Chapter

How Primary-Process Emotional Systems Guide Child Development

Jaak Panksepp

in Evolution, Early Experience and Human Development

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199755059
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979479 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199755059.003.0004
How Primary-Process Emotional Systems Guide Child Development

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All mammals share homologous primary-process emotional circuits, verified by the capacity of artificial activation of these systems to mediate “rewarding” and “punishing” effects in humans and other animals. These systems (SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, and PLAY) mediate social functions. These bottom-up primal emotional networks are fundamental for emotional reinforcement processes that regulate secondary-process learning and memory and lead to a diversity of higher cognitive functions, which, primarily via neural plasticity and learning, provide various top-down regulatory factors for emotional homeostasis as well as amplification of psychic disturbances. Many of the interminable controversies in psychological emotions studies may be due to different investigators focusing on different levels of organization within these multitiered levels of circular causality. A better understanding of the emotional primes can help guide the development of coherent new ways to optimize child development.

Keywords: affective neuroscience; primary process; child development; emotional benefits; seeking; rage; fear; lust; care; panic/grief; play

Chapter.  9519 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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