Emotional processing differs between the left and right hemispheres of the brain, and functional differences have been reported more specifically between the left and right amygdalae, subcortical structures heavily implicated in emotional processing. However, the empirical pattern of amygdalar asymmetries is inconsistent with extant theories of emotional asymmetries. Here we review this discrepancy, and we hypothesize that hemispheric differences in visual object processing help to explain the previously reported functional differences between the left and right amygdalae. The implication that perceptual factors play a large role in determining amygdalar asymmetries may help to explain amygdalar dysfunction in the development and maintenance of posttraumatic stress disorder.
- Visual cortex