November 16, 2016
Written by Maximus Peperkamp, M.S. Verbal Engineer
This is my tenth response to “The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have affective lives?” To advance his own affective neuroscience Panksepp speaks to a mentalistic audience, but he can only pay lip-service to what he knows about operant conditioning.
If he had been true to what he knew, he would no longer be referring to “higher aspects of the human mind” or “the basic neurophysiological processes of “lower” animal minds” to point out that they are linked.
Operant conditioning is based on the premise of continuity of behavior and pigeons have been used to figure out schedules of reinforcement which also apply to human behavior. Now read Panksepp’s attempts to get staunch non-behaviorists to accept his research findings. He writes “To proceed on this tack, investigators would need to accept one grand but empirically robust premise—that higher aspects of the human mind are still strongly linked to the basic neuropsychological processes of “lower” animal minds.” I agree that “one grand empirically robust premise” is needed, but that premise was already has been in place in radical behaviorism for many years. To deny this is to misrepresent the science of human behavior and to pretend as if it doesn’t exist.
There is no need at all to refer to animal or human, lower or higher minds, to explain behavior. However, the necessary change in content as occurring in behaviorism should also have led to a change in tone, but it didn’t. It couldn’t as behaviorists were as unaware about the distinction between Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB) and Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB) as non-behaviorists. Acceptance of this fact as well as any other empirical facts requires that we talk with each other in a manner which is free from aversive stimulation. In effect, we need a communication laboratory to stimulate, shape and maintain our SVB. We can have SVB, deliberately, consciously, continuously and skillfully.