5-2 | The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions

Book Review

The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions

Jaak Panksepp and Lucy Biven
New York: W. W. Norton, 2012. Foreword, contents, images, references, index. 592 pp. $45.26 cloth. ISBN: 9780393705317

by Sergio M. Pellis

First Paragraph:

This book builds on several decades of work by neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp that attempts to establish a scientific basis for the study of emotion. Panksepp’s research involves the direct manipulation of the brain, which means his principal subjects are necessarily nonhuman animals. Panksepp’s core finding is that for many of the basic emotions we recognize, from rage to joy, specific brain circuits regulate the behavioral and physiological expressions we associate with these emotions. Moreover, these brain circuits primarily reside in the more primitive parts of the brain and are organized in the same manner in the rat brain as they are in the human brain. That is, all mammals, and maybe all animals, share a set of emotional systems. But, caught in entrenched intellectual traditions, students of both human and non-human animals resist the implications of these brain-based findings.