How the brain processes emotions

Some mental illnesses may stem, in part, from the brain’s inability to correctly assign emotional associations to events. For example, people who are depressed often do not feel happy even when experiencing something that they normally enjoy. A new study from MIT reveals how two populations of neurons in the brain contribute to this process. The researchers found that these neurons, located in an almond-sized region known as the amygdala, form parallel channels that carry information about pleasant or unpleasant events. Learning more about how this information is routed and misrouted could shed light on mental illnesses including depression, addiction, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder, says Kay Tye, the Whitehead Career Development Assistant Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and a member of MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.…


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