Curious Emotions: Roots Of Consciousness And Personality In Motivated Action

Curious Emotions: Roots of Consciousness and Personality in Motivated Action
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If an object's meaning depends on its action affordances, then understanding intentionality in emotion or cognition requires exploring why emotion is the bridge between action and representational processes such as thought or imagery; and this requires integrating phenomenology with neurophysiology. The resulting viewpoint, "enactivism," entails specific new predictions, and suggests that emotions are about the self-initiated actions of dynamical systems, not reactive "responses" to external events; consciousness is more about motivated anticipation than reaction to inputs.

Series A. More Details Contributor: Ralph D. Free Returns We hope you are delighted with everything you buy from us. However, if you are not, we will refund or replace your order up to 30 days after purchase. Terms and exclusions apply; find out more from our Returns and Refunds Policy. Recently Viewed. Shop Books. Add to Wishlist. USD Overview Emotion drives all cognitive processes, largely determining their qualitative feel, their structure, and in part even their content.

Action-initiating centers deep in the emotional brain ground our understanding of the world by enabling us to imagine how we could act relative to it, based on endogenous motivations to engage certain levels of energy and complexity. Thus understanding personality, cognition, consciousness and action requires examining the workings of dynamical systems applied to emotional processes in living organisms. James put forward the counter-intuitive perspective of feelings as following rather than preceding actions.

Nevertheless, feelings, for James, are perceptions of body states that are synonymous with the emotion states. One of the most oft-cited perspectives on feelings is offered by James:. The perception of bodily changes preparatory to action is at the core of somatic—visceral theories of emotion and emotional feeling as pioneered by James.

A century on from James, a number of somatic—visceral theorists that broadly fall into the discrete action program and motivation-grounded camps have put forward different accounts of the relation between feeling and: a conscious or unconscious perception, b emotions, and c action tendency. The precise causal and functional nature of the relation between conscious or unconscious emotional feelings and actions and action tendencies, however, requires recourse to the underlying neural dynamics that may permit a representational substrate on which such feelings can manifest.

However, depending on the theorist in question, feelings may be thought of as conscious or unconscious, and may be synonymous with, or separable from, emotions. The Jamesian view on feelings is that they are synonyms for emotions and thus not separable see Prinz, for discussion ; they are also consciously experienced. Firstly, Damasio views feelings and emotions as separable, distinct phenomena.

Simply, emotions are about action programs see previous sub-section. Emotional feelings, on the other hand, are primarily perceptions of action commands or programs:. However, whilst Damasio does not contend that feelings need be conscious, Prinz views them as experiential. Finally, for Prinz, similar to James, perceptions are emotions which, as stated above, differs from Damasio:. Notwithstanding these contentions, a perspective that unites discrete action program theorists is that emotional feelings can be engendered and modulated by bodily feedback.

Emphases of modern theorists, however, diverge with respect to the extent to which proprioceptive and interoceptive processes are involved. Ekman has focused on the role of proprioceptive feedback 6 initially embraced by James but later subordinated to interoceptive feedback especially in facial expression: forcing oneself to smile can literally make one happier. Prinz , , on the other hand, emphasizes interoception as a means of somatic feeling constitution. Similar to James and Laird , Prinz views the bodily state changes intrinsic to the emotion as preceding the feeling state which are then registered and represented in neural states.

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The theory proposed by Nico Frijda where appraisal leads to action tendencies is another example. The precise causal and functional nature of the relation between conscious or unconscious emotional feelings and actions and action tendencies, however, requires recourse to the underlying neural dynamics that may permit a representational substrate on which such feelings can manifest. Theories of emotion pp. Psychologists have used methods such as factor analysis to attempt to map emotion-related responses onto a more limited number of dimensions. Martin Seligman: A Little Background Born in , Seligman is credited as the father of Positive Psychology and its efforts to scientifically explore human potential. Delany in the Catholic Encyclopedia defines anger as "the desire of vengeance" and states that a reasonable vengeance and passion is ethical and praiseworthy. Emotional feeling states and their constituents are notoriously difficult to track using standard neuroscientific and psychological methods.

