Mirrors and feelings: Have you seen the actors outside?

Primary-process experiences, both raw affects and perceptions, are self-creating processes, and the associated motoric-action tendencies serve survival values, providing the raw materials for learning. Actions seem to play a key role in providing ‘meaning’ for the primary sensations and associated feelings. We suggest, that one important type of action are those that can promote on-going maintenance of sensory invariance, especially when other actions would remove animals from their affective comfort zones. The epigenetic determinants of such developmentally emerging states of ‘feeling’, especially when the alternatives are experienced as aversive or threatening, arise from these sensory invariant principles. In accordance with this view, a number of recent studies also suggest that experiences require reproducible neuronal response patterns to sensory stimuli to gain ‘meaning’ or conscious awareness of sensory states. We demonstrate some of these aspects by a standard precocial avian model of social attachment. The behaviour of isolated chicks in a polarized maze effectively reveals motoric patterns that serve the establishment of perceptual invariance. Chicks actively and spontaneously seek for and explore ways to maintain invariance of internal affective-perceptual states. In the following work, we summarize behaviour patterns that display the ongoing dynamics of internal states as newborn chicks seek proximity to other friendly beings in the world, in this case, the ‘actor outside’ that is used to access this process is their own mirror image. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Primary-process experiences, both raw affects and perceptions, are self-creating processes, and the associated motoric-action tendencies serve survival values, providing the raw materials for learning. Actions seem to play a key role in providing ‘meaning’ for the primary sensations and associated feelings. We suggest, that one important type of action are those that can promote on-going maintenance of sensory invariance, especially when other actions would remove animals from their affective comfort zones. The epigenetic determinants of such developmentally emerging states of ‘feeling’, especially when the alternatives are experienced as aversive or threatening, arise from these sensory invariant principles. In accordance with this view, a number of recent studies also suggest that experiences require reproducible neuronal response patterns to sensory stimuli to gain ‘meaning’ or conscious awareness of sensory states. We demonstrate some of these aspects by a standard precocial avian model of social attachment. The behaviour of isolated chicks in a polarized maze effectively reveals motoric patterns that serve the establishment of perceptual invariance. Chicks actively and spontaneously seek for and explore ways to maintain invariance of internal affective-perceptual states. In the following work, we summarize behaviour patterns that display the ongoing dynamics of internal states as newborn chicks seek proximity to other friendly beings in the world, in this case, the ‘actor outside’ that is used to access this process is their own mirror image. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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