Chapter

What Are Emotions, Why Do We Have Emotions, and What Is Their Computational Basis in the Brain?

EDMUND T. ROLLS

in Who Needs Emotions?

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780195166194
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199847020 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195166194.003.0005

Series: Series in Affective Science

What Are Emotions, Why Do                             We Have Emotions, and What Is Their Computational Basis in the                                 Brain?

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This chapter examines the concept of emotions and their computational basis in the brain. It defines emotions as states elicited by the so-called reinforcers and explains that this definition may help provide a better understanding of the functions and classifications of emotions and the information processing systems in the brain that are involved in emotion. It proposes a hypothesis that brains are designed around reward and punishment evaluation systems, because this is the way genes can build a complex system that will produce appropriate but flexible behaviour to increase their fitness.

Keywords: emotion; brain; information processing; flexible behaviour; genes; fitness

Chapter.  12430 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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