Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions

By Jaak Panksepp | Go to book overview

to understand the natural eagerness that makes us the emotionally vibrant creatures that we are. This emotion is harder to visualize than the others, but we have tried to capture the essence of this pervasive emotional process in Figure 8.6.


AFTERTHOUGHT: Self-Stimulation and Dreaming

In the previous chapter, I focused on possible relationships between schizophrenia and dreaming. As we have now seen, there is also a credible linkage between schizophrenia and SS. Accordingly, one might predict that there is an intimate relationship between SS and dreaming. Indeed, interesting connections between the two have been found in REM-deprived animals. REM deprivation in rats leads to an increased sensitivity of the LH-SS system: Animals work at higher rates for lower current levels, as if REM deprivation sensitized the substrates of the SS system. 101 Conversely, it has also been found that allowing animals to self-stimulate for a few hours during the course of ongoing REM deprivation eliminates the need for subsequent REM recovery sleep. In other words, the drive for increased levels of REM following REM deprivation is apparently discharged by allowing animals to self-stimulate during the deprivation period.

It is noteworthy that schizophrenics also fail to exhibit compensatory elevations of REM sleep following imposed periods of REM deprivation. 102 Thus, there appears to be a fundamental relationship between the schizophrenic process and the neuropsychological (emo-

Figure 8.6 . The SEEKING system in action. (Adapted from photograph in Panksepp, 1989; see chap. 11, n. 5.)

tional?) discharge that occurs during both REM sleep and SS. These findings suggest that there may yet be considerable substance to psychodynamic theories that relate dreaming mechanisms to symbol- and realitycreating mechanisms of the brain. 103

Such findings also bring to mind old theories of the function of REM sleep, for example, that it provides a time for the discharge of excessive "bottled-up" psychic energies. 104 If we add to these observations the common speculation that there may be a fundamental relationship between REM sleep and schizophrenia, one is led to wonder whether the type of psychic discharge that occurs during SS might also help alleviate schizophrenic symptoms. Could one dissipate the excess energies of this system through various life activities? Could the symptoms of schizophrenia be alleviated simply by providing more outlets for the foraging tendencies of individuals? Can one dissipate SEEKING urges simply through new types of emotional exercises? Of course, speculative ideas such as these -- provocative products of brain SEEKING systems -- will remain without substance until they are evaluated through rigorous empirical studies.


*3*Suggested Readings

Le M. Moal, & Simon, H. ( 1991). Mesocorticolimbic dopaminergic network: Functional and regulatory roles. Physiol. Revs. 71:155-234.

Liebman, J. M., & Cooper, S. J. (eds.) ( 1989). The neuropharmacological basis of reward. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Olds, J. ( 1977). Drives and reinforcements: Behavioral studies of hypothalamic function. New York: Raven Press.

Panksepp, J. ( 1981). Hypothalamic integration of behavior: Rewards, punishments, and related psychological processes. In Handbook of the hypothalamus. Vol. 3, Part B, Behavioral studies of the hypothalamus ( P. J. Morgane & J. Panksepp, eds.), pp. 289-431. New York: Marcel Dekker.

Plutchik, R., & Kellerman, H. (eds.) ( 1986). Emotion: Theory, research, and experience. Vol. 3, Biological foundations of emotion. New York: Academic Press.

Rolls, E. T. ( 1975). The brain and reward. Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Routtenberg, A. (ed.) ( 1980). Biology of reinforcement: Facets of brain stimulation reward. New York: Academic Press.

Schultz, S. C., & Tamminga, C. A. (eds.) ( 1989). Schizophrenia: Scientific progress. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Valenstein, E. S. (ed.) ( 1973). Brain stimulation and motivation. Glenview, Ill.: Scott, Foresman.

Wauquier, A., & Rolls, E. T. (eds.) ( 1976). Brain-stimulation reward. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

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