Matthieu Ricard….emotions…..


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“I mentioned earlier that, properly speaking, there is no center of emotions in the brain.
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Emotions are complex phenomena that are functions of the interaction of several regions of the brain.
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There is therefore no point in looking for a “center” of happiness or of unhappiness.
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Nonetheless, work carried out in the past twenty years, principally by Richard Davidson and his colleagues, has found that when people report feeling joy, altruism, interest, or enthusiasm, and when they manifest high energy and vivacity of spirit, they present significant cerebral activity in the left prefrontal cortex.
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On the other hand, those who predominantly experience such “negative” emotional states as depression, pessimism, or anxiety and have a tendency to become withdrawn manifest more activity in the right prefrontal cortex.
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Moreover when we compare activity levels of the left and right prefrontal cortexes of subjects at rest—that is, in a neutral state of mind—we find that the relation between them varies considerably from one person to the next and quite faithfully reflects their temperament.
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People who are customarily more active on the left side than on the right mostly feel pleasant emotions.
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Conversely, those whose right prefrontal cortex is more active feel negative emotions more often.

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Subjects whose left prefrontal cortex is damaged (in an accident or by disease) are especially vulnerable to depression, most likely because the right side is no longer counterbalanced by the left.
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These characteristics are relatively stable and manifest from early childhood.”
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