Autonomic arousal in an appetitive context in primates: a behavioural and neural analysis

K Braesicke, JA Parkinson, Y Reekie, MS Man, L Hopewell, A Pears, H Crofts, CR Schnell, AC Roberts*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


Central to many emotional responses is the accompanying peripheral somatic and autonomic arousal, feedback from which has been hypothesized to enhance emotional memory and to contribute to appraisal processes and decision making, and dysfunction of which may contribute to antisocial behaviour. Whilst peripheral arousal may accompany both positive and negative emotional contexts, its relationship with the former is poorly understood, as are the neural mechanisms underlying such a relationship. The purpose of the present study was to determine the autonomic correlates of anticipation, as well as consumption, of high incentive food, in the freely moving common marmoset and to investigate the contribution of the amygdala to such effects. Blood pressure (BP) and heart rate (HR) were measured remotely by a telemetric device implanted into the descending aorta and behavioural responses were monitored whilst marmosets viewed preferred or non-preferred foods and were then allowed access to eat those foods. A marked rise in blood pressure in unrestrained marmosets was observed in response both to the sight of highly preferred foods (anticipatory period) as well as during the actual consumption of those foods (consummatory period). Excitotoxic lesions of the amygdala abolished the autonomic arousal in the anticipatory period, but spared both the behavioural arousal in the anticipatory period and the autonomic arousal in the consummatory period. Together these data serve as an important step towards understanding the role of autonomic arousal in emotion and its neural underpinnings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1733-1740
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


  • amygdala
  • blood pressure
  • emotion
  • marmoset
  • positive affect
  • RATS


Dive into the research topics of 'Autonomic arousal in an appetitive context in primates: a behavioural and neural analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this