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What organ causes us to feel emotion?

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Our nervous system causes us to feel physical things. If it weren't for our nerves, our bodies would be numb like novocaine; case in point, paraplegics.

 

But, what causes us to feel emotion? Like, if it weren't for this organ, we would probably be Vulcans.

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The brain itself, among with some parts of the spinal cord, releases hormones and signal molecules like serotonine, adrenaline, dopamine, etc. Those can have a physical and a psychological effect. I.E. adrenaline causes your heartbeat to rise, to prepare for a fight of flee reaction.

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Our nervous system causes us to feel physical things. If it weren't for our nerves, our bodies would be numb like novocaine; case in point, paraplegics.

 

But, what causes us to feel emotion? Like, if it weren't for this organ, we would probably be Vulcans.

The earliest evidence for the production of an emotion in brain structure was suggested by decerebrate study of cats that produced rage postures with portion of the hypothalamus as the only remaining hierarchal structure in the brain cavity after surgery. As the center of our primary drives, the hypothalamus is likely most critical to the production of all emotional behaviors. However, amygdalectomy in primates have produced the strongest evidence for the amygdala as the center of fear responses and social behavioral activity possibly driven by fear. I hope this helps.

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The earliest evidence for the production of an emotion in brain structure was suggested by decerebrate study of cats that produced rage postures with portion of the hypothalamus as the only remaining hierarchal structure in the brain cavity after surgery. As the center of our primary drives, the hypothalamus is likely most critical to the production of all emotional behaviors. However, amygdalectomy in primates have produced the strongest evidence for the amygdala as the center of fear responses and social behavioral activity possibly driven by fear. I hope this helps.

That would be interesting if you could switch off human brains except for the hypothalamus and see the resulting behavior. What other emotions would be expressed by a human with hypothalamus only?

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That would be interesting if you could switch off human brains except for the hypothalamus and see the resulting behavior. What other emotions would be expressed by a human with hypothalamus only?

Well, we don't have to switch off other brain areas, we simply have to evaluate cases--and we have--involving hypothalmic injury or disorder in humans. The behavioral aberrance we observe through these cases should suggest whether or what the hypothalamus contributes to our behaviors.

Edited by DrmDoc

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respond

 

 

I think it's completely the brain, the parallel processor.

parallel -> In split brain experiment we see two different personalities and separate willings. Every region 've its own duties. So when we touch with electrots and stimuli them we get what it corresponds to. So we get the brain map. Like phantom organs we don't have to have the organ its just the brains calculation. (Creating a dynamic representative model of what it's)

 

releases hormones and signal molecules like serotonine, adrenaline, dopamine, etc.

 

They play role. The role is they adjust the weights of nodes,maybe threshold of soma and stimulies it.

 

But at the end of the day they all become digital gates or 0,1 yes or not.

 

I thing feeling is representing what's outside and telling the motor cortex move it its hot through a channel automatically. We thing we do it but there is a casual background. Things are decided before we consciously aware of our decide.

 

SOo so I think -| brain

 

But, what causes us to feel emotion?

 

We observe

where->in the brain

what->brain

why->random genetic changes were selected that way over time

but we don't know how completely yet.

Edited by emrekanca

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Well, we don't have to switch off other brain areas, we simply have to evaluate cases--and we have--involving hypothalmic injury or disorder in humans. The behavioral aberrance we observe through these cases should suggest whether or what the hypothalamus contributes to our behaviors.

I would think that when one part of the brain is damaged, other parts take over the lost functions to some degree. I find it hard to imagine that different parts of the brain are so specialized and independent of each other that they can't adapt to other functions when needed.

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I would think that when one part of the brain is damaged, other parts take over the lost functions to some degree. I find it hard to imagine that different parts of the brain are so specialized and independent of each other that they can't adapt to other functions when needed.

 

To a degree, nature and nurture both shape our brains to a large degree. But there are cases where damage to a certain part of the brain will cause you to lose the function of that part irrevocably. It is true that the brain is extremely malleable with regards to certain things (see stroke victims or people with split hemispheres) but if every part could perform the function of every other part, there would not have been a need for the brain to become as highly organised as it did.

