How do we empathize with others? A mechanism according to which action representation modulates emotional activity may provide an essential functional architecture for empathy. The superior temporal and inferior frontal cortices are critical areas for action representation and are connected to the limbic system via the insula. Thus, the insula may be a critical relay from action representation to emotion. We used functional MRI while subjects were either imitating or simply observing emotional facial expressions. Imitation and observation of emotions activated a largely similar network of brain areas. Within this network, there was greater activity during imitation, compared with observation of emotions, in premotor areas including the inferior frontal cortex, as well as in the superior temporal cortex, insula, and amygdala. We understand what others feel by a mechanism of action representation that allows empathy and modulates our emotional content. The insula plays a fundamental role in this mechanism.
The drive to bring extinct animal species back from the dead, such as the wooly mammoth or saber-toothed tiger, is picking up speed as genetics and biotechnology science advances. But animals are not the only life in danger of disappearing forever. Botanists, historians, and plant genetics experts now work to restore and retain endangered plants and seeds which may be lost forever. According to Wiseman, now works to identify and preserve ancient seeds which were vital to the Abenaki Native Americans of northeastern North America. The history of the indigenous plants reveals a wealth of information which would otherwise have been lost in time. He has reportedly “traced 26 different varieties including corn, beans, squash, Jerusalem artichoke, ground cherries and tobacco.”
Princeton University Press proudly presents The Digital Einstein Papers, an open-access site for The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein, the ongoing publication of Einstein’s massive written legacy comprising more than 30,000 unique documents. The site presents all 13 volumes published to date by the editors of the Einstein Papers Project, covering the writings and correspondence of Albert Einstein. The volumes are presented in the original language version with in-depth English language annotation and other scholarly apparatus. In addition, the reader can toggle to an English language translation of most documents. By clicking on the unique archival identifier number below each text, readers can access the archival record of each published document at the Einstein Archives Online and in some cases, the digitized manuscript. Approximately 7,000 pages representing 2,900 unique documents have been digitized thus far.The site will present subsequent volumes in the series roughly two years after original book publication.
The idea that a specific brain circuit constitutes the emotional brain and its corollary, that cognition resides elsewhere, has shaped thinking about emotion and the brain for many years. Recent behavioral, neuropsychological, neuroanatomy, and neuroimaging research, however, suggests that emotion is integrated with cognition in the brain. In The Cognitive-Emotional Brain, I describe the many ways that emotion and cognition are fundamentally integrated throughout the brain. The book summarizes five areas of research that support this integrative view and makes four arguments to organize each area. (1) Based on rodent and human data, it is proposed that the amygdala’s functions go beyond emotion as traditionally conceived. Furthermore, the processing of emotion-laden information is capacity limited, thus not independent of attention and awareness. (2) Cognitive-emotional interactions in the human prefrontal cortex assume diverse forms and are not limited to mutual suppression. Particularly, the lateral prefrontal cortex is a focal point for cognitive-emotional interactions. (3) Interactions between motivation and cognition can be seen across a range of perceptual and cognitive tasks. Motivation shapes behavior in specific ways – for example, by reducing response conflict or via selective effects on working memory. Traditional accounts, by contrast, typically describe motivation as a global activation independent of particular control demands. (4) Perception and cognition are directly influenced by information with affective or motivational content in powerful ways. A dual competition model outlines a framework for such interactions at the perceptual and executive levels. A specific neural architecture is proposed that embeds emotional and motivational signals into perception and cognition through multiple channels. (5) A network perspective should supplant the strategy of understanding the brain in terms of individual regions. More broadly, in a network view of brain architecture, “emotion” and “cognition” may be used as labels of certain behaviors, but will not map cleanly into compartmentalized pieces of the brain.