PSY 2C 08: BRAIN, BODY AND
UNIT–I: BRAIN AND BEHAVIOUR
Emotional Disorders Associated with
EMOTIONAL DISORDERS ASSOCIATED WITH NEUROLOGICAL DISEASES
Emotions may be divided into two major divisions, experience and behaviour. Because the brain is critical
for mediating emotional experience and behaviour, diseases of the brain may induce changes in emotional
behaviour and experience. Emotional disorder is a mental disorder in which one’s emotions are disturbed
to a great extent.
A neurological disorder is any disorder is any disorder of the nervous system. Structural, biochemical or
electrical abnormalities in the brain, spinal cord or other nerves can result in a range of symptoms. Examples
of symptoms include paralysis, muscle weakness, poor coordination, loss of sensation, seizures, confusion,
pain and altered levels of consciousness.
DEFINITION OF THE EMOTIONAL PROBLEM
The first challenge one faces in an attempt to assess emotions is related to the issue of complexity of the
construct itself. Theorists and researchers have parsed the general construct of emotion in a number if ways.
At the most molar level, a potentially useful heuristic would be to consider whether the problem one is
observing is a matter if an alteration in affects emotion or mood.
Affect is considered to be fundamental, irreducible emotional feeling state. The experience of affect is by
definition, subjective. At the most basic level, affect is experiences as either a pleasant or an unpleasant
feeling state. Affect is generally regarded as temporally limited, that is as a fleeting or momentary emotional
Emotion lends itself to more definitional variability. Despite disagreements about the range and types of
experiences that should be included in a definition of emotion, most investigators are in general agreement
that emotions are object focused. That is, the experience and expression of an emotion are related to some
specific environmental event or cognitive representation of event. Emotions function to signal the presence
of personally relevant environmental situation and to prepare the person for some specific action. Whereas
an affective experience is always a private event, an emotion is an observable “public” event. It is generally
accepted that there is a limited finite number of core or basic emotions which include, happiness- joy,
sadness, fear, anger, disgust and more equivocally surprise. There is strong empirical evidence that these
are universally experienced and recognized emotions.
Mood is defined as a more generalized diffuse, feeling state that has no specific object or referent associated
with its experience. Whereas individual can generally identify the object their emotional state (e.g:- one
feels angry at someone or happy about something). They are hard pressed to identify the specific reason for
a mood state(why on is in an angry mood or a happy mood).
Is it a problem of Perception, Expression or Experience?
This characterization called mode of processing, also refers to the nature of the demand placed on the patient
during a structured interaction with the examiner. The majority of clinical research has focused on the
perception and expression of emotion. A somewhat separate body of literature has focused on the emotion,
which includes the experience of basic emotions as well as of mood states.
What is the Channel of Communication?
Channel of Communication refers to the sensorimotor system used to display the target emotion. The
preponderance of clinical investigation has focused on four communication channels:
• Facial display of emotion
• Vocal intonation of emotion ( emotional prosody)
• Gestures of emotion
• Speech content (lexicon of emotion words)
DEVELOPMENT OF DISRUPTIONS IN EMOTIONAL FUNCTIONING
The disruption of emotional functioning is not specific to a particular neurological disorder. Emotional
dysfunction can occur in association with acute focal conditions such as cerebro vascular accidents (CVAs),
acute diffuse disorders such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), progressive focal disorders such as senile
dementia of the Alzheimer’s type (SDAT) or Huntington’s disease (HD)
In contrast to the extensive literature on cognitive functioning, there is much less information regarding the
course of emotion symptoms associated with the onset of neurological disorders. The literature that does
exist, however suggests that symptom course may be related to mode of emotional processing. For example,
alterations in the perception of emotion may follow a course more similar to that seen for cognitive
processing such as perceptual processing of non-emotional stimuli or language processing. Expression and
experience of emotion, however may exhibit a more complex pattern of presentation. Because
environmental conditions –lay a larger role in the elicitation of emotional expression and probably
emotional experience, there is more variability in their manifestation. The relative contribution of