View Full Version : Emotions come first.


mildadhd
03-22-14, 02:16 AM
Although a lot of good work has been done on mental welfare for animals, it's hard for pet owners, farmers, ranchers, and zookeepers to use it because they don't have clear guidelines.

Right now, when a zoo wants to improve welfare, what usually happens is that the staff tries everything they can think of that they have the money and the personnel to implement.

Mostly they focus on the animal's behavior and try to get it acting as naturally as possible.


I believe that the best way to create good living conditions for any animal, whether it's a captive animal living in a zoo, a farm animal, or a pet, is to base animal welfare programs on the core emotion systems in the brain.

My theory is that the environment animals live in should activate their positive emotions as much as possible, and not activate their negative emotions any more than necessary.

If we get the animal's emotions right, we will have fewer problem behaviors.



That might sound like a radical statement, but some of the research in neuroscience has been showing that emotions drive behavior, and my own thirty-five years of experience working with animals have shown me that this is true.

Emotions come first.

You have to go back to the brain to understand animal welfare.


Of course, usually--though not always--the more freedom you give an animal to act naturally, the better, because normal behaviors evolved to satisfy the core emotions.

When a hen hides to lay her eggs, the hiding behavior turns off fear.

But if you can't give an animal freedom to act naturally, then you should to think about how to satisfy the emotion that motivates the behavior by giving the animal other things to do.

Focus on the emotion, not the behavior.


So far, research in animal behavior agrees with the neuroscience research on emotions...





-Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson: "Animals Make Us Human", (Chapter 1, What Do Animals Need?), P 3, 4.




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mildadhd
03-22-14, 02:51 AM
All animals and people have the same core emotion systems in the brain.

Most pet owners probably already believe this, but I find that a lot of executives, plant managers, and even some veterinarians and researchers still don't believe that animals have emotions.

The first thing I tell them is that the same psychiatric medications, such as Prozac, that work for humans also work for animals.(*3)

Unless you are an expert, when you dissect a pig's brain it's difficult to tell the difference between the lower-down parts of the animal's brain and the lower-down parts of a human brain.(*4)

Human beings have a much bigger neocortex, but the core emotions aren't located in the neocortex.

They're in the lower-down part of the brain.



When people are suffering mentally, they want to feel better--they want to stop having bad emotions and start having good emotions.

That's the right goal with animals, too.




-Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson: "Animals Make Us Human", (Chapter 1, What Do Animals Need?), P 5.


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Fuzzy12
03-22-14, 03:29 AM
thanks that's really interesting. do we know enough vabout how to induce positive emotions in animals apart from satisfying their basic needs and mimicking natural conditions? I don't even know how to induce positive emotions in myself.

mildadhd
03-22-14, 04:36 AM
Dr. Jaak Panksepp, a neuroscientist at Washington State University who wrote the book Affective Neuroscience and is one of the most important researchers in the field, calls the core emotion systems the "blue-ribbon emotions," because they "generate well-organized behavior sequences that can be evoked by localized electrical stimulation of the brain." (*5)

This means that when you stimulate the brain systems for one of the core emotions, you always get the same behaviors from the animal.

If you stimulate the anger system, the animal snarls and bites.

If you stimulate the fear system, the animal freezes or runs away.

Electrodes in the social attachment system cause the animal to make separation calls, and electrodes in the "SEEKING" system make the animal start moving forward, sniffing, and exploring its environment.

When you stimulate these parts of the brain in people, they don't snarl and bite, but they report the same emotions animals show.


People and animals (and possibly birds) are born with these emotions--they don't learn them from their mothers or from the environment--and neuroscientists know a fair amount about how they work inside the brain.





-Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson: "Animals Make Us Human", (Chapter 1, What Do Animals Need?), P 5-6.



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mildadhd
03-22-14, 04:38 AM
Here is a quick rundown of the four blue-ribbon emotion systems, which Jaak always writes in all caps:


SEEKING: Dr. Panksepp says SEEKING is "the basic impulse to search, investigate, and make sense of the environment."


SEEKING is a combination of emotions people usually think of as being different: wanting something really good, looking forward to getting something really good, and curiosity, which most people probably don't think of as being emotion at all.(*6)


The wanting part of SEEKING gives you the energy to go after your goals, which can be anything from food, shelter, and sex to knowledge, a new car, or fame and fortune.

When a cat stalks a mouse, its actions are driven by the SEEKING system.



