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

by Jaak Panksepp
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 30, 2004 019517805X 978-0195178050 1
Some investigators have argued that emotions, especially animal emotions, are illusory concepts outside the realm of scientific inquiry. However, with advances in neurobiology and neuroscience, researchers are demonstrating that this position is wrong as they move closer to a lasting understanding of the biology and psychology of emotion. In Affective Neuroscience, Jaak Panksepp provides the most up-to-date information about the brain-operating systems that organize the fundamental emotional tendencies of all mammals. Presenting complex material in a readable manner, the book offers a comprehensive summary of the fundamental neural sources of human and animal feelings, as well as a conceptual framework for studying emotional systems of the brain. Panksepp approaches emotions from the perspective of basic emotion theory but does not fail to address the complex issues raised by constructionist approaches. These issues include relations to human consciousness and the psychiatric implications of this knowledge. The book includes chapters on sleep and arousal, pleasure and fear systems, the sources of rage and anger, and the neural control of sexuality, as well as the more subtle emotions related to maternal care, social loss, and playfulness. Representing a synthetic integration of vast amounts of neurobehavioral knowledge, including relevant neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and neurochemistry, this book will be one of the most important contributions to understanding the biology of emotions since Darwins The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals

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Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions (Series in Affective Science) + The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology) + The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation (Norton Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology)
Price for all three: $132.91

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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 representation 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 is at Medical College of Ohio at Toledo.

Product Details

  • Series: Series in Affective Science
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA; 1 edition (September 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019517805X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195178050
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #415,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's one of the first December 7, 1999
By A Customer
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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41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Foundation, Despite Its Age 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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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
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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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great survey text June 16, 2006
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Take your thinking to the next level
I’ll try to add some new observations on this excellent work. It is written from the perspective of a philosopher-scientist; not in the English-American style of “if it can’t be... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Grover Diehl
5.0 out of 5 stars an exceptional book
I wanted to take a moment and make note of this exceptional book. I read a plethora of scientific literature, and with few exceptions, these books and papers are written in the... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rich Norman
5.0 out of 5 stars Instructive
Great book, very formative and inatructive. Lays a good foundation for understanding of this subject. Easy and enjoyable to read.
Published 14 months ago by Guajiro Jarocho
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous!
I bought this book to read with a friend. She is an expert in this field and I am a hobbiest.
While we never had our discussion sessions about it... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Shari Berkowitz
4.0 out of 5 stars Chock Full of Ideas
Like that other highly inquisitive and perceptive reviewer, I came to purchase this book after reading about 'laughing rats' in a science magazine. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Seeking prof..
5.0 out of 5 stars remarkable work
Remarkable in its breadth and creativity, offering many insights and possible explanations. There is much of Panksepp freely available on the Internet, however, this can be... Read more
Published 21 months ago by christopher
4.0 out of 5 stars Great condition
The book I received was in good condition, as advertised. It also arrived quite promptly, which was necessary because I needed it for a course.
Published on October 15, 2011 by Angela
5.0 out of 5 stars Un equalled.
I have taught clinical neuroscience for 10 years to medical students and psychiatrists.They all love this lucid, informative and clinically relevant book-above all others. Read more
Published on January 17, 2011 by Michael Goldstein
3.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial, but flawed
As noted by other reviewers, this book does a laudable job covering a broad range of material. It is a comprehensive look at the neural underpinning of emotions. Read more
Published on October 25, 2010 by Steven Matthias
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I can't personally vouch for this product, but I bought it as a gift for my father who is a psychologist, and he's VERY happy with it. Read more
Published on July 20, 2010 by Mau
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