A meditation on the affective neuroscientific view of human and animalian MindBrains

Jaak Panksepp and Lucy Biven

in From the Couch to the Lab

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199600526
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754753 | DOI:
A meditation on the affective neuroscientific view of human and animalian MindBrains

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The goal of this chapter is to discuss the types of primary process emotions that exist in all mammalian brains and which provide an instinctual-affective infrastructure for the mind, both unconditioned and learned aspects. Cross-species affective neuroscience approaches have now illuminated seven primal emotional systems that are represented by capitals—SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, and PLAY—to highlight their foundational importance for generating an affective foundation for higher aspects of the mental apparatus that emerge from learning and memory (secondary processes) as well as higher-order thoughts and other cognitive skills. A study of these brain networks allows us to understand the neural infrastructure of raw affective experiences scientifically. This can be done through the use of a dual-aspect monism strategy that is based on the recognition that the same brain systems that mediate emotional actions also elaborate the felt ‘rewards’ and ‘punishments’ that guide emotional learning. Imbalances within and among these subcortical emotional networks are of critical importance for understanding psychiatric disorders and advancing clinical practice, both psychotherapeutic as well as psychopharmacological.

Chapter.  18850 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry

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