November 12, 2016
Written by Maximus Peperkamp, M.S. Verbal Engineer
This is my sixth response to “The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have affective lives?” The Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB) / Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB) distinction may turn out to be an important hypothesis for behavioral neuroscientists, who think “about how experiences emerge from brains, especially those of other animals.” Simply stated, how we sound expresses how we feel. If we sound stressed, we feel stressed, if we sound happy, we feel happy.
The question if other animals have emotional lives is answered when we listen to how they sound. Basically, when they are stressed or happy they sound pretty much the same as we do. Their positive or negative emotional vocalizations map beautifully onto the SVB/NVB distinction.
Those of us who own pets need no scientific evidence to prove that animals have emotional lives. Panksepp claims to NOT understand that “most neuroscientists who study animal behavior (i.e., behavioral neuro-scientists and neuro-ethologists) remain skeptical of such conclusions, and generally prefer to sustain an agnostic silence on such issues.”
I am not surprised by this blatant denial as I acknowledge that the majority of people, specifically those in academia, engage mainly in NVB and only minimally engage in SVB. NVB is the norm everywhere and SVB is the exception. That even animal researchers “remain skeptical” about something so obvious as animal emotions and “generally prefer to sustain an agnostic silence on such issues” describes their common dissociative, mentalistic, non-scientific way of talking which I call NVB.
Panksepp, like Skinner, is against NVB. When we listen to videos of these two men, we hear the openness, gentleness and sensitivity that is characteristic for SVB. However, Panksepp, who specifically focuses on the affective basis of behavior, has even more SVB than Skinner.