Our emotions, and the way in which we process, regulate and express them, are fundamental to us as humans. Emotion processing is a vital skill that our brains become specialised in from an early age, and this helps guide our lives within the social environment we encounter every day. Across the basic emotions (anger, happiness, sadness, fear, surprise and disgust), this act of processing differs not only among emotions, but as a function of underlying neuronal functioning, social input and motivational exposure. Different emotions recruit a wide range of networks within the brain, with others recruited during the controlling of our behaviours manifesting from these emotional events.
Motivational systems are intricately linked to our emotions and determine how we process reward. Dysfunctional reward systems lead to aberrant behaviours such as addiction and compulsive behaviours, while dysfunction to core emotional processing and inhibitory systems may result in anti-social and aggressive behaviours. This has been evidenced in both clinical and forensic populations.