In the case of 3 , Damasio suggests in certain instances the brain can be duped into misrepresenting the body and ECS-induced changes therein. Many motivation-grounded emotion theorists have considered the relation among action, action tendency and feeling emotional components. Frijda suggests, contra Damasio, that tendency to act rather than acting per se is at the heart of emotional experience:. Cacioppo et al. In the case of 3 , an ANS-activated pattern of somatic and visceral change may be ambiguous, i.

In relation to the previous sub-section, it is incumbent on this review to illuminate how the felt action tendency corresponds to neural-dynamic activity. A key question, in line with the above-mentioned perspective of Prinz , is: to what extent can neural-dynamic activity be considered representative of the underlying action tendency?

According to the philosopher Dretske , for a phenomenon to count as representational it must be fallible. The point made here is that for a neural pattern to constitute a representation of action tendency that is a substrate for feelings, it should have the purpose of e. Essentially, the feeling neural pattern would comprise an effective and fallible prediction of what action tendency will occur following emotion event triggers.

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From the point of view of minimizing error, a parsimonious representation of action tendency is desirable where it is sufficient to distinguish functional i. Naturally, a corollary of holding this perspective is that the discrete action program position postulating relatively high dimensional ANS specificity for basic emotions may be subject to great potential for misclassification of somatovisceral patterns 7.

An alternative view of emotions is that they can indeed be captured according to just a few dimensions. Christie and Friedman, However, it has been noted that two dimensions may be insufficient to account for differences in particular negative emotions, e. The approach—withdrawal dimension has been championed by Davidson , Watson et al. The three dimensions of Russell and Mehrabian — pleasantness, arousal, dominance — referred to as PAD, is a convenient acronym for referencing valence, arousal, and orientation approach—withdrawal dimensions.

The fact that these three dimensions, that appear necessary and sufficient to discriminate among the basic emotions, have been extrapolated according to factor analyses using self-report measures is indicative of their importance in emotion and, more speculatively, in conscious or unconscious feeling. As mentioned in the previous sub-section with reference to the work of Cacioppo et al. Insofar as these neural-dynamic patterns should be considered representational, the feelings would come to represent somatovisceral states over the emotion episode.

Whether such a dynamic process should be considered representational, however, is arguable given the purported brain—body transformative nature of the somatovisceral state. It may be more confidently asserted that the nascent feeling state represents valenced motive states cf. Frijda, or core affective phenomena that is then elaborated into fuller emotional bodily and feeling states the constituent activity of which being distributed across brain and body. On the other hand, whether or not a feeling state comes to represent somatovisceral activity may depend on whether a self-organized process, such as that inherent to Cacioppo et al.

As previously mentioned, Lewis has posited such an emotion episode whereby following an emotion trigger, emotion—cognition components integrate in a self-amplification process culminating in a stable state. Stability may thereafter allow for persistent action orientations and availability of learning affordances. In this view, stability is a critical pre-condition to higher cognitive and behavioral activity.

It may also be a requisite feature of a full or functional emotional response. Stable activation patterns may not just be a self-organized outcome of emotion—cognition component integration but a pre-condition to further integration of those somatovisceral afferents whose temporal dynamics manifest on a slower time scale to emotion-relevant neural—cognitive processing. It is such stability that may lay the foundation for functional representations — in the sense of Dretske — of action tendency.

The DS perspective of Scherer, broadly, exemplifies the above view. In this sense, action tendency and feelings have a bidirectional relation in the emotion episode but feeling simultaneously monitors and participates in the full emotion episode. Of what might the neurocomputational properties of stabilization dynamics 8 be comprised?

