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Based on the assumption that emotion is acquired, this article examines and analyzes the mental contents and neural basis of emotional experience and sensory feeling(e.g. pain, hunger,taste,smell and so on ) by referencing the existing theoretical viewpoints and experimental results. It is argued that emotional experience and sensory feeling are all the compound feelings that consist of cognitive representation(referring to all kinds of discriminative sensations and all kinds of mental representations based on them)and affect representation (only two conscious qualities, pleasure and displeasure that respectively carry the mental states of likes and dislikes,), and the affect representation is the core components of emotional experience. And then it is assumed that the core component of emotional experience,at the level of neural activity,originates from the conditioned response of the affect component of sensory feeling, based on the separability of cognitive representation and affect representation in emotional experience and sensory feeling as well as the homology in neural basis between the affect representations in emotional experience and in sensory feeling. And some specific performances of cognitive representation, affect representation in emotional experience, and related mental phenomena are discussed, from here it infers that objectification of affect (projects conscious qualities and liking or disliking states of affect onto the perception of body or outside object) is an important mental mechanism in emotional experience.

INTRODUCTION: For a long time, most psychologists believe that human is born with a few basic emotions(usually fear, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust, and interest),each basic emotion is a set of particular global response(including body arousal, subjective experience and behavior or action potential)generated by innately set independent brain devices that is genetically determined products of evolution(but is influenced also by experience), while some more complex emotions such as shame,pride and guilty may be the combinations of several basic emotions(e.g., Colombetti, 2009; Damasio, 1994; Damasio, 1999; Ekman,1980; Ekman, 2003; Izard & Malatesta, 1987; LeDoux, 1998; Tomkins, 1962). This view is, after all, just a theoretical assumptions, and some meta-analyses do not support that there are the specific brain structures that correspond to the different basic emotions(Murphy, Nimmo-Smith, & Lawrence, 2003;Phan, Wager, Taylor, & Liberzon, 2002). In the last decade, emotion psychologists Russell and Barrett have questioned the basic emotion view from the aspects of neuroscience,phenomenology,linguistics and so on(Barrett, 2006; Barrett, 2006b; Barrett, Mesquita, Ochsner, & Gross, 2007; Russell, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009; Russell & Barrett, 1999). They argue that the set of particular response of each typical emotion may be a stable pattern formed postnatally by some related responses that generate by different mechanisms, and believe that the progress in the science of emotion has been blocked by the basic emotion assumptions. They suggest that the core affect that consists of valence(pleasure-displeasure)and arousal constitutes the most basic building block of emotional life,and they are basic and primitive, while the emotion is produced from the attribution or conceptualization of core affect when the core affect change in the reaction to a event. And they argue that the task of emotion science is to make empirical researches and interpretations on the each component of emotion as well as the relationship between them.

I agree with Russell and Barrett’s basic view that emotions arise from acquired mechanism and their opinion about the task of emotion science. However, I think they interpret the core affect as basic and primitive building block of emotion which may pay too much attention to the correlation between valence and arousal, while ignoring that they may also arise from different mechanisms. In the first two chapters,this article examines and analyzes the mental content and neural basis of emotional experience and sensory feeling, and argue that they are both the compound feelings that consist of separable cognitive and affect representation which come from different sources (the “affect ” in this article refers only to valence or hedonic tone ; more explanation will be given later), believing that the affect representation is the core element of the emotional experience, and it and arousal arise from different mechanisms. The third chapter discusses the manifestation and the relevant mental phenomenon of cognitive representation and affect representation in the emotional experience , thinking the affect objectification is an important mechanism of emotional experience. Finally, based on the separability of cognitive representation and affect representation in emotional experience and sensory feeling, and based on the fact that a lot of researches show the homology of these two kinds of affect(in emotional experience and in sensory feeling) in the brain substrate, the article analyzes the possibility that the affect component in emotional experience derive from the conditioned response of the affect component in sensory feeling.

Emotion experience is a multi-component compound feeling

It is generally accepted that emotion is a multi-component process, including at least subjective experiences, expression behavior and physiological arousal(e.g., Izard,1991;Gross,& Levenson,1993). The experience of emotion is an important part of the emotion process,so in-depth look at it is certainly an important way to understand emotion. First, this chapter lists some representative views about emotion experience by category,then analyses them respectively based on the existing experimental evidences and objective phenomena,and put forward a comprehensive conclusion.

Three types of views about emotion experience

1. Emotion experience is a body perception.
James: emotional states have specific and unique patterns of somatovisceral changes, and the perception of them constitutes an emotion experience (James, 1890). Tomkins: each discrete emotion is a set of motor and glandular responses(mainly located in the face)which is triggered by different subcortical affect programs,and emotion experience is the awareness of this facial feedback(Tomkins, 1962). Izard:“A specific emotion is a specific facial expression, and our awareness of that facial expression is the … Subjective experience of emotion” (Izard,1977;p. 58).

2. Emotion experience is the compound feeling that consists of body perception and other perceptions
Maranon: an event evokes emotion, which leads to perception, which leads to sympathetic arousal, of which the person may become aware. The true emotion will only be experienced when the perceived arousal is joined with the initial perception(Maranon, 1924). Mandler: emotion experience is a unified construction that combines a nonspecific arousal structure and an evaluative structure (i.e., cognitive interpretation of the situation). The awareness of arousal provides the intensity of the emotion experience,and the awareness of evaluative provides the particular content and quality of emotion experience(Mandler, 1984). Damasio: the feeling of emotion depends on the juxtaposition /superposition of an image of the body proper to an image of vision or audition(Damasio, 1994).

3.Emotion experience is the compound feeling of the awareness of hedonic tone(pleasure-displeasure, otherwise called as valence, positive or negative feeling) and other perceptions.
Leventhal: first of all,the individual has a feeling caused by external information, and this feeling is simply positive or negative rather than representing more precise categories of emotion experience. Later, more specific emotional discriminations occur and involve feedback from the expressive and autonomic systems(Leventhal, 1982). Frijda: emotion experience is usually made up of the awareness of action tendency,of a autonomic arousal, of a hedonic feeling of pleasure or pain, of an appraised situation, and awareness of the emotion’s significance(Frijda, 1986). Johnston:the shared element and remarkable attribute of all feelings—emotions and sensory feelings—are hedonic tone(positive and negative).“…the presence of hedonic tone—pleasantness or unpleasantness—defines feelings and distinguishes them from all other types of conscious subjective experiences, like thoughts and sensations.”(Johnston, 1999;p. 62). Russell: at the heart of emotion, mood, and any other emotionally charged event are core affect. Core affect is a primitive feeling that consists of valence(pleasure-displeasure)and arousal, and it can be experienced in relation to no known stimulus— in a free-floating form—as seen in moods,and can be experienced as a emotion by attributing it to an object or event. Barrett: the emotions such as anger, sadness, happiness and so on people will experience when core affective feeling, perceptions of meaning in the world, and conceptual knowledge about emotion are bound together at a moment in time to form a single unified percept, much like color, depth, and shape are experienced together in object perception(Barrett, 2006b).

An analysis and integration of the above three types of views

With regard to the first type of view, it is acknowledged that the emotion process is usually accompanied with body changes and our perception of them, and there is really a high stability of the connections between different emotions and the different forms of visceral changes and facial expressions, and so it allows body perception to be an important differentiating factor to different emotion experiences(Scherer & Wallbott,1994)。However, while affirming the importance of the body perception in emotion experiences,it is open to doubt the adequacy of the body perception as emotion experience. A simple counter example is that, as Kalat and Shiota(2007) have pointed out, many non-emotional factors can also influence sympathetic nervous system activities. For example, when you walk up a flight of stairs, you also feel polypnea and heart pounding. Clearly, the body perception at that moment has no quality of emotion. This shows that the body perception is not sufficient for emotion experience. James once said: “Without the bodily states following on the perception, the latter would be purely cognitive in form, pale, colourless, destitute of emotional warmth ”(p. 248).However, from the perspective that the perception of faster heartbeat, faster breathing and tense muscles that result from somebody doing physical exercises has no the property of emotion,the body perception itself is also pale and colourless,destitute of emotional warmth, and possess cognitive quality,in the absence of something.

Furthermore, in the studies of the people with spinal cord injuries who lost the ability of response and sensation of body in different degrees,most patients reported that their emotion experiences were as strong as before, especially fear and sadness (Chwalisz et al.,1988;Cobos et al.,2002). And the patients with Moebius syndrome, congenital loss of facial movement, have no apparent deficit in emotion experience,and their ability to recognize the facial expressions remains intact(Calder et al.,2000;Bogart & Matsumoto, 2010). Even some patients with locked-in syndrome(people lose almost all output from the brain to the muscles and the autonomic nervous system except a few clusters of neurons control eye muscles), reported(dictated by blinks of one eyelid) that they could feel a series of emotions from sadness to happiness(Damasio,1999).

These are sufficient to show that although body perception is important to emotion experience, it is not sufficient,and even is perhaps not necessary. Obviously, in addition to the body perception, there are other more important mental contents in emotion experience.

