The neuroevolutionary and neuroaffective psychobiology of the prosocial brain

Jaak Panksepp

in Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Psychology

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780198568308
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 The neuroevolutionary and neuroaffective psychobiology of the prosocial brain

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  • Cognitive Psychology
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Most of the complexities in cognition are probably not controlled by detailed genetics, but by the capacity of different species to see the world differently depending upon their perceptual strengths and learning abilities intermixing with the ancient genetic-instinctual tools for living. These cognition-emotion interactions notwithstanding, at their most basic level, core emotions are so ancient that it is scientifically wise to conceptualise them independently of cognition. In their raw form, they are innate tools for living. This article is concerned mainly with those core emotions that are the genetic endowments of the mammalian brain, homologous albeit not identical, in all mammals. It focuses on the core prosocial emotional systems of mammalian brains, at the expense of the higher cognitive functions with which they interact. Seven core emotional systems have been provisionally identified through empirically robust affective neuroscience strategies, such as evocation of coherent emotional responses by localised electrical stimulation of the brain.

Keywords: cognition; genetics; core emotions; brain; mammals; emotional systems; neuroscience

Article.  11962 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience

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