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[ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology: Emotions in animals

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2012 19:42:06 -0800
Message-id: <4CF476B77E81497C887BB6F13069DAC6@Gateway>

Dear Self Interested Ontologists,


This is a post from another newsgroup which I think demonstrates how basic the emotional drives (i. e. self interest) are.  Even simple animals have them, as has often been denied in the literature, but which is clarified in this post. 






Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2

From: Discussion Group for Psychology and the Arts [mailto:PSYART@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Norman Holland
Sent: Monday, January 02, 2012 4:56 PM
To: PSYART@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Emotions in animals


These are important findings from the father of "affective neuroscience," Jaak Panksepp.  As every pet owner knows, cats and dogs have emotions.  But which and how?  What's particularly intriguing is the idea that there is a certain finite number of focal emotions.



PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e21236. Epub 2011 Sep 7.

Cross-species affective neuroscience decoding of the primal affective experiences of humans and related animals.

Panksepp J.


Department of Veterinary & Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology and Physiology College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington, United States of America.


BACKGROUND: The issue of whether other animals have internally felt experiences has vexed animal behavioral science since its inception. Although most investigators remain agnostic on such contentious issues, there is now abundant experimental evidence indicating that all mammals have negatively and positively-valenced emotional networks concentrated in homologous brain regions that mediate affective experiences when animals are emotionally aroused. That is what the neuroscientific evidence indicates. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: THE RELEVANT LINES OF EVIDENCE ARE AS FOLLOWS: 1) It is easy to elicit powerful unconditioned emotional responses using localized electrical stimulation of the brain (ESB); these effects are concentrated in ancient subcortical brain regions. Seven types of emotional arousals have been described; using a special capitalized nomenclature for such primary process emotional systems, they are SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF and PLAY. 2) These brain circuits are situated in homologous subcortical brain regions in all vertebrates tested. Thus, if one activates FEAR arousal circuits in rats, cats or primates, all exhibit similar fear responses. 3) All primary-process emotional-instinctual urges, even ones as complex as social PLAY, remain intact after radical neo-decortication early in life; thus, the neocortex is not essential for the generation of primary-process emotionality. 4) Using diverse measures, one can demonstrate that animals like and dislike ESB of brain regions that evoke unconditioned instinctual emotional behaviors: Such ESBs can serve as 'rewards' and 'punishments' in diverse approach and escape/avoidance learning tasks. 5) Comparable ESB of human brains yield comparable affective experiences. Thus, robust evidence indicates that raw primary-process (i.e., instinctual, unconditioned) emotional behaviors and feelings emanate from homologous brain functions in all mammals (see Appendix S1), which are regulated by higher brain regions. Such findings suggest nested-hierarchies of BrainMind affective processing, with primal emotional functions being foundational for secondary-process learning and memory mechanisms, which interface with tertiary-process cognitive-thoughtful functions of the BrainMind.

PMCID: PMC3168430


Free PMC Article






Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2011 Aug 19. [Epub ahead of print]

The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have affective lives?

Panksepp J.


Department of VCAPP, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA.


The primal affects are intrinsic brain value systems that unconditionally and automatically inform animals how they are faring in survival. They serve an essential function in emotional learning. The positive affects index "comfort zones" that support survival, while negative affects inform animals of circumstances that may impair survival. Affective feelings come in several varieties, including sensory, homeostatic, and emotional (which I focus on here). Primary-process emotional feelings arise from ancient caudal and medial subcortical regions, and were among the first subjective experiences to exist on the face of the earth. Without them, higher forms of conscious "awareness" may not have emerged in primate brain evolution. Because of homologous "instinctual" neural infrastructures, we can utilize animal brain research to reveal the nature of primary-process human affects. Since all vertebrates appear to have some capacity for primal affective feelings, the implications for animal-welfare and how we ethically treat other animals are vast.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.





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