 

In keeping with the original question, I file in with what has already been said, with a mild distinction. The brain causes us to "experience" emotion, whereas the resulting effects the "feeling" thereof is due to several ancillary effects, such as hormones causing an increase in HR and BP and sensitising of the nerves. Muscles being relaxed or contracted depending on the emotion.

 

There have been cases where people have damage to certain parts of the brain, still recognise emotion and know which emotion they should be experiencing, but because the mind-body connection has been severed they don't "fee" them as we do.

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I would think that when one part of the brain is damaged, other parts take over the lost functions to some degree. I find it hard to imagine that different parts of the brain are so specialized and independent of each other that they can't adapt to other functions when needed.

What you are suggesting here applies to the plasticity of neocortical structure and function. The hypothalamus is a subcortical structure (brain stem) where we find more specilized function. The cortex is known to compensates for damage to cortical function and structure, which is why it can sustain considerable damage without causing death. The function of brain stem structures is more highly specialized, which is why damage to these structures often has fatal consequences. Emotional behaviors such as fear and rage have instinctual roots and are likely to reside in the more primitive segments of our central nervous system (CNS) because these instinct-based behaviors were likely more vital to the survival of ancestral animals than higher cognitive functions. Spinal cord aside, the brain stem is the most primitive segment of our CNS.

Edited by DrmDoc

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What you are suggesting here applies to the plasticity of neocortical structure and function. The hypothalamus is a subcortical structure (brain stem) where we find more specilized function. The cortex is known to compensates for damage to cortical function and structure, which is why it can sustain considerable damage without causing death. The function of brain stem structures is more highly specialized, which is why damage to these structures often has fatal consequences. Emotional behaviors such as fear and rage have instinctual roots and are likely to reside in the more primitive segments of our central nervous system (CNS) because these instinct-based behaviors were likely more vital to the survival of ancestral animals than higher cognitive functions. Spinal cord aside, the brain stem is the most primitive segment of our CNS.

So do you think 'lower' animals like fish, birds, insects, etc. are feeling fear and rage all the time or are there other emotional states they would be capable of experiencing with just the stem functions?

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So do you think 'lower' animals like fish, birds, insects, etc. are feeling fear and rage all the time or are there other emotional states they would be capable of experiencing with just the stem functions?

As what seems the general nature of emotions, fear and rage are behavioral responses to stimuli. Therefore, such animals may only experience those emotions when adequately stimulated. However, having a brain stem does not automatically confer emotions on a species. The brain stem appears to confer instinctual behaviors and animals with only brain stemlike structures likely react with the emotions we associate with instinctual behavior. Although brain stem function is the likely source of instinctual behaviors, cortical function enhances the mediation of those behaviors. It is the cortex that gives us the ability to mediate our fear, rage, hunger, and sexual desire in ways that can produce behavior more favorable to our immediate goals and circumstances. Through cortical function, we process our emotional responses with a consideration of consequences exceeding the instinctual needs or desires of the moment. Our cortex gives us the measure of cognition, forethought, and planning that has enabled our continual dominance of other instinctually driven species.

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As what seems the general nature of emotions, fear and rage are behavioral responses to stimuli. Therefore, such animals may only experience those emotions when adequately stimulated. However, having a brain stem does not automatically confer emotions on a species. The brain stem appears to confer instinctual behaviors and animals with only brain stemlike structures likely react with the emotions we associate with instinctual behavior. Although brain stem function is the likely source of instinctual behaviors, cortical function enhances the mediation of those behaviors. It is the cortex that gives us the ability to mediate our fear, rage, hunger, and sexual desire in ways that can produce behavior more favorable to our immediate goals and circumstances. Through cortical function, we process our emotional responses with a consideration of consequences exceeding the instinctual needs or desires of the moment. Our cortex gives us the measure of cognition, forethought, and planning that has enabled our continual dominance of other instinctually driven species.

