Sunday, August 12, 2012

Joseph LeDoux -The Perplexing Relationship Between Emotions and Consciousness

This is Joseph LeDoux's talk at the Evolution and Function of Consciousness Conference ("Turing Consciousness 2012") held at the University of Montreal as part of Alan Turing Year. LeDoux is author of The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life (1998) and Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are (2001).

Joseph Ledoux - The Perplexing Relationship Between Emotions and Consciousness

Abstract: I propose a re-conceptualization of key phenomena important in the study of emotions - those phenomena that reflect functions and circuits related to survival, and that are shared by humans and other animals. The approach shifts the focus from questions about whether emotions that humans consciously feel are also present in other animals, and toward questions about the extent to which circuits and corresponding functions that are present in other animals (survival circuits and functions) are also present in humans. Survival circuit functions are not causally related to emotional feelings but obviously contribute to these, at least indirectly. The survival circuit concept integrates ideas about emotion, motivation, reinforcement, and arousal in the effort to understand how organisms survive and thrive by detecting and responding to challenges and opportunities in daily life.

LeDoux J. (2012). Rethinking the emotional brain. Neuron; 73(4): 653-76. (PDF is here)

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