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Emotion and Decision-making Explained$
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Edmund T. Rolls

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199659890

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659890.001.0001

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The functions of emotion: reward, punishment, and emotion in brain design

The functions of emotion: reward, punishment, and emotion in brain design

Chapter:
(p.45) 3 The functions of emotion: reward, punishment, and emotion in brain design
Source:
Emotion and Decision-making Explained
Author(s):

Edmund T. Rolls

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659890.003.0003

It is proposed that we are built to have emotions, and motivational states, because we (and many other animals) use rewards and punishers to guide or determine behaviour, and that this is a good design for a system built by genes where some of the genes are increasing their survival (reproductive success) by specifying the goals for behaviour. The emotions arise and are an inherent part of such a system because they are the states, typically persisting, that are elicited by rewards and punishers and stimuli associated with them, and that are the goals for instrumental actions. It is shown that this is a very adaptive way for evolution to design complex animals without having to specify the details of the behavioural responses, the actions, as it is much more flexible in an uncertain environment for responses and actions to be learned. Other functions of emotional states are also described.

Keywords:   adaptive value of emotions, value, reward, Punishers, gene, evolution

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