typically characterized by raised inner eyebrows, lowered corners of the mouth, reduced walking speed, and slumped posture. Ancient subcortical circuitry provides a neuroanatomical foundation, extending from dorsal periaqueductal grey to subgenual anterior cingulate, the latter of which i...

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Published in: Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
ISSN: 0149-7634
Published: Elsevier BV 2020
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa53116
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Abstract: Sadness is typically characterized by raised inner eyebrows, lowered corners of the mouth, reduced walking speed, and slumped posture. Ancient subcortical circuitry provides a neuroanatomical foundation, extending from dorsal periaqueductal grey to subgenual anterior cingulate, the latter of which is now a treatment target in disorders of sadness. Electrophysiological studies further emphasize a role for reduced left relative to right frontal asymmetry in sadness, underpinning interest in the transcranial stimulation of left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex as an antidepressant target. Neuroimaging studies – including meta-analyses – indicate that sadness is associated with reduced cortical activation, which may contribute to reduced parasympathetic inhibitory control over medullary cardioacceleratory circuits. Reduced cardiac control may – in part – contribute to epidemiological reports of reduced life expectancy in affective disorders, effects equivalent to heavy smoking. We suggest that the field may be moving toward a theoretical consensus, in which different models relating to basic emotion theory and psychological constructionism may be considered as complementary, working at different levels of the phylogenetic hierarchy.
Keywords: Sadness, Major Depressive Disorder, Basic Emotions, Psychological Constructionism, Genetics, Psychophysiology, Neuroimaging, Affective Neuroscience, Heart Rate Variability, GENIAL model, Health and wellbeing, Vagal function
Start Page: 199
End Page: 228