Physiological feelings

Edward F. Pace-Schott, Marlissa C. Amole, Tatjana Aue, Michela Balconi, Lauren M. Bylsma, Hugo Critchley, Heath A. Demaree, Bruce H. Friedman, Anne Elizabeth Kotynski Gooding, Olivia Gosseries, Tanja Jovanovic, Lauren A.J. Kirby, Kasia Kozlowska, Steven Laureys, Leroy Lowe, Kelsey Magee, Marie France Marin, Amanda R. Merner, Jennifer L. Robinson, Robert C. SmithDerek P. Spangler, Mark Van Overveld, Michael B. VanElzakker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


The role of peripheral physiology in the experience of emotion has been debated since the 19th century following the seminal proposal by William James that somatic responses to stimuli determine subjective emotion. Subsequent views have integrated the forebrain's ability to initiate, represent and simulate such physiological events. Modern affective neuroscience envisions an interacting network of “bottom-up” and “top-down” signaling in which the peripheral (PNS) and central nervous systems both receive and generate the experience of emotion. “Feelings” serves as a term for the perception of these physical changes whether emanating from actual somatic events or from the brain's representation of such. “Interoception” has come to represent the brain's receipt and representation of these actual and “virtual” somatic changes that may or may not enter conscious awareness but, nonetheless, influence feelings. Such information can originate from diverse sources including endocrine, immune and gastrointestinal systems as well as the PNS. We here examine physiological feelings from diverse perspectives including current and historical theories, evolution, neuroanatomy and physiology, development, regulatory processes, pathology and linguistics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-304
Number of pages38
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Aug 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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