Edmund T. Rolls

The Brain, Emotion and Depression 

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The Brain, Emotion and Depression
Oxford University Press.
ISBN 9780198832249

What produces emotions? Why do we have emotions? How do we have emotions? Why do emotional states feel like something? What is the relation between emotion, reward value, and subjective feelings of pleasure? How is the value of a good represented in the brain? Will neuroeconomics replace classical microeconomics? How does the brain implement decision-making? Are gene-defined rewards and emotions in the interests of the genes? Does rational multistep planning enable us to go beyond selfish genes to plans in the interests of the individual? This book seeks explanations of emotion and decision-making by considering these questions.

 The Brain, Emotion, and Depression provides a unified approach to emotion, reward value, economic value, and decision-making, and their brain mechanisms. The evolutionary, adaptive value of the processes involved in emotion, the neural networks involved in emotion and decision-making, and the issue of conscious emotional feelings are all considered.

The book will be valuable for those in the fields of neuroscience, neurology, psychology, psychiatry, biology, animal behaviour, economics, and philosophy from the advanced undergraduate level upwards, and for all interested in emotion, decision-making, and depression, including non-specialists for whom there are special sections of the book.

The topics covered include:

The nature of emotion, and a theory of emotion

The functions of emotion, including a Darwinian theory of the adaptive value of emotion, which helps to illuminate many aspects of brain design and behaviour

The brain mechanisms of emotion

Affective states and motivated behaviour: hunger and sexual behaviour

The pharmacology of emotion, and brain mechanisms for action



Emotional feelings, and consciousness

The front cover shows part of the picture Ulysses and the Sirens painted in 1891 by John William Waterhouse. The metaphor relevant to understanding emotion is the rational conscious brain system in Ulysses resisting the gene-based emotion-related attractors, the sirens, by asking to be tied to the mast.