November 26, 2016
Written by Maximus Peperkamp, M.S. Verbal Engineer
This is my twentieth response to “The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have affective lives?” I am interested in “the use of emotional vocalizations as proxies for corresponding feeling states,” but neuroscientists aren’t likely going to teach us that in Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB) we express positive emotions, while in Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB) express negative emotions.
Why don’t we acknowledge SVB “as the key foundation for social bonding, and the neural mechanisms for rough-and-tumble PLAY being critically important, not only for development of social skills, but for social joy and even laughter?” We can’t even agree on something as simple as that as we are conditioned by and continue to be involved in NVB, which triggers “separation-distress” or “PANIC/GRIEF system.”
As a therapist, I have verified over and over again with each of my clients the SVB/NVB distinction. Panksepp is right “The implications for psychiatric issues are bound to be substantial,” but he exaggerates when he writes “it is only because of advances in brain research that credible scientific arguments can finally be advanced for the thesis that other mammals do have emotional and other affective feelings.”
Although he longs for it, Panksepp doesn’t yet acknowledge that we cannot engage in “scientific arguments” as long as we continue to have NVB. “Credibly scientific arguments” can only be advanced by speakers who engage in SVB. Anyone familiar with the SVB/NVB distinction will immediately realize that “other mammals do have emotional and other affective feelings.” It is not that we deny emotions in other individuals or other species, but it is our lack of skills to accurately describe our own emotions, which makes us incapable of recognizing them in others. This deficit will disappear when we engage in SVB more often.