November 24, 2016
Written by Maximus Peperkamp, M.S. Verbal Engineer
This is my eighteenth response to “The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have affective lives?” Obviously Panksepp is unfamiliar with the Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB) / Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB) distinction, which would dissolve many of his doubts.
The SVB/NVB distinction deals not only with humans, it also explains aversive and appetitive animal vocalizations.
“The other animals cannot even symbolically communicate their feelings, except perhaps for “talking” parrots and linguistically adept great apes, species that are unlikely to be used in routine brain research. Thus, it is self-evident that to proceed, we have to use other strategies to probe emotional feelings in other animals—for instance their natural emotional behaviors, especially their emotional vocalizations and we have to empirically validate such measures as behavioral proxies for the generation of novel affectively related animal behavior predictions, and thereby also provide novel, testable hypotheses about the neural nature of human feelings (who obviously can provide symbolic self-reports).” SVB is such another strategy…
Emotional vocalizations in primates have been studied by Owen and Rendall, but are not mentioned. Their affect-induction model (AIM) maps onto the SVB/NVB distinction and makes his “dual-aspect epistemology” unnecessary. Luckily, we don’t need to wait for evidence from animal researchers to learn about human emotions. Also, we don’t need neuroscientific knowledge to discriminate between SVB and NVB.
Panksepp isn’t any closer to solving communication problems than those who are unaware of his science. However, his “frequency-modulated (trill type) tickle-induced 50kHz chirps in rats reflect positive affect with evolutionary relations to human laughter” and maps onto the SVB response class in humans, while his “study of imbalances in specific affective systems in animal brains” relates to depression and to NVB.