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Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions (Series in Affective Science)

25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195096736
ISBN-10: 0195096738
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Editorial Reviews


"It is an invaluable reference for any neuroscientist interested in understanding the neurobiological basis of drives and emotions where the best information is contained in the animal literature. This is the strength of Panksepp's book which summarizes and references these data around clinically recognizable concepts making the information highly relevant to practicing clinicians." --Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences

"Jaak Panksepp presents a synopsis of animal research on emotion together with stimulating new ideas on the role and respresentation of emotion in humans and other mammals. It seemed clear to me that Panksepp's affective neuroscience can provide a valuable foundation to emotion research. These are not entirely new ideas, but by presenting them in a comprehensive text on the neuroscience of emotion, Panksepp constructs a strong defense against the not uncommon view that emotions are 'illusionary concepts outside the realm of scientific enquiry.' For this reason alone, Panksepp is to be congratulated. This is a powerful text that will make a lasting impression on emotion research in general. Panksepp has provided a much-needed review of the animal literature, together with fascinating new ideas on the nature of affective consciousness." -- Andy Calder, MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, UK

About the Author

Jaak Panksepp, Distinguished Research Professor of Psychobiology, Bowling Green State University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Series in Affective Science
  • Hardcover: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (August 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195096738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195096736
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 1.3 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 49 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the first books out there on this fairly new field, affective neuroscience. Most previous work has focused largely on behavioral studies of emotion. While these all have merit, the neural basis of emotion has a lot to contribute to our understanding of human emotions. More technical than "The Emotional Brain", by Joseph LeDoux, nevertheless, this book is comprehensive and still comprehendible. Covering all aspects of a neural basis of emotion from the evolutionary perspective to the most current scientific findings, if you want to know more about the relationship between emotion and the brain, read this book.
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Richard G. Petty on March 24, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It often astonishes me how many of my colleagues continue to argue that emotions are no more than simple reflexes that probably do not even exist in animals. Yet anyone who spends much time with animals constantly observes sophisticated reasoning and highly developed emotions. And it is difficult to try and reduce the sometimes devastating consequences of emotional disturbances in people with mood disorders to a series of reflexes.

Fortunately the understanding of the neurobiology of emotion has taken enormous strides in recent years. Jaak Panksepp, long regarded as one of the leaders in the field, gives us a wonderfully readable account of some of the neurological machinery that helps organize emotion in ALL mammals. For it is becoming clear that emotion is present in every mammal so far studied: even mice show evidence of emotion.

Panksepp includes discussion of arousal and of sleep: this one is of particular importance in the light of the increasing body of clinical work indicating that many mood disorders are secondary to disturbances of sleep, rather than sleep disorders being a consequence of mood disorders. He goes on to discuss systems involved in pleasure and fear, the sources of some forms of anger and rage. He is very good on the neural control of sexuality in animals, as well as the subtle emotions involved maternal care, social loss, and playfulness. The importance of these neurological systems in human beings remains an open question: humans are so astonishingly complex and have so many "extra" dimensions on their behavioral actions, that it is probably unwise to try and reduce these complex behaviors to the firing of groups of neurons.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By D. F. Watt on June 8, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
See my upcoming detailed review of this book in Journal of Consciousness studies, and in journal of Neuropsychiatry. Brilliant and groundbreaking work on the limbic, midbrain and diencephalic bases for emotion in the brain. Wide ranging, integrative, and a must-buy for any theorist, researcher and student struggling to understand role emotion plays in any global understanding of mind-brain. In years to come, this will undoubtedly be regarded as a classic work. Perhaps the best single synthesis of ideas about the neurobiological and psychological aspects of emotion available.


It's been over 15 years since my first exposure to Jaak's ideas in 1996. Affective Neuroscience, as I predicted, has become a classic work, and Jaak's view of emotion, organized in terms of its prototype states and subcortical architecture has been increasingly accepted, and supported by work in both animal and human clinical models. Part of Jaak's vision was to understand that affect programs had to be deeply woven into the mechanisms for conscious state - something that Damasio and I also believed as early as the mid-90's, when most thought consciousness could be modeled solely in terms of its sensory dimensions. Still the best single source summary on emotion and the brain.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
Panksepp's "Affective Neuroscience" represents a landmark text in this field. It is a concise and readable summary of the relevant science. Panksepp does a laudable job of collecting a wealth of research data, providing a theoretical integration for that data and presenting all of this in an accessible form. The text is aimed at seriously minded students - the level of detail would be off-putting to the casual reader who might be better off with Joseph LeDoux's "Emotional Brain" (though that book is centered mainly around the emotion of fear).

The book is broken up into three main sections. The first section offers a general conceptual background (including a nice review of relevant neuroanatomy, neurochemistry and neurophysiology), along with an outline of a coherent research strategy. Panksepp calls for a research program that unites behavioral, cognitive/psychological and neuroscientific approaches in the study of mind. While the subject of emotion is capable of being approached from several different levels of analysis, he holds that the brain-systems level represents a `gold standard'. Thus the majority of research presented in "Affective Neuroscience" has been gathered from animal research utilizing brain stimulation (electrical and chemical), as well as lesion studies. Relevant data from human experiments is also presented. One of the major advantages of animal experiments is that they permit for the use of invasive techniques and thus for causal links to be established as opposed to the correlational nature of human imaging studies.
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