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On the Embodied Neural Nature of Core Emotional Affects

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Basic affects reflect the diversity of satisfactions (potential rewards/reinforcements) and discomforts (punishments) that are inherited tools for living from our ancestral past. Affects are neurobiologically-ingrained potentials of the nervous system, which are triggered, moulded and refined by life experiences. Cognitive, information- processing approaches and computational metaphors cannot penetrate foundational affective processes. Animal models allow us to empirically analyse the large-scale neural ensembles that generate emotional-action dynamics that are critically important for creating emotional feelings. Such approaches offer robust neuro-epistemological strategies to decode the fundamental nature of affects in all mammals, including humans, but they remain to be widely implemented. Here I summarize how we can develop a cross-species affective neuroscience that probes the neural nature of emotional affective states by studying the instinctual emotional apparatus of the mammalian body and brain. Affective feelings and emotional actions may reflect the dynamics of the primal viscero-somatic homunculus of SELF-representation.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403, USA; Center for the Study of Animal Well-Being, Dept. of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology and Physiology, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164- ., Email: jpankse@bgnet.bgsu.ed

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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