November 28, 2016
Written by Maximus Peperkamp, M.S. Verbal Engineer
This is my twenty-second response to “The basic emotional circuits of mammalian brains: Do animals have affective lives?” I am commenting on Panksepp’s research which supports my distinction between Sound Verbal Behavior (SVB) and Noxious Verbal Behavior (NVB). Read the following quote carefully as it describes these two response classes.
“To put it bluntly, the experience of pain can cause shrieking and crying in all mammals, and the stronger the pain stimulus, the stronger the vocal response. If we dull the feelings of pain (properly called sensory affects) with opiates, all behavioral indices of pain diminish in all mammalian species, just as in humans. However, there are also wonderfully positive sounds, such as those of social play related to brain SEEKING circuits and wonderful courting songs in birds, which are modulated by social neuropeptides such as endogenous opioids.”
The painful “shrieking and crying in all mammals” is the equivalent of NVB in humans, while appetitive experiences set the stage for SVB, “wonderfully positive sounds, such as those of social play related to brain SEEKING circuits and wonderful courting songs in birds.” Yes, we can stimulate each other, while we talk, with the sound of our voice in precisely the same manner as Panksepp is stimulating his lab animals.
He found that “When we artificially activate brain emotion-behavior generating circuits, animals rapidly learn to turn off ESB (Electrical Brain Stimulation) that evokes fear and anger-type responses, and they turn on brain stimulation that generates playful sounds, exploration, sexual eagerness and maternal care.” However, in SVB we don’t use ESB, but VSB (Vocal Brain Stimulation). Our sound induces emotions.
Panksepp wonders “Are we fooling ourselves that we have captured something very important about human experiences of pain, anger, fear and joy through such animal research? There is no empirical line of research that suggests such a dismal conclusion.” I don’t think that there is anything dismal about his conclusion. We don’t need to wait for empirical research to prove to us that SVB works for mental health clients, for students, for parents, for couples, for team members and for colleagues.