From the perspective of function, we know that all kinds of emotion experiences contain a mental state of like or dislike that corresponds to the action tendency of approach or avoidance and is an important mental base of motivation. Based on phenomena, the connection between the other constituents of emotion experience and the mental state of like or dislike are not stable. For example, as the connection between body perception and its nature of hedonic tone, the perception of heart beat can also be either disliking (as the heart beat for fear) or liking (as the “heart beat in love”). And the like or dislike to a perceived external object changes with different people or time. The pleasure and the displeasure always correspond to like and dislike respectively. There is not the feeling of pleasure that we don’t like,and there is not the feeling of displeasure that we don’t dislike. This noticeable consistency suggests that the mental states of like and dislike may be intrinsic nature of the feeling of pleasure and the feeling of displeasure respectively. In fact,it may not be possible to distinguish the neural underpinning between hedonic tone and like or dislike in study. For example, the nucleus accumbens that is known as pleasure center is also thought to be the brain substrate that causes liking. Rozin(1999)defines pleasure and displeasure as: pleasure is “a positive experienced state that we seek and that we try to maintain or enhance.” Similarly, pain (or aversion) is “a negative experienced state that we avoid and that we try to reduce or eliminate.”(p,112). In this definition, the pleasure or displeasure is the experienced state that we seek or avoid, respectively. The seeking & like and the avoidance & dislike are mentally related respectively,and even are the same. Therefore, this definition also seems to hint the close relationship between the hedonic tone and the like or dislike state. While this article favor such a definition:pleasure is a feeling entity that has its particular conscious quality(though we may not feel it alone,as we feel it in the perception of heart beat in love), and carries a mental state of liking(i.e., We seek and try to maintain or enhance it). And displeasure is a feeling entity that has its particular conscious quality(though we may also not feeling it alone), and carries a mental states of disliking (i.e., We avoid and try to reduce or eliminate it). In this mental seeking or avoidance there is clearly a nature of drive, in other words, the mental states of liking and disliking carried by hedonic tone are an inner drive that is just the basis for a motivation. It may be because of the existence of the hedonic tone which carries a mental states of liking or disliking so that the emotion experience has a motivational function to produce the action tendency like approach or avoidance, and the various emotion experiences themselves have a nature that arouses our seek or avoid. In effect, in the theory of the positive psychology that emphasizes the role of emotions, the functional accounts of positive emotions capture only the effect of pleasant subjective feeling and forsake the other aspects of the emotion.

In short,the hedonic tone whose mental representation are the simplex feelings of pleasure and displeasure is the most pervasive feature of emotion experiences, and it is because of its presence that the emotion experience is an emotion experience,and that other components coexisting with it in emotion experience possess the quality of the emotion. This shows the necessity of hedonic tone for emotion experience. The hedonic tone plays an important role in the productions of action urge and emotional motivation,and its intensity has a more essential connection with the intensity of emotion experience that often determines the intensity of a motivation. This shows the functional significance of hedonic tone for emotion experience. Therefore, based on the necessity and functional significance of the hedonic tone for emotion experience, it can be argued that the hedonic tone is the core component of emotion experience. Furthermore, hedonic tone is a substantive mental representation. It appears not only in emotion experience,and is also the shared element of all sorts of sensory feelings and moods, and is also generated by the changes in internal milieu and the drug action. The emotion experience may be the integrated experience formed by combining the hedonic tone that is not limited to emotion experience with some conscious contents.

So far, based on the above analysis and the theory of consciousness bonding problem, the conclusion that is more closer to the mental fact of emotion experience may be drawn only by integrating all the reasonable contents in the above views, and then combining some ideas of this article:the emotion experience is the multi-component integrated experience that is usually made up of the mental representations of hedonic tone, body perception, object perception, appraisal awareness and action tendency,among which the hedonic tone is core component. The hedonic tone defines emotion experience and its intensity has a more essential connection with the intensity of emotion experience,and it plays an important role in the productions of the action tendency in emotion experience. For example, the experience of a typical fear may be made up of the mental representations of a feeling of strong displeasure,the perceptions of muscle tension and rapid heart beat,the perception of a horrible environment or object, the awareness of “danger”and the awareness of urge to slink away or hide; and among them the feeling of strong displeasure defines this complex experience as emotion experience,and plays an important role in the production of the urge to slink away or hide. And the distinction between the experiences of different emotions may be embodied in the distinction between the actual contents of these components. For example, the experience of fear usually consists of the feeling of displeasure,the perceptions of muscle tension and rapid heart beat,the perception of a horrible object, the awareness of “danger”and the awareness of urge to slink away or hide; and the experience of sadness usually consists of the feeling of displeasure, the perception of sinking and cold heart, the faces of a deceased relative or friend in memory and the awareness of “loss”; while the experience of happiness usually consists of the feeling of pleasure,the awareness of “obtaining”and the awareness of urge to jump or embrace.

Nevertheless, for the multi-component integrated experience, its integrality is at the level of experience and is not as “solid” as the integrality of the perception of a “red circular apple”. As mentioned before, the combination in the level of perception is inseparable in consciousness, while the some components in emotion experience are separable, for example,we can be conscious that the body perception and object perception are separate in time and space. Whereas, the combination of hedonic tone with other components (particularly the body perception) is inseparable in consciousness,and this combination is in the level of perception. Furthermore, Lambie and Marcel’s analysis shows that the experience of each emotion can take different forms,and it depends on aspects of attention: mode (analytic-synthetic), direction (self-world), and focus (evaluation-action). Therefore, we sometimes may experience only the some components of a typical emotion experience,and will also treat it as this emotion experience.

chapter 2. Two different mental representations:cognitive representation and affect representation

As stated above, it is for the presence of hedonic tone that the emotion experience is an emotion experience, and it distinguishes emotion experience from simple cognitive perception in form. So, the so-called distinction between emotion and cognition in the form of perception lies in essentially the difference between hedonic tone and simplex cognitive perception. That is, if there are two kinds of mental representations with different forms, the two ones are the mental representation of hedonic tone and simple cognition.

We know that the simple perception, as a mental representation, is based on some basic sensations such as color, brightness, sound, body site, muscle tone, body movement and so on. These basic sensations arise mainly from the specific sensory systems of vision, hearing, touch, kinesthesis and so on,which constitute our various perceptions of our body and outside world, and allow us to recognize various objective features of our body and the things outside,and are also the basis for our concept formation and thought process. Therefore, these basic sensations and the mental representations of various simple perceptions,concepts and thoughts that are constituted by those sensations possess discriminative and cognitive function. In neural basis,these basic sensations have their specialized receptors, neural pathways and projection areas in cortices. And while the neurochemical bases are basically the same for all kinds of sensations, their specificity reflects in special cortical area.

Furthermore, for some sensations in the traditional sense such as pain,taste,smell and temperature(this paper uses Johnston’s way, calling them sensory feeling),modern research has shown that they have both the component of specific sensation and the component of nonspecific affect or hedonic tone, and the neural bases of the two components are different. For example, modern research suggests that the pain stimulus causes two parallel ascending neural inputs. One projection derives from the deep dorsal horn through the lateral thalamus to somatosensory cortex, which producing the discriminative sensation of the pain, comprising its intensity,location and quality . The other projection derives from the superficial spinal dorsal horn through the medial thalamic nuclei to the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and the insular cortex ( IC),which producing the pain affect(pain unpleasantness). And clinical studies have confirmed that the sensation and affect components of the pain are detachable. For example,ablations of ACC and its underlying white matter, the cingulum bundle, reduce or abolish affective responses to noxious stimuli, while sensory localization remains intact, whereas patient with damage to somatosensory cortices is unable to feels pain (its intensity, location and quality) ,but feels an inenarrable unpleasantness. So, it is generally believed now that the pain perception comprises two independent components,pain sensation and pain affect. Similarly, for smell,taste and temperature, their sensory stimulus also cause two parallel ascending neural inputs respectively into their respective cortical sensory area and some common limbic regions,and respectively producing their respective specific sensations and shared hedonic component. Also,their sensation and hedonic components are detachable. For example,in an experiment that involved computer games and custom-made scents, researchers found that the responses to new odors depended on the emotions experienced while the new odor was present. If participants had a good time playing the game, they were more likely to report they liked the odor. If they had an unpleasant experience, they were more likely to dislike the scent. A cool glass feels wonderful if your body is hot, but it feels unpleasant if you chilled. And a taste that we usually very enjoy can become disgusting as well in some cases. Therefore, the same as emotion experience, the sensory feeling ( also including thirst, itch, the feelings of hard light and loud noise, and all kinds of the feelings comfortable or uncomfortable in body) can also be regarded as the compound feeling that consists of discriminative sensation and hedonic tone. Also therefore, the cognitive mental representation should as well include the discriminative sensation in sensory feeling.

And the hedonic tone as a mental representation, as previously mentioned, is the shared component element of emotion experience, sensory feeling and mood. In neural basis,every form of hedonic tone appears to be closely related to the change in the level of certain neurochemicals in the brain. Many studies have shown that the release of dopamine onto the nucleus accumbens appears to underlie almost every form of pleasure that we can experience. Delicious food, sexual behavior,addictive drug,transcranial electric stimulation and expectations for reward, they all can increase the level of dopamine in nucleus accumbens. And there are studies to show that endorphin is a source of pleasure, and its release is associated with a feeling of well-being and the feelings of pleasure produced by delicious food, exercise, orgasm and so on,and it can reduce or eliminate negative mood as well as all kinds of physical pain and mental anguish. And a study using positron emission tomography (PET) found there are robust reductions of endorphin in the rostral anterior cingulate, ventral pallidum, amygdala, and inferior temporal cortex, in response to the self-induced sadness state.

