Emotions and Neurosociology

  • David D. FranksEmail author
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


Emotion and cognition are not separate and opposing products of the brain. Emotion is essential for decision making as neuroscientists have shown. Cognition enables planning and analysis, but by itself does not move us to action. Emotion both organizes the brain and moves it to action on the world. Emotion also exists prior to cognition both developmentally and generally. These issues are discussed in this chapter. Then, rather than reviewing how emotional states are tied to the brain, I discuss how emotional styles are linked to the brain. This is followed by a discussion of one emotional state (empathy) and mirror neurons. I conclude with some thoughts for future research.


Somatic marker Depression Emotional styles Resilience Outlook Self-awareness Mirror neurons 


  1. Baxter, M. G., & Croxson, P. L. (2012). Facing the role of the Amygdala in emotional information processing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 52, 21180–21181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bechara, A., Damasio, A. R., Damasio, H., & Anderson, S. W. (1994). Insensitivity to future consequences following damage to prefrontal cortex. Cognition, 2, 7–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cacioppo, J., Visser, P. S., & Pickett, C. L. (2006). Social neuroscience: People thinking about thinking people. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. Carter, R. (1999). Mapping the mind. Berkley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  5. Cornelius, R. (1995). The science of emotion: Research and tradition in the psychology of emotion. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  6. Cozolino, L. (2006). The neuroscience of human relationships: Attachment and the developing social brain. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  7. Damasio, A. (1994). Descartes’ error: Emotion, reason, and the human brain. New York: Avon Books.Google Scholar
  8. Damasio, A. (1999). The feeling of what happens: Body and emotion in the making. New York: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  9. Damasio, A. (2000). A second chance for emotion. In R. D. Lane & L. Nadel (Eds.), Cognitive neuroscience of emotion (pp. 12–22). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Davidson, R., & Begley, S. (2012). The emotional life of your brain: How its unique patterns affect the way you think, feel, and live-and how you can change them. New York: Hudson Street Press.Google Scholar
  11. de Sousa, R. (1987). The rationality of emotion. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  12. Dennett, D. C. (1987). The intentional stance. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Dobbs, D. (2006). Turning off depression. Scientific American Mind, 17(4), 26–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Eagleman, D. M. (2011). Incognito: The secret lives of the brain. New York: Pantheon Books.Google Scholar
  15. Edelman, G. M. (2004). Wider than the sky: The phenomenal gift of consciousness. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Falk, D. W. (1975). Hume on practical reason. Philosophical Studies, 27(1), 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Franks, D. D. (2006). The neuroscience of emotion. In J. Stets & J. Turner (Eds.), The handbook of emotions (pp. 38–62). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Franks, D. D. (2008). The controversy of mind over matter: Mead’s solution and applications from neuroscience. In N. Denzin (Ed.), Blue ribbon essays in studies in symbolic interaction (pp. 61-80). New York: Emerald Group Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. Franks, D. D. (2010). Neurosociology: The nexus between neuroscience and social psychology. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  20. Franks, D. D., & Davis, J. (2012). Critique and refinement of the neurosociology of mirror neurons. In W. Kalkoff, T. Shane, & E. Lawler (Eds.), Advances in group processes: Biosociology and neurosociology 29 (pp. 77–117). New York: Emerald Group Publishing.Google Scholar
  21. Galligan, E. M. (1975). Irwin on Aristotle. Journal of Philosophy, 72(17), 579–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Greenspan, S. I., & Shanker, S. G. (2004). The first idea. How symbols, language, and intelligence evolved from our primitive ancestors to modern humans. Cambridge: DaCapo Press.Google Scholar
  23. Iacoboni, M. (2008). Mirroring people: The new science of how we connect with others. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  24. Kassam, K. S., Markey, A. R., Cherkassky, V. L., Loewenstein, G., & Just, M. A. (2013). Identifying emotions on the basis of neural activation. Plos ONE, 8(6), e66032.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Katz, J. (1999). How emotions work. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Keysers, C., & Gazzola, V. (2010). Social neuroscience: Mirror neurons recorded in humans. Current Biology, 20(8), 353–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lakoff, G., Johnson, M. (1999). Philosophy in the flesh: The embodied mind and its challenge to western thought. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  28. Lieberman, M. D., & Eisenberger, N. I. (2006). A pain by any other name. (Rejection, exclusion, ostracism) still hurts the same: The role of dorsal anterior cingulate cortex in social and physical pain. In J. T. Cacioppo, P. S. Visser, & C. L. Pickett (Eds.), Social neuroscience: People thinking about other people (pp. 167–187). Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
  29. LeDoux, J. (1996). The emotional brain: The mysterious underpinnings of emotional life. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  30. LeDoux, J. (2000). Cognitive-emotional interactions: Listen to the brain. In R. D. Lane, & L. Nadel (Eds.), Cognitive neuroscience of emotion (pp. 129–155). NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Marr, A. (2011). Freud’s signal anxiety: A better explanation for Damasio’s somatic marker? Retrieved 4 Nov 2013.
  32. Minski, M. (1986). The society of mind. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  33. Mukamel, R. A., Marco, I., & Itzhak, F. (2010). Single-neuron responses in humans during execution and observation of actions. Current Biology, 20, 750–756.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ohman, A., Morris, J. S., & Dolan, R. J. (1999). A subcortical pathway to the right Amygdala mediating unseen fear. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for the United States of America, 96, 1680–1685.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Ostrow, J. (1990). Social sensitivity: A study of habit and experience. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  36. Osumi, T., & Ohira, H. (2010). The positive side of psychopathy: Emotional detachment in psychopathy and rational decision-making in the ultimatum game. Personality and Individual Differences, 49(5), 451–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Plutchik, R. (1980). Emotion: A psychoevolutionary synthesis. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  38. Popper, K. R., & Eccles, J. C. (1977). The self and its brain. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ramachandran, V. S. (2011). The tell-tale brain: A neuroscientist’s quest for what makes us human. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  40. Smith, D. L. (2004). Why we lie: The evolutionary roots of deception and the unconscious mind. New York: St. Martin’s Griffin.Google Scholar
  41. TenHouten, W. (2013). Emotion and reason: Mind, brain, and the social domains of work and love. New York: Rutledge.Google Scholar
  42. Tredway, J. V., Knapp, S. J., Tredway, L. C., & Thomas, D. L. (1999). The Neurosociological Role of Emotions in Early Socialization, Reasons, Ethics and Morality. In D. D. Franks & T. S. Smith (Eds.), Mind, brain and society. Toward a neurosociology of emotions. Social perspectives on emotions (Vol. 5, pp. 109–157). Stamford: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  43. Turner, J. H. (2000). On the origins of human emotions: A sociological inquiry into the evolution of human affect. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Turner, J. H. (2007). Human emotions: A sociological theory. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  45. Turner, J. H., & Stets, J. E. (2005). The sociology of emotions. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wentworth, W. M., & Ryan, J. (1992). Balancing body, mind and culture: The place of emotion in social life. In D. D. Franks & V. Gecas (Eds.), Social perspectives on emotion (Vol. 1, pp. 25–46). Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  47. Wentworth, W. M., & Yardley, D. (1994). Deep sociality: A Bio-evolutionary Perspective on the Sociology of Human Emotions. In W. M. Wentworth & J. Ryan (Eds.), Social perspectives on emotion (pp. 21–55). Greenwich: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  48. Zajonc, R. (2001). Closing the debate over the independence of affect. In J. P. Forgas (Ed.), Feeling and thinking: The role of affect in social cognition (pp. 31–58). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Virginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA

Personalised recommendations