RE: [asa] Brains, cells & emotions

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Mon May 14 2007 - 14:40:50 EDT

Suppose we accept that evolutionary theory explains how the human emotion of love has evolved, still the question what is love remains unanswered.



From: on behalf of Christine Smith
Sent: Mon 5/14/2007 2:27 PM
Subject: [asa] Brains, cells & emotions

Can someone with more background in this area give me
some perspective on the following, which is described
on wikipedia (I know, not the best source of
info--that's why I'm asking the forum about it!)

Christine Smith

"For example, the human emotion of love is proposed to
have evolved from paleocircuits of the mammalian brain
(specifically, modules of the cingulated gyrus)
designed for the care, feeding, and grooming of
offspring. Paleocircuits are neural platforms for
bodily expression configured millions of years before
the advent of cortical circuits for speech. They
consist of pre-configured pathways or networks of
nerve cells in the forebrain, brain stem and spinal
cord. They evolved prior to the earliest mammalian
ancestors, as far back as the jawless fishes, to
control motor function.

Presumably, before the mammalian brain, life in the
non-verbal world was automatic, preconscious, and
predictable. The motor centers of reptiles react to
sensory cues of vision, sound, touch, chemical,
gravity, and motion with pre-set body movements and
programmed postures. With the arrival of night-active
mammals, circa 180 million years ago, smell replaced
vision as the dominant sense, and a different way of
responding arose from the olfactory sense, which is
proposed to have developed into mammalian emotion and
emotional memory. In the Jurassic Period, the
mammalian brain invested heavily in olfaction to
succeed at night as reptiles slept - one explanation
for why olfactory lobes in mammalian brains are
proportionally larger than in the reptiles. These odor
pathways gradually formed the neural blueprint for
what was later to become our limbic brain.


There is a new theory concerning emotion and how it
informs the contents of consciousness (how qualia and
thought are composed). According to The Unified Theory
of the Nervous System and Behavior it can be noted
that every perception, sense and thought has an
emotional component of good or bad, which is
interpreted as a mix of pleasure and pain as expressed
in proportions of the mix between these basic units in
relationship to frequencies of cell firing. An ideal
frequency of a cell becomes pleasure in a different
scale of time, and, as the cells are seeking
connections as a form of pattern-seeking, all
cognition is a summation of pleasure-seeking with many
different units of both pleasure and pain as well.
Different experiences always have a pleasure/pain
element in regards to converging frequencies which we
experience at the scale of an entire organism as
beauty or ugliness in the realm of vision, for
instance. Therefore, as all cognition and function of
the nervous system is a combination of different
proportions of pleasure and pain - which act as the
pixels to create the animated experience of
consciousness much like the black dots on white paper
become pictures in a newspaper photograph which has
content as a black and white or mostly grey picture -
then what we call emotion is the overall summation of
many realms of pleasure/pain calculations in regards
to the many complex subject matters dealt with in any
instant in the brain that are beyond being articulated
as any one topic (although we will have an emotional
interpretation of every realm or subject or subset of
thinking as well). This way of looking at emotion as
mixtures of meaningless extremes of pleasure/pain
oscillating back and forth in each cell offers answers
to what are considered the "hard" problems of qualia/experience/consciousness."

"For we walk by faith, not by sight" ~II Corinthians 5:7

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Received on Mon May 14 14:45:56 2007

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