Traditionally, the heart region was always associated with emotions and feelings in humans. But in one recent philosophy lecture I watched on Youtube, the orator said that the right brain is, in fact, the origin of emotions and the heart is just for pumping the blood.

In Yoga and many other traditional Eastern disciplines, the Chakra Theory is quite prevalent and the Anahata or the Heart chakra/meridian is quite strongly associated with emotions.

What is the stance of modern medical science on this? Can the source of all emotions be explained completely in the right hemisphere of the brain through neuroscience? Or is there any scientific backing for the linkage of Heart to emotions? Or such a discovery might be possible in future?


2 Answers 2


As far as we know, all the "thinking parts" are in the brain/central nervous system. That includes emotions and feelings, which are labels for certain cognitive experiences. Definitely not the "right brain", though, that's some foolishness that seems to persist in pop science without any evidence. I wouldn't recommend learning about the brain from someone who repeats those myths.

Brain Right hemisphere is random and left hemisphere is linear? really?

About the left and right side of the brain

The closest thing to what you mention about the heart in modern psychology or neuroscience would be the somatic marker hypothesis which suggests there is a two-way interaction between brain and body for emotional experiences. For example, the brain causes an increased heart rate (among other things) when presented with threatening stimuli, and part of the experience of the emotion of anxiety includes feeling that faster heart rate. It isn't that the emotion is generated in the heart, though, it's still an emotion in the brain, but what leads to experiences of emotion can include influences of the body.


The part of the nervous systems that is associated with emotions, is the limbic system.
Via the amygdala, a little almond shaped part of your brain, this part of the nervous system can interact with the autonomous nervous system, which controls parasympathic as well as sympathic reactions. This affects heart rate as well as digestion.



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