There is still a lack of understanding about some basic questions concerning hedonic tone. For example, how many kinds of pleasure and displeasure which are different in both feeling and neural substrate are there in the brain ? Or are there only one pleasure and one displeasure, and the differences in feeling is just because they blend in separately with different kinds of other mental representations?(e.g., the two kinds of pleasure from taste and from flesh may be the same, but their differences in our feelings are because the former blends in with the specific sensory component of taste and the tactile contents of food, and the latter blends in with the sensations from skin and muscle; and the displeasure of grief is different from that of frustration, “in that the former contains the lost object, whereas the latter contains the envisaged unachieved goal.”[Lambie & Marcel, 2002]) Can we feel the pure pleasure or displeasure without other mental representations? However, it is now almost certain that, contrary to the discriminative basic sensations that serves as the basis of cognition, the neural basis of the hedonic tone is nonspecific. For example, dopaminergic neurons in nucleus accumbens receive input from almost all receptors, and different types of rewarding stimuli elicit similar neuronal responses. Therefore, hedonic tone has no specialized receptor and neural pathway, and its presence is only related to the significant change in level of certain neurochemicals in the brain. The nonspecificity of hedonic tone may be the cause of its floatability (i.e., in our experience, the hedonic tone almost always blends in with other cognitive sensation, perception and concept, and so on).

So far, we can see that at neural basis there are two different basic mental representations: discriminative sensation and hedonic tone. The discriminative sensations include visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, kinesthetic, and the sensation component in various sensory feelings. Its production depends on specific receptors, neural pathway and their special projection area in cortices. By different sensations and the different levels of mental representations constituted by them, we can know the various properties, forms, changes and relationships of our own body and external objects. This is consistent with the general view that cognition reflects the objective features of ourselves and world. And the presence of hedonic tone only relates to the change in level of certain neurochemicals in the brain, and in consciousness, there are only two features or qualities of pleasure and displeasure that is of different intensities (however, we may be indeed unable to be conscious of them detached from other mental representations alone), and they are accompanied by the mental states of like and dislike, respectively. Hedonic tone is ubiquitous in various sensory feelings and emotion experiences, and strongly related to our physical need and mental desire, and reflects on the organism’s inherent needs. Therefore, this paper thinks that the cognitive representation could be defined by the specificity in neural bases. That is, the mental representations that are based on specific sensory systems such as simple sensation, perception and abstract idea, could be categorized as cognitive representation. And the hedonic tone as another form of mental representation, could be defined by the significant change in level of certain neurochemicals in the brain. And based on the analysis above and in chapter 1,this paper thinks that for the hedonic tone that a mental representation differs from cognition and is of universality, it is very suitable to be denoted by the word “affect” that is the most inclusion among the terms for emotional phenomena. That is, this paper thinks that there are two different forms of mental representations in the brain. One is cognitive representation including all the simple sensations and perceptions at present, in memory and in imagination, and the mental representations of general thinking activity. The other is affect representation(i.e., The mental representation of hedonic tone) that is present only as pleasure and displeasure in consciousness, carrying the mental states of like and dislike. And various emotion experiences and sensory feelings are the integrated feeling that is made up of the two mental representations. In the following chapters of this paper will use the related terms under these notions.

Cognitive representation and affect representation in emotion experience, and the phenomenon of the objectification of affect

The cognitive representations in emotion experience are some simple body perception, object perception, conscious appraisal,and the sensation component of some sensory feelings. The body perceptions and the sensation components in sensory feelings that often occur in emotion experience mainly include the awareness of tense muscles, faster heartbeat, breathing change,temperature within heart or stomach(as the cold feeling in heart when we are sad, the warm feeling in heart when we are delighted),and so on. As indicated above,there is not the property of emotion experience in body perception itself, and the body perception in emotion experience should be part of our common body perception. Although the too cold or too hot temperature and too fast heartbeat can cause displeasure, the body changes in temperature or heartbeat for the emotional state are generally not more than the changes for that we drink a cup of cold water or run 100 meters. So the sensory feelings in emotion experience are almost all neutral, and there are mainly the sensation components of sensory feelings that occur in emotion experience. Moreover, there are the imaginations and intentions of motions in the mental representation of action tendency in emotion experience,such as attack, run, or embrace. It has been known that the preparation and execution of a motion require the sensory feedbacks from vestibule, vision and body, and the primary motor cortex is also the sensory area of muscle spindle. So the cognitive representations in emotion experience should also include the representations of motion and intention in conscious action tendency.

The object perception (including the perception of environment) can also blend in with emotion experience, like an object or environment of fear under a pall of terror. The object perception in emotion experience also includes the representations of memory and imagination, such as the faces of a relative or friend in memory in the experience of sadness and the scenes of future campus life in imagination in the experience of happiness when we received our university admission notice. As stated above, the appraisal awareness is also often part of emotion experience, and is an internal factor that evokes emotion. The appraisal process is a thoughts activity based on language and image, and the appraisal in emotion experience is also part of our common thoughts activity.

By these cognitive representations from body, external world and brain inside, we can acquire all kinds of objective information from our own body and world. These cognitive representations can either involve in emotion experience or exist alone. And as it is shown by some experimental results in chapter 1, they might play an important role in the distinction among different emotion experiences.

The affect representation(mental representation of hedonic tone) in emotion experience should be the rest of various emotion experiences when all cognitive representations were removed. Obviously, besides those cognitive representation, there is the pleasure or displeasure and the corresponding mental state of like or dislike in emotion experience. And the pleasure and displeasure are what we can not find in those cognitive representations that occur alone in non-emotion state, so they are the affect representations of emotion experience. The affect representation is the most pervasive feature of emotion experiences, and its intensity reflects the intensity of emotion experience more directly,and it plays an important role in the productions of emotional motivation. Given that the neural basis of affect representation is non-specific and the cognitive representation plays an important role in the distinction among different emotion experiences,the affect representation may be primitive and undifferentiated, and is present only as simple pleasure or displeasure that is of different intensities. And the mental states of like and dislike may be intrinsic to the pleasure and displeasure, respectively. Furthermore, as it blends in with body perception(like the perception of heart beat) in emotion experience, the affect representation has a floating character in consciousness, and we almost always blend in it with other representations and are unable to feel it alone.

In summary,there are many kinds of cognitive representations that often occur in emotion experiences, and they can reflect the various objective features of our own body and world respectively, and they themselves don’t have the subjective quality of pleasure or displeasure;the affect representation is the most pervasive feature of emotion experiences, and in consciousness, it is present only as pleasure and displeasure that carry the mental states of likes and dislikes, and has a floating character. So, if emotion experience is formed by combination of the two concurrent mental representations that are different in forms, it is inevitable that as the result of such combination,the floating affect representation is affixed to other cognitive representations, and the simple cognitive representations have a affect quality.

For example, when a neural representation that entails pleasant affect is triggered and there is also the sensory input of heartbeat (even if they are generated by different mechanisms), the conscious qualities and liking mental state of the pleasant affect may be affixed to the perception of heartbeat, which makes the simple perception of heartbeat become a “pleasant and likeable heartbeat”. Similarly, if it is the unpleasant affect that occurs concurrently with the perception of heartbeat, the felling of the unpleasant affect may be also affixed to the perception of heartbeat, and an “unpleasant and disliking heartbeat” will be experienced. This would explain why we will experience the pleasure or displeasure as an inherent quality of body perception and why the same body arousal is sometimes likeable and sometimes disliking when we are in emotion experiences.

And when we have a pleasant or unpleasant affect, if our attention at this time focuses on an external object, especially on an object that is (or thought to be ) directly related to the production of this affect, the feeling of the affect may be affixed to the perception of this object, which makes the simple perceptual object become a “pleasant or unpleasant object” in our experience, and turns our liking or disliking for our pleasant or unpleasant affect into our liking or disliking for this object. This would explain why the same object is pleasant and lovable in some people’s eyes, but bland in others’eyes, and even in the same person’s eyes, it’s changeable with time that the same object is loveable or not. Winkielman et al., (2000) provided evidence that the pleasure (induced through subliminal stimulation) can emerge into consciousness as a mood in some circumstances but as liking for a beverage in other circumstances. This can also be the evidence for the floating character of affect representation. So,the body perception and object perception we experience in various emotions are actually the body perceptions and object appearances that are affixed by the affect representation of pleasure or displeasure.

Santayana(1896)had put forward such a famous definition of beauty:“beauty is the objectification of pleasure.” that is,“Beauty is pleasure objectified – pleasure regarded as the quality of an object.” Now at least we have reason to believe that an object itself is not of the pleasant or unpleasant quality in perception, and we will perceive an object as the pleasant or unpleasant after we have a pleasant or unpleasant affect. Therefore, for the mental phenomenon that the affect representation is affixed to body perception or object perception, it can borrow Santayana’s way to call this as the objectification of affect. In such mental phenomenon, an affect representation will be bound to cognitive representations which possess objective features, which makes us experience the conscious quality of affect as the quality of body perception or object appearance and turn our liking or disliking state of affect into our liking or disliking for our body perception or an external object.

