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Feeling as knowing — Part II: Emotion, consciousness, and brain activity

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Abstract:

In the latter part of this two-article sequence, the concept of emotion as reorganization of the organism-environment system is developed further in relation to consciousness, subjective experience and brain activity. It is argued that conscious emotions have their origin in reorganizational changes in primitive co-operative organizations, in which they get a more local character with the advent of personal consciousness and individuality, being expressed in conscious emotions. However, the conscious emotion is not confined to the individual only, but it gets its content and the emotional quale in the social context, and in relation to the norms of the given culture. Emotion is fundamentally the process of ascription of meaning to the parts of the world which are relevant in the achievement of results of behavior. Although emotions may be studied as reorganizational processes in the organism-environment system with the help of physiological recordings and behavioral observations, it is argued — in contrast to the mainstream cognitive science — that emotions cannot be localized in the brain, although the brain is important in their generation as a part of the organism-environment system. It is suggested that the parts of the brain most closely related to emotional expression contain neurons subserving functional systems which are formed in early development, and which are therefore most intimately related to reorganizational processes in the organism-environment system.

Keywords: behavior; brain; consciousness; dynamic systems; emotion; feeling; organism-environment system; psychophysiology

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/ce.2.1.04jar

Affiliations: Department of Behavioral SciencesUniversity of Oulu, Finland

Publication date: October 1, 2001

jbp/ce/2001/00000002/00000001/art00003
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