Stabilization dynamics have been mathematically and computationally formalized through the differential equations of Amari initially deployed to model the topographic spatial representations in the visual cortex according to neural fields. Dynamic field theory DFT has since been particularly noteworthy in capturing infant cognitive—behavioral phenomena cf. Thelen et al. However, it has also been posited to be of relevance to modeling emotional phenomena in the context of Bechara et al. The DFT approach has spawned a perspective on representations in the brain that map cognitive phenomena to continuous dimensions.

Stabilization occurs where activation on a given site on the field exceeds a given threshold consequent to local excitation the degree of which being determined by an interaction kernel. Fundamentally, self-stable states occur contingent on the presence of input. In this sense, there is a bistable attractor dynamic since activation will gravitate toward the stable suprathreshold level or to a baseline of activation as a function of input. On the other hand, self-sustainable states require initial input to achieve suprathreshold activity but stability is thereafter resistant to the withdrawal of the stimulus.

It is only the sites on a field that have suprathreshold activation that are considered units of representation cf. Nevertheless, activated sites on a field may be more or less subthreshold depending on memory inputs that effectively prime or predispose activation at particular sites. Since emotional states are generally postulated to require an ECS or event trigger whose offset withdrawal is antecedent to emotional dampening the more reasonable stabilization dynamic for emotional feelings is the self-stable state.

Experience of a self-sustainable state might pertain to one of a number of pathological conditions where following ECS input the agent fails to destabilize emotional feeling e. One could imagine an ontogenetically emergent attractor landscape that is comprised of multi- low- dimensional fields e. This attractor landscape could thereby suggest a mechanism to explain the Christie and Friedman result of continuous dimension—discrete emotion mapping.

The computational investigation of stability dynamics in the context of an emotion episode may unveil an important bridge between dimension theory and discrete emotion theory. Finally, at a neural—anatomic level of description, Lewis has cited the existence of interacting object evaluation , monitoring , and action loops centering on key hub neural structures, e.

LeDoux, ; Rolls, , ; Davidson et al. Damasio has identified convergence—divergence zones CDZs in the brain for neural exteroceptive, interoceptive, and proprioceptive maps the feeling substrate within the brain. Another key feature for promoting stabilization processes is phase synchronization 9. We start the section by providing a context of prediction as core to function of whole brain activity which thereby may generalize to emotional activity as captured by the action tendency — feeling relation. Some recent theories of core brain above all neocortical functioning have highlighted prediction as underlying neural and psychological processing.

Classical Artificial Intelligence methods have invoked listing all attributes of scenes in lookup tables which affords a processing technique — searching through the table of properties to find a match or optimal solution — which is not amenable to the processing of neurons, it would take far too long. Another reason for the necessity of prediction is functional. Tracking the trajectory of a ball, either purely visually or with respect to attempting to position oneself for catching, based solely on sensory feedback ensures failure at the task.

This is essentially an exteroceptive problem of the delay inherent in neural processing time with respect to the real-time dynamics of world events Downing also points out that basic locomotion requires prediction and that reliance on control theoretic techniques in engineering based only on sensory feedback ensures a mismatch between motor capabilities and processing speed. The focus of Hawkins, following Mountcastle , , has been on sensory and motor primarily exteroceptive and proprioceptive processing. However, Hawkins argues that all neocortical brain function deals in the currency of prediction:.

Visual areas make predictions about edges, shapes, objects, locations, and motions. Auditory areas make predictions about tones, direction to source, and patterns of sound. Hawkins has proposed that hierarchically structured layers of cortical columns receive a combination of bottom-up, top-down, and lateral inputs. The latter inputs are critical to producing a type of attentional winner-take-all effect whilst the top-down versus bottom-up processing establishes a comparison between a high-level invariant prediction of the contextual nature of the stimulus processing at a particular level of abstraction relative to the hierarchy which is compared against bottom-up inputs from a number of cortical column inputs that feed back specific details relevant to the stimulus processing.