In fact, it is a more common mental phenomenon that some mental contents from different sources blend together in a current perception. For example, many tastes are a composite of gustatory and olfactory information. And the visual texture and the cool and warm in colors contain the experiences of touch. Even some abstract concept can also be affixed to current perception. For example, Rowe (1978) recorded an individual with depression who reported: “At that time ordinary objects—chairs, tables, and the like— possessed a frightening, menacing quality …” (pp. 269–270). In fact, it is a shared characteristic of many people with depression that see a menacing quality from unrelated objects. In this case, the concept of menace does not simply appears in the patients’ mind, but it is integrated into various object perceptions, and becomes a quality or property. Although most of us are free of depression, there are no significant difference in the neurological basis of the brain between we and people with depression. In normal mental activity, there are many examples of so-called aesthetic empathy such as the “dignity” of golden-colored, the “elegance” of rose and the sense of “rise” and “strength” in ancient Greek stone pillars. We seem unable to distinguish whether these are just our associations or internal feelings,or are the visual properties of those objects in our immediate experiences.

As for the action tendency in many emotion experiences, it should be the mutual product of cognitive representation and affect representation. The action tendency of approach or avoidance to an object is the basic form of motivation. It requires a perception of an object, an imagination of a set of motions and a drive of doing that motions. Here the perception of an object and the “motions” in imagination are cognitive representation, and they provide action object and motion planning. And the action tendency of approach or avoidance corresponds to the mental state of like or dislike (a inner drive) that is carried by affect representation, and what this reflects is the connection of liking-approach, disliking-avoidance that are between like or dislike state of affect and action tendency. The formation of this connection may be based on learning. Research suggests that some automatic actions and emotional responses that are seemingly built-in may actually be acquired. For example, wild-caught rhesus monkeys fear and avoid snakes, but laboratory-reared monkeys don’t have that responses. Laboratory-reared monkeys will rapidly acquire a fear of snakes if a videotape on a wild-caught monkey is afraid of snake is shown. Even so-called pain withdrawal reflex may be also acquired. For example, the dogs reared in a sensory deprivation environment made not any movements of withdrawal reflex except localized reflexive jerks when the dogs were pin-pricked. It seems that the formation of the pain-withdrawal connection will exist only after they acquire the experiences that their pains are reduced or eliminated when they withdraw from the source of the pain.

In addition, although many theorists believe that the body changes which leads to body perceptions in emotion experiences is produced by innate brain devices which produce emotions, it does not exclude the possibility that they are entirely caused by some realistic reasons. For example, sports physiology experiment have shown that when people are imagining doing sports, there are similar body changes as the actual body sports,merely in low intensity. Other study has also found that before training, due to the stimuli of athletic field environment and music, the athletes will have the conditioned reflexes such as a rise in heart rate, blood pressure, and breath frequency, which is induced by the conditioned stimuli formed in similar circumstance that there are body changes in sports training. Moreover, before winter-swimmers getting down to swimming,the regulatory mechanism of homoiothermism has been launched in advance by visual stimulus of the circumstance,and heat production is increased and heat dissipation is reduced. These conditioned reflex activities are also called feed forward adaptive control,which seem to make the body responses have the foresight, and ready to prepare for physiologic adjustment reaction as early as possible.

In summary,the objectification of affect is an important mental phenomenon in the process of emotional experience. In such mental phenomenon, our affect representation shows up as a quality(pleasure or displeasure)of body perception, or, as one of perceptual features of a object (pleasant or unpleasant), turning liking or disliking mental state in affect representation into our liking or disliking for our body perception or an external object. And our emotional experiences such as fear, anger, happiness and sadness may be the integrated experiences of the combinations of various affect representations, body perceptions, object perceptions, appraisal awarenesses and action tendencies that occur relatively simultaneously.

A possible mechanism: the production of mental affect is the conditioned response of physiological affect

As stated above, emotion experience and sensory feeling are the compound experience or feeling formed by the combination of cognitive representation and affect representation, and the production of their affect components is all related to the obvious changes in the level of dopamine and endorphin in nucleus accumbens, amygdala, ventral pallidum and anterior cingulate. This suggests that there may be the homology in brain substrate between the affect in sensory feeling(hereinafter referred to as physiological affect for it often arises from direct physiological stimulus) and the affect in emotion experience( hereinafter referred to as mental affect for it is usually produced by mental activities such as anticipation and appraisal). For example, Schultz et al. found that dopamine neurons were activated when naive monkeys tasted a small morsel of apple or receive a small quantity of fruit juice to the mouth. After repeated pairings of visual cues followed by reward, dopamine neurons change the time of their phasic activation from just after the time of reward delivery to the time of cue onset. In this case, if the activation of dopamine neurons will produce pleasure in the monkeys, then the former is gustatory pleasure (physiological pleasure) and the latter is the pleasure that is produced by visual anticipation (mental pleasure). The two kinds of pleasure are homology in brain substrate. In addition, the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) has been characterized as a distress center, producing activity to instances of both physical and social pain; antidepressants have similar effects on alleviating both mental anguish and physical pain. Based on these facts, Eisenberger and Lieberman(2005)put forward a pain overlap theory, and they argue that physical and social pains share a common phenomenological and neural basis.

At present, it is almost certain that we have the innate neural pathway that produces the physiological affect in sensory feeling, such as the neural pathway that produces pain affect mentioned above. For sensory feeling, while a stimulus produces the discriminative sensation through distinct sensory pathway, it also directly produces physiological affect through a parallel ascending neural inputs to limbic subcortical regions, and the discriminative sensation and the combine of the affect forms various whole sensory feelings; and there are significant consistency between various stimuli and the subjective nature of affect (pleasure or displeasure) that they produces. Therefore,it is no doubt that the physiological affect can be produced by innate mechanism.

Whereas for emotion experience, there are a large number of experimental researches on the innate neural pathways that produce various emotions(and the experiences of them ) since last century, but researchers have not found any reliable neural pathway that is dedicated to generating any discrete emotion (for a review, see Barrett & Wager 2006b; Russell, 2003). And the emotion experiences are usually produced by the visual and auditory information. Unlike the sensory feelings, there is lack of the consistency in the relationship between the subjective nature of affect in emotion experience and the sensory inputs from vision or hearing, sometimes even opposite. For example, a bear we see in the wild and at the zoo will give us two different kinds of emotion experiences, fear and interest, which are completely opposite affects in the subjective nature. Therefore,it is very possible that we have not the innate neural pathways at all that can directly correspond to any environmental stimulus and produce our mental affect.

So, what is the acquired mechanism that produces mental affect through vision or hearing, or in other words, how do the processes of vision or hearing connect postnatally with some neural structures in limbic regions? And if the affect in emotion experience is produced by the mental activities such as anticipation and appraisal, and how do they produce the affect? In fact, the second question is essentially equal to the first question because our mental activities (including cognitive appraisal) are mainly operated on the basis of the neural representations that entail visual and auditory representations(including the literal and voice representations of language). And considering that the sensory feeling and emotion experience are the compound feelings that consist of separable cognitive and affect representation, and their affect components share a common brain substrate, we can answer this question by the hypothesis : for an individual today, the production of his every mental affect is the conditioned response of his physiological affects.

It is already a general scientific knowledge that conditioned reflex can be established between any different nerve processes that occur at the same time or in succession,including between the neural processes of cognition, emotion and sensory feeling, and even between the nerve processes of mental activity and physiologic change. We know that it is a conditioned response that saliva will be produced as we see gourmets. This is because our vision process about gourmets had established nerve connection with the process in hypothalamus that control salivation as they took place at the same time or in succession when we was eating gourmets in the past,and when we see gourmets again, this vision process may cause the conditioned response of the correlated nerve process in hypothalamus to stimulate the secretion of saliva. It is worth noting that we also usually have an emotion of happiness and the liking for the gourmets at this time. That is, we are experiencing an emotion of happiness that is made up from at least the two mental representations of the gourmets and a pleasant affect, and turn our liking for this pleasant affect into our liking for the gourmets. Then, how is the pleasant affect in this emotion of happiness produced? One possible reason for this is that the production of this pleasant affect is the conditioned response of the physiological pleasure that was produced in the processes of our previous taste and smell when we were enjoying the delicious food in the past. That is, while our present vision process about gourmets activates the nerve process that controls salivation(its conditioned reflex is provoked), it also activates the old physiological affect in the previous sensory feelings of taste and smell that have been contacted with the process similar to this vision process in the past. In fact,the finding of Schultz et al. mentioned above can also be the supporting evidence that mental affect may be the conditioned response of physiological affect. In this finding, the activation of dopamine neurons by visual anticipation in naive monkey is obviously a conditioned response of the activation of dopamine neurons caused by previous gustation. So, according as the conditioned reflex is the common phenomenon of neural activities, we could argue that because our certain visual or auditory process and the process of our certain sensory feeling once occured at the same time or in succession,it may activate the old physiological affect in this sensory feeling when the similar visual or auditory process occurs again at a future time ( from previous discussion we know that the sensation and affect in sensory feeling are separable, and their nerve bases are housed in different brain areas, so it is possible that their respective conditioned reactions can occur separately), and then the mental affect is produced. And our various emotion experiences may be formed by the combination of the mental affect which is the conditioned reactions of physiological affect and some other present mental representations.

