How Primary-Process Emotional Systems Guide Child Development: Ancestral Regulators of Human Happiness, Thriving, and Suffering

All mammals share homologous primary-process emotional circuits, verified by the capacity of artificial activation of these systems to mediate “rewarding ” and “punishing ” effects in humans and other animals. These systems (SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, and PLAY) mediate social functions. These bottom-up primal emotional networks are fundamental for emotional reinforcement processes that regulate secondary-process learning and memory and lead to a diversity of higher cognitive functions, which, primarily via neural plasticity and learning, provide various top-down regulatory factors for emotional homeostasis as well as amplification of psychic disturbances. Many of the interminable controversies in psychological emotions studies may be due to different investigators focusing on different levels of organization within these multitiered levels of circular causality. A better understanding of the emotional primes can help guide the development of coherent new ways to optimize child development. © Oxford University Press 2013. All rights reserved.

All mammals share homologous primary-process emotional circuits, verified by the capacity of artificial activation of these systems to mediate “rewarding ” and “punishing ” effects in humans and other animals. These systems (SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, and PLAY) mediate social functions. These bottom-up primal emotional networks are fundamental for emotional reinforcement processes that regulate secondary-process learning and memory and lead to a diversity of higher cognitive functions, which, primarily via neural plasticity and learning, provide various top-down regulatory factors for emotional homeostasis as well as amplification of psychic disturbances. Many of the interminable controversies in psychological emotions studies may be due to different investigators focusing on different levels of organization within these multitiered levels of circular causality. A better understanding of the emotional primes can help guide the development of coherent new ways to optimize child development. © Oxford University Press 2013. All rights reserved.

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