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Consciousness & Emotion

image of Consciousness & Emotion
ISSN 1566-5836
E-ISSN 1569-9706

<p> This journal was discontinued after volume 4 (2003), and continued as <a href="">Consciousness &amp; Emotion Book Series</a>.</p>

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  • The centrecephalon and thalamocortical integration: Neglected contributions of periaqueductal gray
    • Author: Douglas F. Watt
    • Source: Consciousness & Emotion, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2000, pages: 91 –114
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    • I have argued in other work that emotion, attentional functions, and executive functions are three interpenetrant global state variables, essentially differential slices of the consciousness pie. This paper will outline the columnar architecture and connectivities of the PAG (periaqueductal gray), its role in organizing prototype states of emotion, and the re-entry of PAG with the extended reticular thalamic activating system (“ERTAS”). At the end we will outline some potential implications of these connectivities for possible functional correlates of PAG networks that are just starting to be mapped. Overall, we will look at many lines of evidence that PAG should be conceptualized as a peri-reticular structure that has a foundational role in emotion, in generating the meaningful organization of behavior by the brain through prototype emotional states, and in allowing the various emotional systems to globally influence and tune both the forebrain and brainstem. Finally, we address implications of these concepts for what is currently understood about consciousness, underlining the need for somewhat more humility within consciousness studies about our current level of understanding of consciousness in the brain, combined with a deeper appreciation of the intrinsic connections between emotion and consciousness. One hopes that more concerted empirical interest in structures underneath the thalamus, combined with a deeper appreciation for the fundamental role that organismic and social value must have in bootstrapping awareness in the developing brain, would begin more widely to influence the fundamental lines of neuroscientific research in both emotion studies and consciousness studies.
  • The hot fringes of consciousness: Perceptual fluency and affect
    • Authors: Rolf Reber, and Norbert Schwarz
    • Source: Consciousness & Emotion, Volume 2, Issue 2, 2001, pages: 223 –231
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    • High figure-ground contrast usually results in more positive evaluations of visual stimuli. This may either reflect that high figure-ground contrast per se is a desirable attribute or that this attribute facilitates fluent processing. In the latter case, the influence of high figure-ground contrast should be most pronounced under short exposure times, that is, under conditions where the facilitative influence on perceptual fluency is most pronounced. Supporting this hypothesis, ratings of the prettiness of visual stimuli increased with figure-ground contrast under short exposure times (.3, 1, and 3 seconds, respectively). This positive influence of figure-ground contrast was eliminated under an exposure time of 10 seconds. We conclude that stimuli with high figure-ground contrast are more appealing because they are easier to process, not because high figure-ground contrast per se is a desirable attribute. We discuss this finding in the context of William James’ notion that the fringe of consciousness includes vague contextual feelings at the periphery of the focus of attention and suggest that perceptual fluency is one of these feelings.
  • The neuro-evolutionary cusp between emotions and cognitions: Implications for understanding consciousness and the emergence of a unified mind science
    • Author: Jaak Panksepp
    • Source: Consciousness & Emotion, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2000, pages: 15 –54
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    • The neurobiological systems that mediate the basic emotions are beginning to be understood. They appear to be constituted of genetically coded, but experientially refined executive circuits situated in subcortical areas of the brain which can coordinate the behavioral, physiological and psychological processes that need to be recruited to cope with a variety of primal survival needs (i.e., they signal evolutionary fitness issues). These birthrights allow newborn organisms to begin navigating the complexities of the world and to learn about the values and contingencies of the environment. Some of these systems have been identified and characterized using modern neuroscientific and psychobiological tools. The fundamental emotional systems can now be defined by the functional psychobiological characteristics of the underlying circuitries — characteristics which help coordinate behavioral, physiological and psychological aspects of emotionality, including the valenced affective feeling states that provide fundamental values for the guidance of behavior. The various emotional circuits are coordinated by different neuropeptides, and the arousal of each system may generate distinct affective/neurodynamic states and imbalances may lead to various psychiatric disorders. The aim of this essay is to discuss the underlying conceptual issues that must be addressed for additional progress in understanding the nature of primary process affective consciousness.
  • Damasio's Error?
  • An emotional-experiential perspective on creative symbolic-metaphorical processes
    • Authors: Isaac Getz, and Todd Lubart
    • Source: Consciousness & Emotion, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2000, pages: 283 –312
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    • Following some initial interrogations on the experiential and creative nature of symbolic-metaphorical processes (e.g. Gendlin, 1997a; Gruber, 1988) and some work on the production and interpretation of linguistically novel metaphors (e.g. Gibbs, 1994; Lakoff & Turner, 1989), we propose a new, ‘emotional-experiential’ perspective on creative metaphors — perhaps, the most historically and sociologically important type of symbolic constructions. The emotional-experiential perspective accounts for the production and interpretation of creative metaphors through idiosyncratic emotion-based associations. Introspective, laboratory, and illustrative case study evidence from several Western cultures is provided. Implications for broad issues concerning creative metaphor and symbolization are discussed.
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