For example, although there are the cases of conditioned pain in clinical practices, e.g. a ballet dancer felt toes pain as soon as she heard Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, this type of phenomenon is very rare. The conditioned response of pain is usually displayed in another form. That is, what the conditioned stimulus related to pain produces is generally not the original body pain, but the feeling of fear. For example, after the repeating associations between fur and pain, the sight of fur will evoke the feeling of fear but not the feeling of pain. Another situation is that if a loud noise is repeatedly presented whenever a child is shown a furry animal, the sight of furry animal will soon evoke a feeling of fear, rather than the sensation of loud noise. Johnston(1999)summed up these results of classical conditioned reflex as that the common element between a loud noise and pain is their shared unpleasantness, and it is the acquired association between the conditioned stimulus and unpleasantness that evokes a fear response. And under the concept of this paper, this phenomenon can be interpreted as that the conditioned response of the sensory feelings of pain and loud noise are usually just their a component of affect rather than a whole sensory feeling. And the formation of this fear emotion is the result that the unpleasant affect, which is evoked by conditioned stimulus alone, integrates with the percepts of conditioned stimulus and related body changes.

Take for example the experience of fear that is produced when a child sees nurses in the hospital, its unpleasant affect may be the conditioned response of the pain affect in the feeling of pain that is induced by the injections in his past. Its possible generation mechanism is that because the feeling of pain and the visual perception of nurses in white always appeared together when he received injections in the past, the neural connection are established between the visual perception and the pain affect. So, in certain conditions, when the visual stimulus of a nurse appears again and activates its old similar visual perception (it has been known that the formation of a new visual perception depends on the reactivation of old similar visual perception), the old visual perception also causes the reactivation of pain affect that has established neural connection with it, so the intense unpleasant affect is produced. At the same time,as a result of other conditioned responses and the action tendency of avoidance that is based on the connection of disliking-avoidance, a series of activities in the motor system and autonomic system are produced, which excites the body changes of muscle, heart beat, respiration and so on, and their sensory inputs. When the above three mental contents that occurs at the same time are combined together, then it is formed that this emotion experience of fear that there is a visual image of nurse, an intense unpleasant affect,and those body perceptions and the tendency of avoidance.

So far we’ve seen that our brain can produce mental affect by the conditioned response of physiological affect and combines it with some other mental representations to forms various emotion experiences even without those innate mechanisms of basic emotions. If this is the truth of mental activity, it is easy to imagine that when the initial connections have been established between the physiological affects in limbic system and those basic cognitive forms such as visual and auditory representations, it builds a bridge to produce mental affect through more complicated cognitive processes (including the thought that is mainly operated on the basis of visual and auditory representations) ,thus enables the physiological affect to be indirectly activated in more roundabout and intricate ways,and then forms all kinds of more complex emotion experiences with current perceptions.

Research in Applied Psychology, No. 55, Fall 2012, 215-250

應用心理研究, 第 55 期, 2012 秋, 215-250 頁

Abstract:It has long been known that the body sensations are important for forming an emotion(in this paper, the term emotion is used only means emotional feeling ). But people have also seen that they are obviously not the all mental components of emotion. The ideas that emotions are a complex feeling consisting of different kinds of mental entities, and that simple affect as a important quality of all kinds of emotions and sensory feelings, they have appeared in scholars’ works. Based on these ideas and synthesis the existing research findings on emotion, this paper proposes two hypotheses: (1) emotion and sensory feeling are the complex feeling consisting of the two detachable mental properties of affect and sensation(cognitive);(2)the affect in emotions may be the conditioned response of the affect in sensory feelings. And think that it is the essence of emotion to the affect that has only two mental properties of pleasure or displeasure and accompany with the mental state of like ro dislike that the same as a component in sensory feelings, the sensations from body and external objects provide distinctive features for various emotions. And has discussed the following questions: (1) The difference between affect and sensation, and their functions in emotion and sensory feeling.(2) Affect objectified as a widespread and important psychologic mechanism for emotion and sensory feeling (i.e., in specific emotions and sensory feelings, because of the combinations of affect and sensation, it turn the mental state of like ro dislike in the affect into the like ro dislike for sensations, thus appear our like ro dislike for the objectsof sensations from body or outside). (3) The acquired mechanism of emotional body changes.

1. A hypothesis: emotions consist of affect and cognitive sensation

James thinks that emotion is the sensations of body changes. But people have also seen that maybe there is not any emotion when we have the sensations of body changes(as when we play sports ), and we do not necessarily have the sensations of body changes when we have the emotions such as respect, adore.It shows that the body sensations are neither sufficient nor common for emotion, and their meaning may be only provides a characteristic for the distinction between various emotions.

When talking about the distinctions between cognition and emotion,James said: ” Without the bodily states following on the perception, the latter would be purely cognitive in form, pale, colourless, destitute of emotional warmth.1” However, looking at the there are not the nature of emotion in the perceptions of body changes when we play sports,the perception of body state is also purely cognitive in form,pale and destitute of emotional warmth when it is missing something. Although it is rare to the explanation of the difference in perceiving forms between cognition and emotion,the simple description for their basic characteristic may be as follows:The cognitive perceiving form, its basis is the various special sensations. Each sensation has a special receptors, a special neural pathway and a special cortical region. The sensations which compliant with the above conditions include color,brightness,sound,pressure,temperature site(include the site of a body part), the movement states of internal organs(such as a rise in heart-beats,the peristalsis in stomach,breathing rhythms),muscular tension or relax, and other mechanical sensations of body such as picotement,formication and so on. Certainly,there is hardly any the circumstance that we perceive the external objects or our body by single sensation, the complex perception is the actual mental unit,and it has also integrating the images of memory and imagination in the unit. So what usually called sensation also refer to perception. The emotions, it is generally considered that they arise from some neural structure in limbic system in the core place of brain,and they have no special receptors and special neural pathway,and their projections of cortex are diffuse. Then, either from the view of phenomenon or classify them according to the elementary knowledge of their neural basis,all those James’“perceptions”of internal organs,muscles and so on are belong to the non-emotion and cognitive sensations. Although the sensations of body are indeed necessary for some emotions, or they are “superposition” with other mental property (the concept of superposition borrow from Damasio,he has proposed that the whole feeling of emotion is formed by the body images and the others images of visual or auditory and so on in the form of assembling be juxtaposition / superposition in the brain 2 ),as in the emotions of fear and anger,but they are not required for some others emotions,and may be replaced by the sensations of external objects, as in the emotions of interest, curiosity, respect and aesthetic feeling,that is,when we are concentrating on external objects,or when the emotions are not strong. And there is a lack of agreement between a sensation of body and its subjective natures (pleasant or unpleasant). For instance, the sensation of heartbeat, it can be either unpleasant (as when you are fear) or pleasant (as the so-called “I hear myself heartbeating, being with you” ). All these suggest that the sensations from body and external objects are important to various emotions,but they are neither sufficient nor pervasive. They can concomitancy with some emotions, and can also be separate from emotions and exist singly. Apparently, for emotion,besides those sensations there is also another more essential thing.

The research of “binding” problem suggested that perception is likely the whole mental image which is formed by the neural activities that occur in separate brain regions and integrate in time 3 . The emotion may be such “perception” which has integrated different kinds of neural patterns, and this integration may be spans the boundary between the sensation and another mental property which as the essence of emotion. In neural basis,this integration may be occur between cerebral cortex and some neural structures in limbic system. That is,so-called emotions may actually be the complex feelings consist of some sensations( from body or outside) and the mental property which has universality for all emotions through integration in time and space in different forms of assembling. For instance, the emotion of a typical fear,it may be consist of the cognitive sensations of the visual image of an object, muscle tension, heart beat fast, polypnea, and another non-cognitive mental property that exists in all emotions. For such universality mental property of emotions, we can use the term afect whose concept has more universality among related words. That is,all the emotions may be the complex feeling consist of of the two disparate mental properties of affect and sensation. The concepts of afect and emotion are consistent partially with Leventhal’s idea. He thinks that first of all the individual has an affect caused by external information,“the is just a simple negative or positive affect, rather than more complicated emotion that has a fine-classification. Then the feedbacks from expressive system and autonomic nervous system cause the production of emotion4 .” Moreover, such concept of affect is consistent with Johnston’s hedonic tone(pleasure or displeasure)that as a important component of all the feelings(include emotional feelings and sensory feelings) 5.

