Behind the Book "The Nature of the Beast: How Emotions Guide Us" by David J. Anderson
Does your dog get sad when you leave for the day? Does your cat purr because she loves you? Do bears attack when they're angry? You can't very well ask them.
In fact, scientists haven't been able to reach a consensus on whether animals even have emotions, like humans do, let alone how to study them. Yet studies of animal emotion are critical for understanding human emotion and mental illness.
While emotions are something that humans experience every day of our lives, we know relatively little about how our brains create them. While humans infer that animals also have emotions, especially the pets that we love, some studies argue that emotions – or at least emotional feelings – are something uniquely human, like the ability to make music, write poetry or perform mathematics.
Anderson describes a new way to look at the submerged part of the emotional iceberg – the non-conscious part – and to study whether and how it is produced by the brains of animals as diverse as mice and fruit flies. To do this, he deconstructs emotions into basic, biological building blocks, and investigates how these core features – or "emotion primitives:" -- control universal behaviors, such as fight and flight, in animals.
Join us live as author David J. Anderson and Psychology, Neuroscience and Biology Professor Ralph Adolphs discuss this fascinating subject, followed by Q&A.