Predictive error signals can occur where the processed details do not meet with the high-level contextual expectations and such signals are then sent up the hierarchy with the hippocampus sitting atop of the cortical hierarchy as the predictive beacon in order to establish whether the input detail can fit within a broader higher level context.

Thalamocortical loops are understood to be a key means by which such predictions can occur and be updated through ongoing sensorial feedback and allow for predictions of sequences of states cf. Rodriguez et al. Hesslow , has argued, that sequences of sensory perceptual states and also motoric activations involve internal simulation of overt behavior that constitute ever more distal forms of prediction of consequences of sensory and motoric activity as an organism relates to its environment see also Jeannerod, In a similar vein to Damasio , regarding simulation of the interoceptively processed body, motor structures may be activated in the absence of overt expression as may sensory cortex in the absence of external sensory stimulation.

Simulation has also been invoked as a concept to explain predicting sequences of sensory states according to a dynamic systems DS perspective Friston and Kiebel, and in the context of predicting social situations inferring intentionality of others from behaviors. The predictive coding hypothesis Friston, , ; see also Kilner et al.

Within this framework it is proposed that states e. Another difference is that predictive coding does not signify forecasting i. Prinz, but rather refers to predictions of current states based on present information. Similar to Hawkins, on the other hand, is the notion that higher levels of the cortical hierarchy represent, or come to represent , predictions in lower levels of the hierarchy. In the predictive coding framework, predictions from lower levels of the hierarchy can feed back to higher levels and update existing predictions.

This self-organization prediction—feedback process only stabilizes at the point at which PE minimization is achieved and probable goal state can be inferred from action input. Prediction error minimization appears to be a key mechanism for all forms of learning. Theoretically well grounded learning rules have been established providing normative models i.

The biological background

TD learning can explain much animal neurobehavioral data e. Seymour et al. Above all, dopamine DA is implicated in reward and action signaling cf. It has been suggested that the two types of signal may provide the key outputs of an opponent process system e. It might be speculated that these signals parsimoniously provide compressed information to feeling representational networks concerning affective state as rooted in reinforcement contingencies. According to Sterling , allostasis can be conceived in terms of prediction where brain areas implicated in planning and decision making for Sterling, above all prefrontal cortex and amygdala are viewed as supplying inputs that may override other inputs that signal errors from ideal homeostatic balance.

In this section, we make explicit a potential role for prediction in the emotional feeling of action tendency. The position we put forward is extrapolated according to the review provided in the previous sections. We postulate that somatovisceral prediction—feedback loops are essential for ongoing learning and online behavior across an emotion episode. Stable suprathreshold activation in a neural-dynamic substrate is suggested to provide a critical foundation on which prediction—feedback loops can operate.

Subthreshold activation may come to represent through self-stabilization action tendency following a strong predictions of action tendency, or b in the absence of relative certainty, according to bodily feedback given appropriate priming at neural activity registration sites. We will discuss it in relation to emotion regulation in the remainder of this section. To what extent can emotional feelings be viewed as being based on predictions of action and action tendency?

The idea of emotional feelings predicting behaviors is implicit in many perspectives. The Damasio and Bechara perspective on emotions and emotional feelings also may be interpreted in terms of prediction. The above, arguably, combines, and extends perspectives put forward by Laird and Prinz concerning the functions of emotional feelings.

For Laird, neural-dynamic represented bodily states provide a means for comparing predicted and actual feedback states as a type of cybernetics control process. For Prinz, stable representations or stabilized activation states that come to represent the body allow for tracking of core relational themes via filtering noisy sensory input. The ECS is perceived e. Brain areas implicated in evaluating the significance of the stimulus e.