2. The objectification of affect: a important psychologic mechanism of emotion and sensory feeling

2.1. The sensation and affect in emotion; the phenomenon of affect objectified; motivation

The sensations in emotion,they should be those cognitive sensations or perceptions of body and external objects that we can feel them in the states of emotion and non-emotion. The sensations of body that often shows up in emotions include muscular tension, a rise in heart rate,polypnea(as fear and anger),the temperature sensation within heart or stomach(as feel cold in heart when we are sadness; feel warm in heart when we are delight),and some the movements of internal organs (as drastic gastrointestinal peristalsis when we are despair) and so on. The sensations of external objects, it seems they are not so closely linked to emotion as the sensations of body,but sometimes they are necessary to some emotions, such as the visual image of a object that make us fear, the visual or auditory images in aesthetic feeling and so on. All these basic sensations are base on the special receptors, special neural pathway and special cortical region. It has been found that the neurochemical bases are basically the same for all kinds of sensations, and their specificity reflected in special cortical region. By different sensations, we can reflects the all kinds of distinctive features of body and external objects. These sensations themselves do not possess the attribute of emotion, and they can not only involve in emotions, but also occur alone. But they might have an important meaning for the distinctive feature between different kinds of emotions. The features in some emotions such as tension,relax and so-called “heart cold” ,they clearly come from sensations because they are the properties of the sensations which possess them in the states of non-emotion, too.
The affects in emotions,they should be the remainder in various emotions when all sensations were removed. Obviously, in the emotions, besides those sensations there are also the subjective experience of pleasure or displeasure and the corresponding mental state of like ro dislike that they are prevalent for emotions. And they are what we can not find in the sensations that occur alone in the state of non-emotion. So they should be the mental properties of affect. And they are the essential component of emotion because they are prevalent for all kinds of emotions. In neural basis, some structures in limbic system that are known as closely linked to emotions such as amygdala, hypothalamus and so on or part of them,might be the neural basis of affect. It has been known that those neural structures receives inputs from all kinds of receptor and different areas of the brain,and it is diffuse that their projections of cortex. So the affect has no special receptors, special neural pathway and special cortical areas. It has been found that the subjective natures of emotion (pleasure or displeasure) have specific neurochemical bases,and it is demonstrated that the increase or decrease of dopamine content in the brain are related respectively to the feelings of pleasure or displeasure. Likewise, the neurochemical bases are probably also belong to affect. If considering the neural basis of affect is ancient and non-specific (the specifity of neurochemical bases only embody in pleasure or displeasure),and considering the sensations play an important role in the distinctive feature of emotions,the mental entity of affect may be only the simpler feeling of pleasure or displeasure that undifferentiated and has different intensities ( similar to Leventhal’s “just a simple negative or positive affect”). And the mental state of like ro dislike may be inherent in the feelings of pleasure and displeasure. That is, it can be said that the mental entity of affect is the kind of general diffusibity feeling which having only the two features of nonspecific pleasure and displeasure and their intensities, as well as the mental state of like /enjoy (the mental tendency of wish to keep it )ro dislike/repulsion(the mental tendency of wish to abate it ) that we can experience them in any emotions.

In summary,there are many kinds of sensations that often shows up in emotions. They can reflects the various objective features of body and external objects respectively. Their own have no the subjective nature of pleasure or displeasure. And they can not only involve in emotions but also be separate from emotions. The affect is prevalent for emotions, it has only the two mental properties of pleasure and displeasure that different intensities, and is accompanied by the mental states of like ro dislike respectively,but does not reflect any objective features of objects. That is,the sensation has only the objective features but has no subjective natures; the affect has only the subjective natures but has no objective features. So, if emotion is made up of the two different mental entity of sensation and affect by reason of they are activated simultaneously or in succession, it is inevitable that it will makes the affect as if has the objective features and makes the sensation as if has the subjective natures. In particular, because of the affect itself has no the objective feature of source or location(as its opposite, by sensations, we can feel a object lying on a part of our body,or a color belongs to an object before our eyes,etc), the mental entity of affect will be appended to sensations when it is combined with sensations to form a emotion. That is, it turns the pleasure or displeasure which are the feeling of affect and their intensity translate into the sensations which heve the features of source and location, and it turns the mental states of like ro dislike for affect into the like ro dislike for the objects of sensations from body and outside, and it is indistinguishable in consciousness just as we are unaware of the visual texture actually comes from sense of touch. That is the psychologic phenomena of affect objectified. On the other hand,the sensations(particular the body sensations)in emotion that in different forms of assembling also make their mental properties are appended to the feeling of affect, it makes the simple affect that have only two mental properties of pleasure or displeasure as if has a diversity,thus forming all sorts of emotions. For instance, those sensations result from body change such as muscular tension, a rise in heart rate and so on which may be caused by the motivation of hide or run away and other factors,by reason of they are always, in a form of assembling fixed basically, integrate with the perception of a particular type of situation and an affect of displeasure that produced by the perception, thus they have become part of the unique mental configuration of the emotion of fear, and make the simple affect of displeasure as if has a distinguishable feature.

As for the motivations that embody in many emotions, because of they is organized that they have a directivity of targets a specific object(this is relate to sensation), and they are also under the control of the mental state of like ro dislike (this is related to affect), it should be the mutual product of sensation and affect when they have integrated. And they may rely on past experiences. If motivation is the organized drive, the mental states of like ro dislike in emotions are this drive. It is generally acknowledged that the sensation reflects the objective features of body and outside objects, and the essential function of emotion reflects the organism’s inherent needs. The essential function of emotion should be only belong to affect that as the essential component of emotion; and the happen-evolution of sensations are serve for the affect. It may be because of the combination of affect and sensation, enable maki connections between our inherent needs and objective things, thus can forming the specific motivation by experience. For instance, a simple fear, its mental component including,first,the sensation of present object and a strong affect of displeasure,their combination makes the mantal state of affect that dislike/rejection transfer(or ascribe) to the sensation of object, thus forms the motivation of shun the object. That is, in particular emotions, the general affect provides mental states of like ro dislike(drive) and the feature of intensity,the specific sensations provide the features of sources in body or outside object (direction), the combination of the two forming a behavioral motivation. So the adaptive function of emotions, in essence, in the mental state of like or dislike that are inherent in the affect component of emotions.

2.2. The objectification of affect in sensory feeling

The affect is also often mentioned when people talk about the sensory feelings such as pain, hunger, thirst, smell, taste, choking, temperature and sexual pleasure,etc. Johnston thinks that the common important property of all the emotions and sensory feelings is the evaluative feeling. Or, all of they show different hedonic tone, positive or negative 5. That is, like all the emotions,all the sensory feelings are also accompanied by the feelings of pleasure or displeasure and the mental state of like or dislike besides their own specific component. In neural basis, studies have shown that the productions of all the sensory feelings, there are the neural informations of sensory pathways reach the cerebral cortex, and are also other neural informations reach limbic system that as emotional processing area. This suggests that in mental entity and neural basis,the feelings of pleasure or displeasure in sensory feelings may be essentially the same with the affect in emotions. Thus, all the sensory feelings may be also the complex feeling consist of the sensations of cortex and the affect of limbic system.

Take the pain for example,studies show that the Lateral spinothalamic tract has two pathways(fast and slow)for nociceptive information to reach the brain. The information of fast pathway travel to the somatosensory cortex via thalamus (specific sensory channels), it produces a well-localized sharp pain (also called fast pain or first pain), but we do not feel the pain is very fierce. This pathway also produces the sensation of injury type. The information of slow pathway travel to the limbic system via hypothalamus,it produces a fierce and intolerable burning pain (also called slow pain or second pain),and companion has a so-called affective component of pain6. Other studies have show that the slow pathway is just the mediated pathway of the affective component of pain7. Obviously,when the slow pain in limbic system occurs(it is about 0.5s slower than the fast pain ), the sharp pain and the sensations of site and injury type in somatosensory cortex are still exist,only added on the character of slow pain to them. It indicates that a complete sensation of pain is the complex feeling consist of the sensations of sharp pain, site,injury type in cortex and the burning pain and its affective component (i.e., affect) in limbic system. If considering the facts that any stimulus applied directly to the cerebral cortex can’t causes pain, as well as some clinical operation do not need anesthesia in the sensory pathways that lead to cortex 8, we have reason to believe that the sharp pain in cortex that “do not feel very fierce” may be just a neutral specific sensation of body the same as the sensations of site and injury type,which itself do not possess the nature of “feel afflictive” that in the experience of pain, but because of the subsequent affective component of pain in limbic system is superposed with it, this neutral sensation of body as if has a nature of afflictive (i.e., a form of affect objectified), thus forming so-called the burning pain that has both a specific sensation of body and a strong feeling of displeasure and its mental state of repulsion,that is a true pain. And it combines with the sensations of site and injury type to forms a complete so-called pain sensation. Craig even thinks even, “Pain can be either unpleasant (as usual) or pleasant (as when it relieves an intense itch). 9 ” The pain he described here may be only suitable for the cortical component of pain sensation. Clinical study found that if a stimulus that can cause normal person’s pain sensation applied to the patients with congenital analgia,they can recognize the stimulating site of skin and picotement, but can not feel pain6 (obviously, there is also no the feeling of displeasure and the mental state of repulsion); while the patients with somatosensory cortex damage will appear the planotopokinesia of pain stimulus, but can produce the feeling of displeasure and withdraw behavior (also, this feeling of displeasure won’t have the characters of bodily pain, but it probably resembles a affect in emotion, and it has even combined with others sensations to form a emotion). This indicates that normal person’s pain sensation may be the former site and anothers neutral sensations from body plus the latter  affect of displeasure. And both can be separated.
Likewise, in the higher mammals,olfactory center is located in the frontal cortex,and the olfactory message is also transmits to limbic system such as amygdala and cingulate gyrus;the gustatory message is also transmits to hypothalamus and central amygdaloid nucleus when it is transmit to insular cortex; the temperature  sensation be known as the result of the integration between limbic system and somatosensory cortex. Obviously, these sensory feelings are accompanied by a obvious feeling of pleasure or displeasure,this feeling should be their the component of affect in limbic system. So these sensory feelings may be also the whole feeling consist of the sensations in cortex and the affect in limbic system. Furthermore,from the view of phenomenon, these sensory feelings also showed that their sensation and affect can be separated. For instance, the“sensation”of“cool” feels pleasant if your body is hot, but it feels gnawingly unpleasant if you are chilled9;and a taste you usually enjoyed, it can become disgusting at times.
It is generally believed that the subjective nature(pleasure or displeasure)of sensory feelings accord with the biological significance(benefit and harm )to organism. For instance, these unpleasant feelings such as pain, foul odors, cold, hunger and thirst,all they meaning that the organism is or may be injured or in the state of physiologic deprivation; while those pleasant feelings such as sweet, satiety, “quench thirst”, warmth, sexual pleasure and so on,all they meaning that the organism is nourished, recovered from deprivation and its species is reproduced5. And some sensory feelings are regulated by immediate physiologic needs8. For instance, the fresh water that normally tasteless can become very sweet when the body has a serious water shortage. Some studies also suggest that the messages which are related with the biological significance to organism can also reach the brain by humoral signals and engender feelings2. For instance, when we are hungry, sometimes we feel an uneasiness and even headache,it is because of the signal of blood sugar level significantly reduced reach the brain via the bloodstream;and during puberty, we often feel body is light and in a happy mood, it’s because of much sex hormone flow into the brain5. The consistency between sensory feelings and the biological significance to organism, what it reflects should be the consistency between the affect and the biological significance to organism. For instance, we drink a cup of iced drink when we are hot and thirsty,on the one hand, this stimulation which is good for the body can engenders the pleasant sensory feelings (include whose specific sensation and pleasant affect )such as sweet and the “thorough cool” from mouth,esophagus and stomach,on the other hand, because of the complement of water in blood and generates a retrieval change in blood chemistry, it can too produces pleasant affect in the brain, and will be appended on the specific sensory components of the tastes and temperatures and other sensations of body that produced when the ice drink sinks. Thus forms the actual feeling of “quench thirst”, and in which makes the mental state of like that inherent in pleasant affect (or the liking for pleasant affect mentally) converted into the liking for the specific sensory components of the gustation, thermoesthesia and other sensations of body,and appear the consistency between the subjective nature of sensory feelings and the biological significance to organism.

