Emotion (BSP 11)


Emotion: The Science of Sentiment, by Dylan Evans, is the featured book for this episode of the Brain Science Podcast.  Thanks to Kate from the UK for suggesting this book.

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  • Transcripts: BSP 1-14
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Show Notes

This episode is a short introduction to the idea that our emotions are an essential part of our intelligence.

  • We discuss the basic emotions, based on the work of anthropologist Paul Eckman.
  • We learn about culturally-learned emotions, such as "being a wild pig," which is observed among the Gurumba people of New Guinea.
  • Paul Griffiths introduced the idea of "higher cognitive emotions."
  • Emotions seem to exist on a continuum from the highly innate basic emotions to the culturally specific emotions.
  • The work of Joseph Ledoux and Antonio Damasio reveal that our emotions are an important element of normal intelligence.
  • We consider how fear actually follows two pathways in the brain.
  • We consider the role of the limbic system including the amygdala.
  • We consider the relationship between emotions and mood.
  • We consider how mood affects memory and decision making.
    • This includes Robert Zajonc's discovery of the "mere exposure" effect.
      • We briefly consider the question of whether computers could ever display emotions.

    Further Reading:

    The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness (2000)by Antonio Damasio.