November 14, 2016
Written by Maximus Peperkamp, M.S. Verbal Engineer
This is my eight response to “The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have affective lives?” I predict that thirty years from now everyone will know about the importance of Panksepp’s primary emotional processes in animals and how these innate emotional brain-mechanisms either set the stage for Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB) and Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB) in humans.
Panksepp laments “The dilemma is that such brain functions can only be well studied in animal models, and a sustained conversation about how affects are generated by the brain has never been engaged.” I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t engage in a “sustained conversation.” With Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), we can measure cerebral blood flow and neural activity. Panksepp’s seven primary emotional processes (CARE, RAGE, PLAY, FEAR, JOY, PANIC, LUST and SEEKING) can be also be identified by how we sound while speak.
Why do we fear “anthropomorphic reasoning” when humans and animals in fact experience the exact same emotions? We have to get over this common fiction that we are NOT animals. The question is not whether animals are like us, but to what extent we act like animals and to what extent we are different? Stated differently, “anthropomorphic reasoning” is not only an appropriate starting point, but it is also the only way in which we can begin to make any sense of animal emotions.
Unless we pay attention to how we sound while we speak, we continue to demonize and toss out our subjective, animal experience in our quest for the holy grail of scientific objectivity. Even Panksepp doesn’t realize it is NOT the rejection of animal subjective experiences, but rejection of our own subjective experience which is the real issue. That is why he writes “Since affects are fundamentally subjective experiences, they have been the prime targets for critique of the kinds of brain processes we should never discuss in animals.”