Therefore,all kinds of sensory feelings may be equally the complex feeling consist of the two separable mental entities of the sensation in cortex and the affect in limbic system. And their combination makes the affect of pleasure or displeasure in the brain possesses the source of body and other sensory features, and shows the psychological phenomenon of affect objectified. And this phenomenon allow us to consciously make the regulation of life by sensory feelings. For instance,in the pain sensation,the combination of the mental state of repulsion for the strong unpleasant affect and the body sensations makes us can produce avoidance behavior by experiences,to avoid bodily injury (such behavior might become the rapid reaction of conditioned reflex in the future). As in emotions,the adaptive function of sensory feelings also roots in whose mental state of like or dislike that contained in affect.

3. A possible mechanism: the production of mental affect is the reactivation of physiologic affect

From the above we can see that it is possible that all the emotions and sensory feelings are the complex feeling consist of sensation and affect. And there may be consistency and the same origin in mental entity and in neural basis between the affect in sensory feelings ( the affect in sensory feelings and the affect that arise from others physiologic processes are hereinafter referred to as physiologic affect because of they often arise from direct physiologic stimulus or this stimulus has actual or potential physiologic significance for organism )and the affect in emotions (hereinafter referred to as mental affect because of it is usually produced by mental activity). Now it is certain that we have the innate neural mechanisms that produce the physiologic affect, as the neural mechanism of pain sensation mentioned above. In the sensory feelings, when a stimulus produces the sensations through distinct sensory channels,it also directly produces the affect in limbic system,this combination of the two forming various whole sensory feelings. And that,various stimuli have significant consistency with the nature of affect(pleasure or displeasure) that they produced. Therefore,it is no doubt that the physiologic affect can be produced by innate mechanism. But in the emotions, as we know, the emotions are usually produced by the visual and auditory information as well as mental activity. Unlike the sensory feelings, there is lack of the consistency between the subjective nature of emotions and the sensory inputs, sometimes even opposite. This also means that it has not consistency between the nature of mental affects and the sensory inputs. Therefore,it is very possible that we have no the innate neural pathways direct corresponding to any environmental stimulus that can produces ous mental affect. While if the mental affect is activated by acquired mechanisms, this activation of affect must be a conditioned activation. So, what is the unconditioned one which as the basis of this conditioned activation? Based on the hypothesis of the emotion and sensory feeling are consist of the two detachable mental entities of sensation and affect, and on the truth that some neural structures in limbic system are the common neural bases of sensory feeling and emotion that we have already known, we can deliver the assumption: for an individual, the production of his every mental affect is the reactivation of his physiologic affect at first. Thus the mental affect that as a conditioned response has a possible basis of the unconditioned response.

It is universally recognized that conditioned reflex can be established between any the different nerve processes that take place at the same time or in succession,including between the nerve processes of cognition, emotion and sensory feeling, even between mental processes and physiologic change. It is well known that it is a conditioned reflex when a dog sees food to produces saliva. This is because of the dog’s vision process about food had established nerve connection with its correlated process in hypothalamus that control salivation due to they take place at the same time or in succession when it was eating in the past,when the dog see food again, in certain conditions (as starvation), it will cause the conditioned reflex of the correlated nerve process in hypothalamus by this vision process, to produces saliva excretive. Unfortunately,it has never been reported in the literatures that whether the dog was also very happy at that time( as we are both of run at the mouth and very happy when we see plenty of waxberry on a tree under we are hot and thirsty for a long time). But from the performance of any dog when it sees somebody brings its food,we can infer that the dog also had a emotion of happy when it salivates. Although we can not confirm dog’s the affect in its this happy emotion is the reactivation of the physiologic affect in its the gustation,smell and nutritive process that produced when it eated in the past, but at least it’s a possibility. That is, when dog’s vision process about food activates the nerve process of hypothalamus in limbic system that control salivation, it might also activates the old physiologic affects in the sensory feelings of gustation and olfaction etc that also in limbic system and had been connections with it,and the affects combines with the present visual images and other sensations to form the happy emotion. Then, according the similarities on brain structures and their function between human and other mammals, as well as conditioned reflex is the common workings of neural activities, we can extend this possibility into the state: because of our the process of a visual or auditory is simultaneous (or in succession) with our the process of a sensory feeling, when we perform the similar visual or auditory activity again in the future, it may activate the old physiologic affect which in this sensory feeling,thus the mental affect is occured.
For instance, one hot day, we are very thirsty after a long walk, just then we suddenly get a long cool drink, we immediately feel very pleased. It means that within our brain an intense pleasant affect is produced just by the visual stimulus before we began to drink the cool drink(before we have received the physiologic stimulus)just through the visual stimulation,and the affect has been combined with present visual images and other mental contents to form this pleased emotion. This mental affect in the pleased emotion may be the reactivation of the physiologic affect in the past sensory feeling of “quench thirst”. The possible generation mechanism of this mental affect is that due to we often saw the cool drink in a cup or bottle when we got the feeling of “quench thirst” since our childhood, it makes the possibility that the two nerve processes of the related visual activity and the feeling of “quench thirst”can arouse each other’s conditioned response under proper conditions. Thus, later when we suddenly get a cup of cool drink under we are very thirst, the new similar visual perception could activate the previous feeling of quench thirst or part of its nerve process, that is, or it might only activate the affect component of the feeling of quench thirst( we have seen that the sensation and affect in sensory feeling are detachable, and their nerve bases are housed in different brain areas, so it is possible that their conditioned reactions can be produced, independently, by other perception processes ), and combines with it to form a new complex feeling that is the emotion of pleased which has both a pleasant affect and the visual image of a long cool drink, or also has the perceived contents of the event or persons that enable us to get the cool drink. And in this emotion we make our liking for the pleasant愉 affect converted into the love for the cool drink, event or persons.