It is interesting to think about what it would be like to experience emotions without all the other cortical function that makes cognition what it is. There seems to be a feedback loop during moments of fear or rage, for example, where emotions generate/stimulate corresponding thoughts and expressions, which in turn feed into the emotional escalation. If animals don't have the ability to generate fearful or enraged thought-patterns as a response to emotional-stimuli, I wonder what they in fact feel/experience. Obviously animals can flee quite easily, and they can also fight when necessary or when they want something badly. Do all such activity-responses require very little cortical activity? Do they feel more or less intense emotion while responding to stimuli because of their limited cortical/cognitive function?

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It is interesting to think about what it would be like to experience emotions without all the other cortical function that makes cognition what it is. There seems to be a feedback loop during moments of fear or rage, for example, where emotions generate/stimulate corresponding thoughts and expressions, which in turn feed into the emotional escalation. If animals don't have the ability to generate fearful or enraged thought-patterns as a response to emotional-stimuli, I wonder what they in fact feel/experience. Obviously animals can flee quite easily, and they can also fight when necessary or when they want something badly. Do all such activity-responses require very little cortical activity? Do they feel more or less intense emotion while responding to stimuli because of their limited cortical/cognitive function?

With just the brain stem, emotions are more about physical reactions to stimuli than cognitive recognition and assessment. For us, the experience of emotions without cortical function would be much like our experience of pain, wherein, the intensity of our reactions are immediate, instinctive, and correspond to the intensity of the pain experienced. The experience of emotions by more instinctually driven animals likely correspond to the intensity of the instinct-affecting influence; e.g., the greater a threat, the more intense the fight or flight response.

Edited by DrmDoc

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Two distinct issues are moving parallel to each other in this thread. The OP asks what organ(s) cause us to feel emotion, while the responses to this question generally address it by looking at the strategic anatomical choke-points whose ligation could cause us not to feel emotion. But to address the OP's question, you would have to respond by pointing the famous 'myth of cerebral location,' which points out that things we usually think of as concerning the brain or expressed by it actually depend in large part on input from the rest of the body. Thus the adrenal glands, the thyroid gland, and the sex glands all have a major impact on how the neurological system and its brain develop the conscious sensation of emotion. You could go even further and say that if the patient were semi-somnolent from a problem with pancreatic or renal function, his emotions would also be entirely different. In essence, there are few if any organs that do not make us feel emotion, either in their normal or pathological states.

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Two distinct issues are moving parallel to each other in this thread. The OP asks what organ(s) cause us to feel emotion, while the responses to this question generally address it by looking at the strategic anatomical choke-points whose ligation could cause us not to feel emotion. But to address the OP's question, you would have to respond by pointing the famous 'myth of cerebral location,' which points out that things we usually think of as concerning the brain or expressed by it actually depend in large part on input from the rest of the body. Thus the adrenal glands, the thyroid gland, and the sex glands all have a major impact on how the neurological system and its brain develop the conscious sensation of emotion. You could go even further and say that if the patient were semi-somnolent from a problem with pancreatic or renal function, his emotions would also be entirely different. In essence, there are few if any organs that do not make us feel emotion, either in their normal or pathological states.

Although our thyroid and sex glands may stimulate our emotions, their structure is not where emotion is perceived or experienced. Rather than a source or location of emotion, our adrenals activate in response to directives from our emotional centers. If the OP is asking about the location in the brain where emotional stimuli is received and where a response to that stimuli is initiated, that location is in the structures of the brain stem. Without the function structures like the amygdala and hypothalamus provide, our behaviors would likely be without emotional content.

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DrmDoc, are you saying lower animals like fish and reptiles do not show emotions? They certainly show behaviors that are consistent with emotions both with each other and toward humans. I've been keeping aquarium fish and some reptiles for almost 50 years now and fish do indeed display emotions as do reptiles or at least the behaviors we would associate with emotions...

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DrmDoc, are you saying lower animals like fish and reptiles do not show emotions? They certainly show behaviors that are consistent with emotions both with each other and toward humans. I've been keeping aquarium fish and some reptiles for almost 50 years now and fish do indeed display emotions as do reptiles or at least the behaviors we would associate with emotions...

