David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Psychology 22 (4):443-464 (2009)
Emotional feeling can be defined as the affective constituent of emotions representing a subjective experience such as, for example, feeling love or hate. Several recent neuroimaging studies have focused on this affective component of emotions thereby aiming to characterise the underlying neural correlates. These studies indicate that the orbitomedial prefrontal cortex is crucially involved in the processing of emotional feeling. It is the aim of this paper to analyse the extent to which the present state of the art in neuroscience enables emotional feeling to be related to specific brain regions. In the first step, methodological and theoretical problems in the investigation of emotional feeling will be discussed leading to the characterisation of a “twofold gap.” This gap represents (a) the theoretical difficulties encountered in transforming vivid subjective experience into a theoretical psychological concept, and (b) the problems of implementing such a concept by performing empirical studies. Based on these considerations we suggest approaches for future empirical studies. In the second step, a group of functional neuroimaging studies focusing on the affective constituent of emotions will be discussed in detail with regard to the theoretical problems outlined in the first step
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