The looking-forward part of SEEKING is the Christmas emotion.

When kids see all the presents under the Christmas tree, their SEEKING system goes into overdrive.



Curiosity is related to novelty.

I think the orientating response is the first stage of SEEKING because it is attracted to novelty.

When a deer or a dog hears a strange noise, he turns his head, looks and pauses.

During the pause, the animal decides, Do I keep SEEKING, run away in fear, or attack?

New things stimulate the curiosity part of the SEEKING system.

Even when people are curious about something familiar--like behaviorist being curious about animals, for instance-- they can only be curious about some aspect they don't understand.

They are SEEKING and explanation that they don't have yet.

SEEKING is always about something you don't have yet, whether it's food and shelter or Christmas presents or a way to understand animal welfare.




SEEKING is a very pleasurable emotion.

If you implant electrodes into the SEEKING system of an animal's brain, it will press a lever to turn the current on.

Animals like to self-stimulate the SEEKING system so much that for a long time researchers thought the SEEKING system was the brain's "pleasure center," and some people still talk that way.(*7)

But the pleasure people feel when their SEEKING system is stimulated is the pleasure of looking forward to something good, not the pleasure of having something good.(*8)




-Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson: "Animals Make Us Human", (Chapter 1, What Do Animals Need?), P 6-7.




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mildadhd
03-22-14, 05:02 AM
RAGE: Dr. Panksepp believes that the core emotion RAGE evolved from the experience of being captured and held immobile by a predator.

Stimulation of subcortical brain areas causes an animal to go into a rage.(*11)

RAGE gives a captured animal the explosive energy it needs to struggle violently and maybe shock the predator into loosening its grip long enough that the captured animal can get away.

The RAGE feeling starts at birth--if you hold a human baby's arms to his sides, he will become furiously angry.


Frustration is a mild form of RAGE that is sparked by mental restraint when you can't do something you're trying to do.

That's why you feel mild anger when you can't unscrew a tight lid from a jar or when you can't solve a math problem.

In one case the action of opening the jar has been restrained, and in the other the mental action of solving the math problem has been restrained.

Frustration from mental restraint evolved out of RAGE from physical restraint.


We should assume that some captive animals feel frustrated being locked up inside enclosures, barns, apartments and houses, yards, and cages, because being locked up is a form of restraint no matter how nice the environment is.

Many captive animals try to escape as soon as they have an opportunity.

That was something my dissertation adviser at the University of Illinois, Bill Greenough, used to talk about.

Bill used to say that maybe when we created enriched environments for laboratory animals we were just creating an enlightened San Quentin prison.

I think he was right.




-Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson: "Animals Make Us Human", (Chapter 1, What Do Animals Need?), P 7-8.


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mildadhd
03-22-14, 05:12 AM
FEAR: The FEAR system doesn't need a lot of explanation.

Animals and humans feel FEAR when their survival is threatened in any way, from the physical to the mental and social.(*12)

The FEAR circuits in the subcortex of the brain have been fully mapped.

Destruction of the amygdala, the brain's fear center, turns off fear.(*13)

The core emotion of FEAR motivated the gerbils I mentioned before to dig, because in the wild gerbils who did not dig tunnels were eaten by predators.




-Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson: "Animals Make Us Human", (Chapter 1, What Do Animals Need?), P 8.




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mildadhd
03-22-14, 05:22 AM
[GRIEF]/PANIC: PANIC is Jaak's word for the social attachment system.

All baby animals and humans cry when their mothers leave, and an isolated baby whose mother does not come back is likely to become depressed and die.

The PANIC system probably evolved from physical pain.

When you stimulate the part of an animal's brain that regulates physical pain, the animal makes separation cries.

Opioids are even more effective at treating social pain than they are at treating physical pain.

Jaak says that's probably why people say it "hurts" to lose someone they love.




-Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson: "Animals Make Us Human", (Chapter 1, What Do Animals Need?), P 8-9.



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mildadhd
03-22-14, 05:38 AM
Dr. Panksepp also writes about three other positive emotion systems researchers don't know as much about, and that don't necessarily run through an animal's entire life.


He calls these three emotions "more sophisticated special-purpose socioemotional systems that are engaged at appropriate times in the lives of all mammals."


LUST: LUST means sex and sexual desire.


CARE: CARE is Dr.Panksepp's term for maternal love and caretaking.(*14)


PLAY: PLAY is the brain system that produces the kind of roughhousing play all young animals and humans do at the same stage in their development.