The first sites to be activated in the brain-stem register coarse feeling activation patterns and those in turn activate parts of the brain e. However, by this stage, in accordance with the as-if body loop hypothesis, the more context-based feeling states have already been triggered by the ECS evaluation sites. This means an early, contextual prediction of body state can be constructed while input from coarse patterns in the brain-stem constitutive of early stages of body change registrations provide 1 , a coarse prediction—feedback loop, and 2 , the initial phases of feedback control to the contextual prediction—feedback loop in the cortex.

Bodily feedback can be seen as an ongoing process of comparing neurally registered body states to actual body states. This allows the organism access to an embodied dynamic comprising a representation of a prediction of how its body will be perturbed by the perceived ECS.

Adapted from Lowe and Ziemke However, it may be the case that subthreshold activation exists in body registering brain sites. Such activity comes to represent the body to the extent that it moves to a suprathreshold state, e. The ATPFL explanation suggests, therefore, that the as-if body loop, consistent with Damasio, is functional in situations of relative certainty concerning the relation of the ECS to the agent whereas uncertainty requires bodily feedback a type of somatic marker.

The straight answer is it affords efficient emotion regulation. Where activation is subthreshold, the primary response might be better described in terms of an AND gate such that somatovisceral feedback, insofar as it matches primed activation sites on the field, may only induce suprathreshold activation. In the latter case, the uncertain unlearned situation requires bodily feedback to disambiguate the emotional context cf. Damasio, Model of emotional sensitivity versus emotional regulation: taken from Koole The emotional episode may be viewed as a neural-dynamic representation our argument where the primary reaction serves as the prediction of the emotion state and may become stabilized depending on the strength of the prediction.

Stabilization would thus occur following some parameterized suprathreshold activation and at such a point activation may impact on behavioral and cognitive systems over an emotion episode. Weaker predictions may not be stabilized.

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In either case, feedback from the secondary reaction may lead to down- or up-regulation self-amplification, also see Lewis, Frijda has suggested that the value of emotional feeling is in its social behavioral and homeostatic predictive and regulatory effects. From the perspective of social behavioral predictive regulation, emotional feeling furnishes the organism with information concerning the social acceptability of a particular action.

For example, aggression might provide short-term benefits concerning the weakening of a perceived competitor but at the cost of social respect and possible previously existing friendship. Down-regulating dampening emotional activity associated with inappropriate action may therefore be a useful option consequent to an ability to represent feel the emotion as action tendency. From the perspective of homeostatic regulation, Frijda points to the predictive importance of behavior availability.

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Behaviors that tend to be evoked by particular emotions, e. The competitor may be perceived as physically too strong, or the perceiving organism may be fatigued. Again, down-regulating the emotion or otherwise modulating the emotion may be appropriate in such circumstances. Moreover, an emotion episode rooted in a tendency to act reduces the capacity and speed with which cognitive—behavioral programs — that concern more deliberative processing, e. On the basis of the above discussion, regulation of emotion state occurring through ongoing prediction—feedback loops of motivation-grounded action tendency across an emotion episode seems apt.

We suggested that, emotional feelings rooted in such a neural-dynamic representational substrate, provide the foundation on which ongoing prediction—feedback loops can operate. Using the ATPFL position we may accommodate and even reconcile perspectives previously referred to in this article. Koole, In the case of 1 overestimation, following learning, a particular ECS could induce a pattern of activation in areas of the brain that enable representation of action tendencies i. The bodily response invoked by the trigger brain areas, however, will not exactly reproduce the predicted action tendency.

It may be overestimated by the neural-dynamic representation according to availability of energetic or skeletomusculature resources — the organism may be fatigued through lack of sleep, nutrition, water, or intense physical activity. The mismatch error may then serve to down-regulate the action tendency. This will occur in the case of lack of resources and provoke the recruitment of other cognitive and behavioral programs following termination, or redirection e.

In the case of 2 underestimation, the relationship between the organism and the ECS may not have been well learned and consequently the bodily response that is activated may be stronger than that which is anticipated in the neural representation. In this case, consistent with Damasio cf.

Bechara and Damasio, , the body guides decision making where outcomes are uncertain or not well learned.

