Dynamic Fluctuations in Emotion and Space Representation: A Functional Cerebral Systems Approach to Right Hemisphere Dysfunction

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Virginia Tech


This study proposed an experimental test of theoretical models related to emotion and space representation in the brain. Previous research has established that emotion is represented, processed, expressed, and regulated largely by the right hemisphere. Furthermore, there is evidence from experimental paradigms and clinical case reports to suggest that the same hemisphere plays a dominant role in the processing of external space. A conceptual difficulty of clinical and neural network overlap arises when right hemisphere disorders of emotion are compared with those of spatial representation. The current experiment tested some of these hypotheses about emotion regulation and spatial representation in the right hemisphere using nonclinical subjects under a cortical stress paradigm designed to mimic the conditions of cortical duress. An additional goal was an extension of a previous study that examined emotional influence on spatial orientation. Results did not support our initial hypotheses. Subsequent analyses did provide some evidentiary support for some theories related to emotion and brain function. Additionally, patterns of subject performance were observed that support traditionally held theories of differential hemispheric function with regard to emotion and spatial behavior. These findings are discussed within the context of theories of emotion, spatial function, and disorders secondary to right hemisphere damage.



Neuropsychology, Emotion, Space, Anosognosia, Neglect, Right Hemisphere