For another example, looking at the relationship between pain sensation and fear. Although there are some cases of conditioned pain sensation in clinical practices, such as a ballet dancer, her toes pain as soon as she heard Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake10, but this type of phenomenon is very rare. The conditioned response of pain sensation is usually displayed in another form. That is, it is generally not a original pain sensation of body that produced by the conditioned stimuli related to pain, but usually is the emotion of fear. Studies have shown that almost any kind of pain sensation can translates into fear quickly. For example,a tone together repeatedly with electric shock to animal foot, this tone can induce animal fear rather than pain sensation;a visual perception of fur together repeatedly with a pain sensation,the visual perception of fur can also induce fear. Another situation is if the strong noise appears when a baby see a animal, after many repetitions, as soon as the animal arise, the baby is fear, rather than cause his sensation of strong noise. Johnston summed up these results of classical conditioned reflex:the common component for strong noise and pain sensation is their feeling of displeasure, namely their negative hedonic tone; what the conditioned stimulus produces is the hedonic tone that once related with it,rather than a specific sensation. As a result of the acquired linkage between conditioned stimulus and negative hedonic tone, the fear is produced5. If use the concept of this paper, it can be interpret this phenomenon as: the conditioned response of pain sensation is usually just the affect component of the pain sensation (pain affect) rather than a whole pain sensation. And it is the pain affect which is activated by conditioned stimulus integrate with the sensation of conditioned stimulus to forms the emotion of fear (or the initial feature of the emotion of fear. There will be the sensory feedback of the body changes of fear soon after). For example, the fear which produced when a child sees nurses in the hospital, in which the component of affect may be the reactivation of the pain affect(a intense unpleasant affect) in the pain sensation that induced by injections in the past. Its possible generation mechanism is that because of the pain sensation and the visual perception of nurses in white was always appeared together when he received injections in the past, the neural connection would be established in his brain between the visual perception and the pain affect. So, in certain conditions, when the visual stimulus of a nurse appear again and it activate tis old similar visual perception (it has been known that the production of visual perceptions depend on the reactivation of old similar visual perceptions), the old visual perception also causes the reactivation of pain affect in limbic system that have been established neural connection with it, so the intense unpleasant affect is produced. At the same time,possibly as a result of the influences of some behavioral motivations(as the motivation of run away ) , intense affect and other factors, a series of activities in the nervous system of muscle exercise and autonomic nervous system are produced, so excites the body changes of muscle, heart beat, respiration and so on, and they produce new nerve impulses and are transmitted to his brain to form the sensations of muscular tension, heart pound and polypnea, etc. When the above three mental contents that occured at the same time are combined together, thus form his this emotion of fear that there are a visual image of nurse, an intense unpleasant affect and those sensations of body. And in this complex feeling,he makes his mental states of repulsion and dislike for his own unpleasant affect converted into his avoidance and abhor for the nurse,that is,a afraid of nurse.

The above is a tentative explanation of the physiologic affect is the basis for the production of mental affect. If it is a truth of psychological phenomenon, it is easy to imagine that when the initial neural connections have been established between the physiologic affects in limbic system and those basic cognitive forms such as visual and auditory images, it builds a bridge for the mechanism that produces mental affect through more complicated cognitive processes (including the activities of language and thought that are based on the sensations of vision and hearing) ,thus enable the physiologic affect is indirectly activated in more roundabout and intricate ways,and it combine with the new sensations to form all kinds of complicated emotions. Perhaps it’s just this mechanism that makes the mysterious emotion as the water which has a source,and makes our emotional need can be connected with our physiologic need, and makes the emotional value of object can be consistent with the biological significance of our organism. Just as what Johnston said,“classical conditioning convert hedonic tone from important biological events to portentous events,and based on which the second set of reward and punishment system is produced. 5

4. The production mechanism of the body changes of emotion

Obviously, the sensations of body states are derived from the neural signals of body changes.The major body changes that often accompanying emotions include muscular tension,a rise in heart rate, polypnea,blood pressure heighten,gastrointestinal digestion inefficient,palms hot and so on. From the view of phenomenon, there are two major features to emotional body change: (1) Under the comparable intensity, these emotions which are accompanied by the obvious behavioral motivation or motion intention will be more strong body changes, like the fear and anger that usually are accompanied by the motivations of run away or attack and some specific motion intentions. While those emotions which we need not answer them by drastic motions, or we only need to enjoy them, whose body changes are relatively low,like sadness, happiness and pleased,etc 11.(2)Any emotion has strong body change if which has a high intensity, the more strong an emotion, the more strong its body change. For instance, the emotion of happiness which without motivation also has a high heart rate when it has a very strong intensity. These suggests that the emotional body changes seem related to the influence of the direct motion intentions or the behavioral motivation that contain motion intentions on motor system, as well as to the activated intensity of some neural structures in limbic system which produce emotions. If we take into account these and the universality of the phenomenons of conditioned reflex in nervous system, as well as the “associability” of sympathetic nervous system that controls body changes, the production of emotional body changes might have the following several mechanisms:

1. The influence from motion intentions. Obviously, the body changes occur not only in the state of emotion, but also when we ran up the many flights of stairs or playing sports. Sports physiology experiment have shown that when people are imagining doing sports, there are similar body changes compared with the actual body sports,merely decrease in intensity. For instance, when we are imagining curl our arm inwards, can produce small contractile activity in the arm flexor 12. It suggests that our motion intention too can produce some degree of the body changes that produced by actual body sports (especially in the intention is quite intense) because of imagine a motion and a motion intention are both based on the activation of the representation system of actual motion in the brain. And further, the neural energy produced when we really want to do a motion( having a motion intentions) should be much higher than we only imagine a motion. And obviously, there are some the motivations of body behaviors and direct motion intentions (including of subconscious process) when we in some emotional atates, so that they might produce the relevant body changes that are similar with produced by actual body movement. For example, when we are fear, some intentions of defensive motions or the motivation of run away are usually very strong. Even if we were in hiding and still hardly daring to breathe, these intentions and motivations still strong, so may produces the body changes that are similar with in actual run away movement or defensive motions (and the body changes will be promote by the state of emotion. The possible causes for this promotion effect will be discussed in article 3 below). It is known that the physical arousal patterns of fear and anger have a lot of overlap,this is most probably because they are both accompanied by the intense motivation of body activity and the motion intention.

2. Conditioned body response. Sports physiology showed that before the training, as a result of the stimuli of athletic field environment and music, will cause the athletes to the conditioned reflexes such as a rise in heart rate, blood pressure rise, breath quickened and so on 13. That is, the body changes that produced by previous sports training in similar circumstance are caused by conditioned stimuli. Other studies have found that when people swimming in winter, before people enter the hypothermia,the regulatory mechanism of homoiothermism has been launched in advance by visual stimulus,and heat production is increased and heat dissipation is reduced 14. These conditioned reflex activities also called feedforward adaptive control,which seem to make the body responses have the foresight, and prepares for physiologic adjustment reaction as early as possible. But in essence,they are all as a result of the interplay between the two nervous system of the represents environments and the controls body changes in the brain, and what they reflect are the conditioned reflex that as a natural function of nervous system. (Obviously, the above these abilities of environmental stimulus to produce body changes ars not inherent in themselves, but rely on the reactivation of the old neural activities of represent environments that have been connection with body changes) Well then,it is known that the emotions are produced by situations, the situations are usually the environment or events that similarities with the environments or events which has produced our sensory feelings or emotions in the past. Thus, the same as these perceptions of environments, when the situational stimulation produces our emotion, it may also produces the body changes that produced in the similar state of emotion in the past,and this process is promoted by present state of emotion. For example,if we have had the drastic body movements of ran away or attacked and their body changes whan we were fear or anger in the past, it is possible to produces the conditioned responses of our those body changes under the new stimulus of the situation of fear or anger.

3. The epiphenomenon of the activation of affect in the brain. Because of the neural bases of affect and the part of autonomic nervous system within the brain that controls the body changes are both located in the core place in the brain, and there are extensive and interactive parallel neural connection between these neural structures8,when any one of these neural structures is activating, it may make the direct or conditioned influence on the others, especially under its activation intensity is high. Therefore,part of the because of the emotional body changes is the epiphenomenon of the activation of the affect in emotions. In addition, because of the anatomical placement neighborhood of these neural structures, as well as the activation of affect meaning that its neural energy is increased, it may be the causes of the promotion effect of the emotional state on the body changes that produced by the behavioral motivation, motion intention and environmental stimulus.

4. The main characters of autonomic nervous system are the associability and autonomy,whose performance in the body’s physiologic responses are they mutual coordination and influence each other. Thus, some body changes may be a cause of other body changes. For instance, the whole-body muscular tension of fear, if it persists for an appreciable time will consume a lot of energy, it certainly will heighten the activity of heart to pump blood, then there are the effects on respiratory system and other physiologic system.

In summary, because of there are extensive connection between various neural structures in the brain and the universality of the phenomenon of conditioned reflex, all the emotional body changes may be a joint result of the four mechanisms at least. The former two are the response that regulated by intention and conditioned response, they related to body movement, and belonging to the products of cognitive system and motor system. The 3 belonging to the epiphenomenon of the activation of affect in the brain. The 4 belonging to the autoregulation of autonomic nerve system. So-called the physical ready state of some emotional behaviors from “preparedness bypothesis”(as fight-flight reaction), they may actually be caused by these acquired causes. At least, even if we haven’t so-called the “innately preset devices” inherited from gene that produce the emotional body changes, our the same body changes can also be produced by situational stimulus under above these acquired and realistic mechanisms.

References

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[8] Jiourong Sun.(2001)Introduction to Brain Science. Beijing:BJ University Press. 

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[10] Guanru Dai & Meng Dai.(2005) The Finding of Inverse Pain:the biological principles of pain and its application. Beijing:,Military Medical Science Press.  

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[13] Xirang Yang (editor in chief ). (2006) Practical Athletic Physiology. Beijing:Beijing Sport University Publishing House.

[14] Ling Kong(editor in chief).(2008) Normal  Human Body Function. Hefei:University of Science and Technology of China Press.