The parts of the brain that motivate PLAY are in the subcortex.(*15)

No one understands the nature of playing or the PLAY system in the brain well yet, although we do know that play behavior is probably a sign of good welfare, because an animal that's depressed, frightened, or angry doesn't play.

The PLAY system produces feelings of joy.



Taken together, these seven emotions--especially the first four--explain why some environments are good for animals (and people) and others are bad.

In a good environment you have healthy brain development and few behavior issues.





-Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson: "Animals Make Us Human", (Chapter 1, What Do Animals Need?), P 8-9.




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mildadhd
03-22-14, 05:58 AM
thanks that's really interesting. do we know enough vabout how to induce positive emotions in animals apart from satisfying their basic needs and mimicking natural conditions? I don't even know how to induce positive emotions in myself.


Thanks for your interest here is a short video, I will look for more examples.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KanfLqKXYg

Kunga Dorji
03-22-14, 10:31 AM
thanks that's really interesting. do we know enough about how to induce positive emotions in animals apart from satisfying their basic needs and mimicking natural conditions? I don't even know how to induce positive emotions in myself.


The emotion system in humans and other mammals is virtually identical-- it acts to draw us towards the positive and life enhancing and draw us away from the life threatening or injuring.

The only real difference in humans is a greater difference to generalise experience, to project possible futures, and to dwell excessively on previous failures.

Research in children born with hydranencephaly (usually caused by a stroke in utero- which obliterates virtually everything above the brainstem) exhibit joy when touched, when they hear the voice of their favorite caregiver, or their favorite music. Experiencing joy or pain does not take all that much neurological machinery (barely more than is required to continue to breathe).

Anyone who has ever had a pet knows this-- that is evidence enough.
Hell- 2 years after my separation, our dogs still go wild with joy when I visit-- they can even tell when it is me arriving at the damn house.
(it is a pity my ex, with all that higher intellectual processing power cannot see what they see).

So we know enough to know that when they feel pain it is not unlike what we feel. That is more than enough to be aware we must treat them kindly, as those who inflict pain willfully have no right to complain when on the receiving end of the same.

mildadhd
03-22-14, 04:56 PM
-Panksepp/Biven; "The Archaeology Of Mind", (Preface and Acknowledgements), P xi.


...We hope that what will be discovered between these covers will be of considerable use to many in their quest to understand themselves and others, including fellow animals, and to recognize how much all mammals share in the ways that they emotionally respond to the world.

We suspect that many diverse groups of people will find these perspectives to be especially useful.

WHY PSYCHIATRISTS, PHYSICIANS, AND PSYCHOTHERAPISTS SHOULD UNDERSTAND THE SEVEN BASIC AFFECTIVE SYSTEMS

We have found that the ancient subcortical regions of mammalian brains contain at least seven basic affective systems:

Here, we refer to these systems as SEEKING (expectancy), FEAR (anxiety), RAGE (anger), LUST (sexual excitement), CARE (nurturance), PANIC/GRIEF (sadness), and PLAY (social joy).

(We will explain later why we use capitalization to label these systems; for now, suffice it to say that they designate specific functional networks of evolutionarily very ancient regions of ours brains.)



This book should be of special interest to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals as well as students of the affective, behavioral, and cognitive neurosciences (each of which takes a rather different approach to the study and discussion of emotions).

Our focus here will be on the primary-process nature of these systems, but we will not neglect the levels that most other investigators are studying--the secondary process (inbuilt emotional learning mechanisms) and the tertiary process (emotional thoughts and deliberations that are so evident in human experience)...


see more in the book, "The Archaeology Of Mind". (recommended).





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mildadhd
03-22-14, 04:57 PM
OTHER AUDIENCES

All people who wish to be well informed about human emotion--from parents to educators--will want to understand how feelings are created from within the brain.

These affective systems have important implications for most academic disciplines that deal with human beings, from philosophy to economics and from arts to the social sciences.



-Panksepp/Biven; "The Archaeology Of Mind", (Preface and Acknowledgements), P xviii.



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mildadhd
03-22-14, 04:58 PM
Parents

Parents will want to know about these systems in order to asses normal development in their children.

If one sees a felicitous balance of all systems, this indicates that the children are developing in emotionally healthy ways.

But if a particular system is over--or under--aroused, this may indicate a problem.

For example, and excessively studious or serious child may have an underactive PLAY system.