Actually, I said:

 

As what seems the general nature of emotions, fear and rage are behavioral responses to stimuli. Therefore, such animals may only experience those emotions when adequately stimulated. However, having a brain stem does not automatically confer emotions on a species. The brain stem appears to confer instinctual behaviors and animals with only brain stemlike structures likely react with the emotions we associate with instinctual behavior. Although brain stem function is the likely source of instinctual behaviors, cortical function enhances the mediation of those behaviors. It is the cortex that gives us the ability to mediate our fear, rage, hunger, and sexual desire in ways that can produce behavior more favorable to our immediate goals and circumstances. Through cortical function, we process our emotional responses with a consideration of consequences exceeding the instinctual needs or desires of the moment. Our cortex gives us the measure of cognition, forethought, and planning that has enabled our continual dominance of other instinctually driven species.

Although our brains may be dissimilar to other animals, some do appear to engage behaviors suggestive of emotions.

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emotions and feelings in general are caused by inductive thinking.

 

in inductive thinking we suspend our disbelief momentarily to get a feel for how reasonable the idea seems.

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This raises the interesting problem stated by behaviorism: Although a lizard may look as if it is experiencing panic or excitement when it does certain things, is it really experiencing those sensations subjectively? We can never have direct evidence that this is so. Even with humans, the notion that other people are not just robots who are perfectly constructed to mimic apparently 'emotional' responses when the appropriate events occur, but that they don't actually inwardly feel anything, is only dispelled by a conventional ontological commitment to assume that other humans have the same inner experience that we do. For lizards and other creatures there is no such convention.

Edited by Marat

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This raises the interesting problem stated by behaviorism: Although a lizard may look as if it is experiencing panic or excitement when it does certain things, is it really experiencing those sensations subjectively? We can never have direct evidence that this is so. Even with humans, the notion that other people are not just robots who are perfectly constructed to mimic apparently 'emotional' responses when the appropriate events occur, but that they don't actually inwardly feel anything, is only dispelled by a conventional ontological commitment to assume that other humans have the same inner experience that we do. For lizards and other creatures there is no such convention.

The same could be said about whether lizards or other animals experience pain. Injury to some animals, including lizards, causes physical reactions and detectible levels of physiological changes suggestive of pain much like those suggestive of emotion, particularly fear. The greatest distinction between humans, lizards, and other animals, as I perceive, is our inability to interpret all the expressions of pain and emotion by other animals as we are able to interpret the expressions of our own. Although we are able to detect similar physiological and certain behavioral responses suggestive of humanlike emotion in other animals, we'd probably be more confident of those responses as emotion if they were accompanied by all the human markers of emotions--but they aren't, therefore, our only recourse is to rely on what the physical evidence suggests.

Edited by DrmDoc

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The key issue in what you say is in the phrase, "what the physical evidence suggests," since the physical evidence always offers us only a limited analogy with what goes into producing human emotions. Thus if we see a rush of adrenalin in a salamander in response to the near approach of a predatory bird, the fact that the salamander's brain is entirely different from our own limits the reliability of positing that the salamander 'feels' the same things we do in response to a comparable adrenal rush. Sure, the adrenal spike may be comparable, but the ultimate translator of that chemical change into internal states of consciousness corresponding to our own sensation of Angst is the brain, and here the disanalogy is great. Maybe what the salamander experiences, if we could get into its head and directly feel what it feels, is more like "Move quickly away from the approaching shadow of beak and wings," rather than "My God! I'm going to die!!"

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The key issue in what you say is in the phrase, "what the physical evidence suggests," since the physical evidence always offers us only a limited analogy with what goes into producing human emotions. Thus if we see a rush of adrenalin in a salamander in response to the near approach of a predatory bird, the fact that the salamander's brain is entirely different from our own limits the reliability of positing that the salamander 'feels' the same things we do in response to a comparable adrenal rush. Sure, the adrenal spike may be comparable, but the ultimate translator of that chemical change into internal states of consciousness corresponding to our own sensation of Angst is the brain, and here the disanalogy is great. Maybe what the salamander experiences, if we could get into its head and directly feel what it feels, is more like "Move quickly away from the approaching shadow of beak and wings," rather than "My God! I'm going to die!!"

