Neural architecture of the vertebrate brain: implications for the interaction between emotion and cognition

Luiz Pessoa, Loreta Medina, Patrick R. Hof, Ester Desfilis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cognition is considered a hallmark of the primate brain that requires a high degree of signal integration, such as achieved in the prefrontal cortex. Moreover, it is often assumed that cognitive capabilities imply “superior” computational mechanisms compared to those involved in emotion or motivation. In contrast to these ideas, we review data on the neural architecture across vertebrates that support the concept that association and integration are basic features of the vertebrate brain, which are needed to successfully adapt to a changing world. This property is not restricted to a few isolated brain centers, but rather resides in neuronal networks working collectively in a context-dependent manner. In different vertebrates, we identify shared large-scale connectional systems involving the midbrain, hypothalamus, thalamus, basal ganglia, and amygdala. The high degree of crosstalk and association between these systems at different levels supports the notion that cognition, emotion, and motivation cannot be separated – all of them involve a high degree of signal integration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-312
Number of pages17
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Volume107
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • Amygdala
  • Basal ganglia
  • Cognition
  • Emotion
  • Integration
  • Vertebrate brain

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