Jaak Panksepp – Simulating the Primal Emotions of the Mammalian Brain

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009 by Stefan Kohlhauser

Jaak Panksepp

Jaak Panksepp

This paper discusses the manner in which emotional feelings may be created in biological brains. The affective neuroscience approach to understanding these issues is premised on the fact that basic emotions reflect large-scale neurodynamics of various kinds of emotional-instinctual action circuits, that are built into the brain as large-scale network functions that are better described in terms of “state-spaces” rather than “information-processing” algorithms. Cognitive mentality is built upon a solid foundation of emotional-affective processes which require explication of network-doctrines
much more than traditional information-processing neuron-type doctrines that seem to suffice to model cognitive processes. The only experiencing minds that currently exist in the world are complex carbon-based biophysical, neurochemical, network-based whose brain capacities are intimately linked to the dynamics of living bodies. It is possible that such affective-emotional properties of biological brains need to be closely emulated in virtual machines before there can be any semblance of success in simulating the core properties of primary-process consciousness (e.g., the varieties of affective
experiences), which may be essential foundations for higher forms of cognitive activities. Sloman’s impressive cognitively driven virtual machines fail to adequately confront the affective nature of the human mind.

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