However, with emotions, the issue is what the salamander is feeling rather than what it is thinking. Emotions aren't necessarily about words or some cognitive assessment, reasoning, or forethought of action or outcome. For example, fear, like pain, elicit instinctive physiological and behavioral responses that do not require an assessment of the experience beyond the instinctive responses associated with immediately avoiding or eliminating some perceived threat--like when we instinctively jump when surprised by loud noises. Instantly, we feel fear and respond, without thought, with behaviors distancing us from the noisy threat. There is no thought of dying or even of injury in the initial moments, just the drive to move away from some threat that has engaged our fight or flight instinct. It isn't until after our initial responses to the noise that we engage in the mental assessment processes we cannot adequatedly determine in other animals. With emotions, it isn't as much about thought processes as it is about the perceptions that drive our behavioral responses.

 

In my view, fear is both a behavioral response and behavioral drive. In your salamander example, what drives its behaviors is likely its perception of a threat, which produces all the physiological and cognitive changes essential to avoiding or eliminating that threat. Although we cannot definitively say that fear is among those motivating cognitive changes, we can evaluate the salamander's physiological changes while under threat, compare them to what we know of comparable changes in humans experiencing fear, and make a cogent assessment of what the threatened salamander might be feeling relative to humans.

Edited by DrmDoc

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It's certainly a subtle issue. I suspect that any fear over any length of time, beyond an instant response, is informed by the intellectual capacities of the subject experiencing fear. Thus a human sensing fear over any length of time would color the raw sensation from the adrenal stimulus with feelings of dread, awareness of consequence, a sense of mortality, etc., which would greatly augment the experience compared with that of a salamander, who would lack the conceptual adornment and its emotional consequences.

 

I remember once in an experimental lab someone had accidentally dropped a guinea pig, causing it to lose the capacity to control its back legs, which it dragged behind it. It was placed back in the cage and seemed stunned for a moment, but when feeding time arrived a few minutes later, it crawled towards the food, screeching in excitement, just as the other guinea pigs with it always did. I can't imagine that a human could override the negative emotions of being partially paralyzed a few moments before just because he was served a good meal.

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It's certainly a subtle issue. I suspect that any fear over any length of time, beyond an instant response, is informed by the intellectual capacities of the subject experiencing fear. Thus a human sensing fear over any length of time would color the raw sensation from the adrenal stimulus with feelings of dread, awareness of consequence, a sense of mortality, etc., which would greatly augment the experience compared with that of a salamander, who would lack the conceptual adornment and its emotional consequences.

 

I remember once in an experimental lab someone had accidentally dropped a guinea pig, causing it to lose the capacity to control its back legs, which it dragged behind it. It was placed back in the cage and seemed stunned for a moment, but when feeding time arrived a few minutes later, it crawled towards the food, screeching in excitement, just as the other guinea pigs with it always did. I can't imagine that a human could override the negative emotions of being partially paralyzed a few moments before just because he was served a good meal.

Although I agree that human cognition likely modifies the experience of emotions in ways that are distinctly human, that distinction may only apply to the thought and assessment processes subsequent to the initial stimuli rather than to the basal experience and instinctual effects suggested by the initial physiological and behavioral responses we share with other animals under similar emotional stimuli. Although we may interpret an animal's physiological changes and behavioral displays as emotional effects, we cannot presently determine whether that animal recognizes or interprets its experience as we do. Again, this is a distinction between what the animal may be feeling and what it may be thinking.

Edited by DrmDoc

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Is the line between 'feeling informed by thought' and 'thought itself reflecting on feeling' just a linguistic distinction or is there some measurable physical basis for it? If a conscious entity which is conceptually aware of its mortality feels lethal pain, is this pain experienced with an additional soupcon of terror because of the awareness that it can imply death, as opposed to the pure sensation of lethal pain in a salamander which has no notion of death?

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