The PLAY system allows children to learn about social rules of conduct--for example, when to cooperate and when to compete, and at times to retreat in good-humored ways and let someone else win.

When animals engage in rough-and-tumble play and one animal wins more than 70% of the time, the loosing animal no longer enjoys the game and may drop out of such interactions entirely.

So when children play, they learn valuable social skills, such as the necessity of reciprocity and giving way on occasion.

Children will learn these skills because, if they do not, their playmates may begin to reject them.


Parents should understand the importance of maintaining an optimal balance of positive affects in their children, especially when they are very young.

Subcortical emotional systems can become sensitized by experience.

Neuroscienctists are beginning to learn how emotional brain systems are molded, often permanently, through life experiences, just like the muscles and bones that carry our bodies dynamically into the world develop and strengthen over time.

These changes can extend to the level at which genes become activated, sometimes leading to lifelong patterns of affective strengths and weaknesses.

Understanding these epigenetic (environmentally induced) long-term changes in gene expressions and hence often the lifelong strengths and weaknesses of the BrainMind will be a most exciting forthcoming chapter in emotion research.


Therefore, children are blessed if they have received a great deal of nurturing CARE, leading to the formation of secure social bonds, with positive attachment facilitated by low activity of the PANIC/GRIEF system.

If the child has had the opportunity to engage in abundant joyful play, and if the child's curiosity has been stimulated, then the neural circuits that support these capacities will be more robust throughout life.

If, on the other hand, the child has been subjected to untoward frustrations that engender her RAGE system, or if the child has endured high levels of FEAR or PANIC/GRIEF, then her capacity for these negative feelings will be enlarged.

However, this does not mean that parents need to protect their children from negative emotions.

All children must learn to cope with them because they are a natural part of living.

It is reasonable to believe that all the negative emotions, in small manageable doses, facilitate long term psychological resilience that may help ward off longer-lasting future disappointments that could lead to depression.



-Panksepp/Biven; "The Archaeology Of Mind", (Preface and Acknowledgements), P xviii-xix.



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mildadhd
03-22-14, 04:59 PM
Teachers

Teachers will surely benefit from knowing about the seven basic affective systems.

All good teachers stimulate the SEEKING system when they make learning an exciting experience rather than purely a matter of rote memorization.

However, given that much learning involves some measure of drudgery, teachers also need to impose social sanctions.

The conscientious child is rewarded with praise, engendering satisfying feelings emanating from the positive social bonding arms of the CARE and GRIEF/PANIC systems.

The recalcitrant child, however, must often endure the threat of disapproval with accompanying activation of the negative arm of the above social-affect systems, not to mention the throes of RAGE and FEAR.

If so, that child's life will be ruled by negative affect and worries, rather than the positive affects that can spur children on to greater accomplishments.

A second chance, offered gracefully to children with excessive negative affect, can be a wonderful life-sustaining experience.

In any event, well-ministered social constraints can fortify children's ability to tolerate frustration and prepare them to deal with inevitable setbacks in adult life.



We will even emphasize how abundant physical play may reduce the incidence of impulsivity and problems such as Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

When children have fulfilled their natural urges to play physically, they are better prepared to sit still and pay attention in the classroom.

The re-introduction of play might work best if we make recess the first class of each day.

In effect, this need used to be met when children walked to school and arrived early enough to meet up with and engage playmates before classes started.




-Panksepp/Biven; "The Archaeology Of Mind", (Preface and Acknowledgements), P xix-xx.





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DistractedLemur
03-22-14, 06:25 PM
I learned everything I know about psychology from watching 'The Dog Whisperer'.

Really interesting thread, thanks!
I'd be curious to hear theories on how you go about trying to re-wire inappropriate responses to stimulus.

Kunga Dorji
03-22-14, 07:03 PM
I learned everything I know about psychology from watching 'The Dog Whisperer'.

Really interesting thread, thanks!
I'd be curious to hear theories on how you go about trying to re-wire inappropriate responses to stimulus.


There are many ways.
Any conditioned response can be overwritten.
Just doing breath mindfulness - noticing the upsetting thought and going back to observing the breath, will eventually extinguish any conditioned fear response. Mindfulness therapies are faster. Hypnosis and EMDR can be extremely fast.
The evidence is now in that medically supervised psychotherapy using MDMA to replace the fear response with a more positive feeling can extinguish traumatic memories very effectively. It should just be a matter of time before that therapy is approved.

mildadhd
03-22-14, 07:15 PM
One snow blowing winter morning.

