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02-23-14, 06:22 PM
Cross-Species Affective Neuroscience Decoding of the Primal Affective Experiences of Humans and Related Animals



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.;jsessi onid=AD13490132E599FB6413BDA3EB45FF87


02-24-14, 12:46 AM

FIGURE 3: Nested hierarchies of control within the brain.

A summary of the hierarchical bottom-up and top-down (circular) causation that is proposed to operate in every primal emotional system of the brain.

The schematic summarizes the hypothesis that in order for higher MindBrain functions to mature and function (via bottom-up control), they have to be integrated with the lower BrainMind functions, with primary-processes being depicted as squares (red), secondary-process learning as circles (green), and tertiary processes, by rectangles (blue).

The color-coding aims to convey the manner in which nested-hierarchies are integrating lower brain functions into higher brain functions to eventually exert top-down regulatory control (adapted from Northoff, et al. [47]).


02-24-14, 12:59 AM

Figure 2. Levels of control in brain emotion-affective processing.

A summary of the global levels of control within the brain

1) with 3 general types of affects (red),

2) three types of basic learning mechanisms (green),


3) three representative awareness functions (blue) of the neocortex (which relies completely on multiple levels of integration, with descending controls down through the basal ganglia to the thalamus, looping back to neocortex) before it can fully elaborate both thoughts and behavior).


02-26-14, 10:49 AM
I thought this was about Star Trek then realized it wasn't Prime Directive, or even Primal Directive.

02-28-14, 11:23 PM
I thought this was about Star Trek then realized it wasn't Prime Directive, or even Primal Directive.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard violated the prime directive (at least 9 times), "because (Captain Jean-Luc Picard) thought it was the right thing to do".


03-01-14, 01:41 AM
Although we think of attention as a function of the intellect, its deepest roots are in the subsoil of emotion.

From the evolutionary point of view, this could not have been otherwise.

Imagine a nutritionally challenged saber-tooth tiger charging us: to motivate us in that situation, we don't need intellect but raw fear.

Better to scoot first and ask questions later.

Emotion divorced from thought is hazardous, but human life is equally impossible when thought rules without emotion.

The emotionless Vulcan space traveler in Star Trek, Mr.Spock, may be the television ideal of rationality, but as a human being he couldn't think his way out of a paper bag.

-Gabor Mate M.D., Scattered, P.124.


03-01-14, 01:51 AM
From OP Link

Cross-Species Affective Neuroscience Decoding of the Primal Affective Experiences of Humans and Related Animals (;jsessi onid=AD13490132E599FB6413BDA3EB45FF87)

" the beginning of a fine recent paper on the emotional choices made by animals, carefully indicated that the emotional behaviors of animals “may or may not be experienced consciously.”

An accompanying commentary on that article highlighted epistemological ways out of such conundrums, by basing arguments on triangulated evidence from affective neuroscience [5]

—relating i) brain mechanisms, to both ii) behavior and iii) experiential-affective analyses (see below).

Behavior-only research cannot achieve definitive conclusions, since it has no direct access to underlying affective infrastructure of certain brain mechanisms.

Thus, if we just analyze behavior, we have no empirical way out of the conundrum of belief-based conclusions.."

Studying the brain mechanisms associated with emotional behaviors experienced.

Makes more sense to me.

Than studying behaviors, alone, without associating the brain mechanisms involved with emotional experiences.