November 25, 2016
Written by Maximus Peperkamp, M.S. Verbal Engineer
This is my nineteenth response to “The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have affective lives?” It should come as no surprise to the reader that Panksepp, a neuroscientist, is actually advocating for a different way of talking. The old way of talking, called Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB), is based on “ruthless reductionism.” It is NVB which “currently still thrives in most animal neuroscience work” as well as in any other place where people need to talk with each other.
Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB), the new way of talking, on the other hand, is inclusive rather than exclusive. Without SVB Panksepp is stuck and all he can do is write another paper about what it would be like to have authentic conversation. He writes “But our conversations would be richer, and more realistic, if we lifted the restriction to use primary process mental concepts in animals work. We do need much more research and discussion using indirect dual-aspect approaches that fully respect the hypothetico-deductive methods of modern science.”
Evolutionary theory, at one point in history, was rejected by those who adhered to their religious belief. Although the majority of people now accepts it, conversations among scientists haven’t, as one would like to believe, become any “richer” or “more realistic” after that. To the contrary, as science progressed, the harsh NVB with which theoretical perspectives are defended and attacked, has only further increased.
It is not the restriction of any particular content (e.g. primary process mental concepts) that has to be lifted, but the restriction on talking itself. What “currently thrives in most animal neuroscience work” (and in other disciplines) is paper-writing and paper-reading. Due to our NVB the written word is wrongly considered to be more important than the spoken word. SVB restores the importance of speaking and listening.