I walked to elementary school, an hour early to play.

Never lick a frozen metal door handle.

When there is a possibility of a one hour winter storm delay.




Peripherals

DistractedLemur
03-22-14, 07:27 PM
The evidence is now in that medically supervised psychotherapy using MDMA to replace the fear response with a more positive feeling can extinguish traumatic memories very effectively. It should just be a matter of time before that therapy is approved.

:eek:
I VOLUNTEER!! Now where did I leave my glowsticks and whistle...?
:lol:

mildadhd
03-22-14, 07:42 PM
I learned everything I know about psychology from watching 'The Dog Whisperer'.

Really interesting thread, thanks!
I'd be curious to hear theories on how you go about trying to re-wire inappropriate responses to stimulus.


What period of development (age), are you curious about?



Peripherals

DistractedLemur
03-22-14, 07:54 PM
Partly depends on what period of development (age), you are curious about?


Adult. It's my own responses I want to re-wire.
(I only just noticed this is in the parenting section.)

mildadhd
03-23-14, 01:15 AM
Adult. It's my own responses I want to re-wire.
(I only just noticed this is in the parenting section.)


Emotional responses?





Peripherals

DistractedLemur
03-23-14, 08:42 PM
Emotional responses?


For me social activity which can't hurt me often points to FEAR instead of SEEKING and PLAY.
On the flipside actual danger can often point to PLAY.

To bring this back to parenting I can quite clearly and simply relate this to being under-socialised as a child and then moved into a hostile habitat in early adolescence.

mildadhd
03-24-14, 03:16 AM
(these are my layman interpretation of my own expereinces, awareness of these topics throughout this thread really help me, I am sure I am forget or leaving out information)



A decrease in blood flow occurs during anxiety distress, in some areas of the brain, like the right Orbito Frontal Cortex. (OFC)

And increases blood flow to some areas of the brain involved in distress response, and/or FEAR (anxiety), and/or GRIEF (anxiety/depression) and/or RAGE (aggression).

There is many brain parts implicated in ADHD, Right OFC impairment is common among ADHDers. (but not the only area)



The areas of increased blood flow develop.

The areas of decreased blood flow develop less.


In general, much of the automatic nervous system emotional self control systems, develops before the age of 4-7 for the first time.

After the age of 7-10 things become more permanent. (change slower)


All People with ADHD have symptoms before the age of 10. (although many are not diagnosed til later in life)


The brain never stops changing, but after the age of 7-10 through to adulthood, the rapid rate of early development decreases, meaning development is possible, but occurs at a much slower rate than in infancy.

I think my ADD is partly a result of separation anxiety, due to different types of adoption distress.

(separation anxiety during critical period of development) and (prenatal adoption distress: higher levels of cortisol crossing the placenta, sensitizing my stress response system, in turn setting a lower distress set point, lowering my ability to handle long term distressful circumstances)


Some areas of the ADHDers right hemisphere is slightly smaller.

(And probably areas involved with my separation anxiety, motor function, etc slightly bigger.) again specifics depend on individual circumstances.

Arousal (blood flow) of the PLAY system only occurs during positive experience.

Real PLAY doesn't occur during distressful circumstances.

Real PLAY promotes development of higher OFC functions.


During distressful experiences, the brain can override positive experiences, to conserve blood flow for fight or flight responses

Resulting in an underactive positive emotion systems, and in turn, an overactive negative emotion systems.

I think the SEEKING system is overactive in people with ADHD, due to a lack of higher ROFC development/inhibition.


In turn, in life, I make sometimes make immature, bad decisions, that sometimes put me in dangerous predicaments.

Making me more prone to lack of self control over cravings associated with different types of addiction and more bad desicision.


Anxiety should be treated first, or at least along with ADHD.

Some people with ADHD and/or anxiety may need medication, but medication should never be the first line of treatment.


These are very complex topics.

And there is no way I can cover everything in a post.

I am going to post this information, for discussion, please leave room for error and new information.

I appreciate your interest in the subjects, helps me learn.

Correction appreciated.


Peripherals

mildadhd
03-24-14, 03:54 AM
Correction:

Primarily, I think, I have a underdeveloped subcortical SEEKING system, that is overactive because of a lack of higher cortical development/inhibition, all due to abnormal distress, that occurred during both prenatal and post natal early life circumstances.


Peripherals