Emotions Decisions and Behavior Across the Life Span: Surprises from Social Psychology

Such activity may lead to a relative loss of volitional control cf. Such error-triggered activation might be viewed in terms of a secondary emotional response Koole, leading to a down-regulation of emotional activity in order to reassert volitional control. This would precipitate up-regulation at the secondary response constrained, nevertheless, by availability and acceptability concerns.

All labels and arrows in gray are additions to the original diagram of Sterling The primary emotional response concerns a prediction emotional feeling that may override homeostatic set points — make less sensitive to negative error — in order that metabolic resources may be recruited, e. At such a point a secondary emotional response ensues regulation, cf. Koole, where up- or down-regulation of the action tendency occurs and prediction may be updated. For example, negative feedback would lead to down-regulation of emotional response and the prediction schema being updated such that set points are not so desensitized in the future.

This, however, may also be overridden by higher contextual levels of processing. The ATPFL is, therefore, best apprehended as an allostatic regulatory mechanism since neural patterns representative of anticipated body states also exert a top-down modulatory effect as in allostasis. In the previous section, the notion of emotional feeling as a predictive mechanism in a dynamically realized control system, an ATPFL, was proposed.

Time and efficiency of processing according to invocation of cognitive and behavioral programs.

We then suggested that this perspective could be adapted in order to posit a functional role of feeling in the context of predicting action tendency. In order to make clearer still the importance of the two above points to organismic adaptivity and viability functionality , we discuss emotions and emotional feelings in relation to point 2.

The pertinence of goal-directed behavior in emotion regulation has been interpreted in terms of feedback, above all, in the service of learning, e.

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Curious Emotions. Roots of consciousness and personality in motivated action Action-initiating centers deep in the emotional brain ground our understanding. Curious Emotions: Roots of consciousness and personality in motivated action ( Advances in Consciousness Research) [Ralph D. Ellis] on ykoketomel.ml *FREE* .

In the view of Baumeister et al. Essentially, goal-directed behavior refers to outcome expectation based on plans arrived at through deliberative processing cf. Daw et al. This is to be distinguished from habitual activity — largely stimulus-driven behavior that, unlike goal-directed behavior, is relatively inflexible following changes in reinforcement outcomes cf. Goal-directed behavior is also to be distinguished from impulsive activity Frijda, which: 1 comprises automatic emotional responses that are unconscious, 2 occurs at an early and possibly premature contextual processing stage e.

Many researchers consider emotion functionality in terms of states elicited following interrupts on goal-directed behavior Simon, ; Toda, ; Oatley and Johnson-Laird, ; Rolls, ; Kreibig et al. For Rolls, different emotions are elicited by different primary and secondary reinforcers. The specific reinforcement contingency RC also determines the particular triggered emotion. This perspective might also be extended to incorporate more fully the notion of prediction.

Anger, on this basis, may be seen as a state elicited by the omission of a positive reinforcer predicted to occur at a certain point in time, i. Happiness and fear, on the other hand, are states elicited by positive and negative reinforcers, respectively, according to time-sensitive learned expectations. Reinforcement—contingent emotional dimensional models. Right: adaptation of Boureau and Dayan model step 1 and step 2, and red arrows denoting step transitions have been added. The Rolls model can be mapped onto the Boureau and Dayan model where activation spans outward from the origin center and cuts across the diagonals of the four quadrants in the Boureau and Dayan model.

Curious Emotions

These mechanisms were considered to allow organisms to achieve a number of goals whilst simultaneously meeting urgent needs in real-time. More recently, work by Lowe et al. Lowe et al. This is true of the elaborated action tendencies that are seen to underlie emotions. For example, as Ekman points out, when we are angry we tend to feel a rush of blood in our upper arms and torso, presumably preparing us for an aggressive response approach tendency appropriate, for example, to neutralizing the obstacle to our present goal s.