November 13, 2016
Written by Maximus Peperkamp, M.S. Verbal Engineer
This is my seventh response to “The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have affective lives?” Panksepp, who studied behaviorism, takes issue with the fact that behavioral neuro-scientists use “the generic general-purpose traditional terms such as “reward” and “punishment” with little consideration of what such key brain processes that control learning mean in psychological terms.”
Our affective experiences can only be properly investigated while we are involved in Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB), but they are continuously misrepresented and neglected during Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB). When there is too much of an emphasis on what we say, that is, on the scientific definitions, we no longer pay attention to the nonverbal, that is, to how we sound and to how we experience our sound while we speak.
When I explain the SVB/NVB distinction people often ask me questions which only seem to lead to more questions, but which prevent them from experiencing the conversation. As long as people demand answers to their questions, they are NOT open to experiencing SVB, but once they experience it, they understand it. In SVB the experience of safety, comfort, calmness, well-being and effortlessness comes first and understanding follows from this phenomenological experience.
In NVB terms like “reward” or “punishment” are more important than how the listener experiences the speaker. The listener is supposed to try to listen to, to pay attention to and to understand the speaker who speaks AT him or her. Panksepp writes “It is now quite reasonable to envision that external rewards and punishments actually control learning by modulating the affective neural substrates of the brain, but that is a view that has hardly been addressed.” Why is Panksepp’s work not widely accepted? I tell you why: it is impossible to talk about affective neuroscience as we unknowingly engage again and again in NVB. I appreciate that he tries to reach out. I fully understand him.