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:
How Primary-Process Emotional Systems Guide Child Development

Show Summary Details


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

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.