Basic securities must be afforded to each and every member of the community, and violations of these vital interests are not justified, whether they be perpetrated by other individuals or government, since they contravene the distributive elements of utilitarian theory. From early on in his utilitarian theorizing, Bentham understood that the achievement of utilitarian objectives in practice required the translation of the utility principle into elements amenable to implementation in ways that the philosophically abstract principle itself could not be. Concrete manifestations of happiness, for example, could be found in personal security and reduced crime rates, enhanced health and declining death rates, broader opportunities for education, the reduction of diseases caused by sewage pollution, and so on.
This deficiency did not, however, prevent him from developing the theoretical apparatus to direct the formulation of such laws. This was more than the Humean observation that utility is embedded in customary rules that have evolved over time. Where the jurist detects deficiencies, new rules and precepts must be developed that demonstrably accord with the utility principle.
The greatest happiness principle sets the over-arching objective and is the critical standard against which existing practices are to be judged. As such, it stands ever ready to be summoned forth whenever new guidelines are needed, subordinate ends conflict, or existing laws require amendment, refinement, or further elaboration. However, in practice it is the secondary elements of the theory that do the work of producing beneficial outcomes. In this way, they give practical concreteness to the philosophically abstract end of the greatest happiness. The subordinate ends of civil law are security, subsistence, abundance, and equality, in this order of priority.
This is entirely consistent with the view that, properly understood, the utility principle entails a presumption in favour of an equal distribution, unless there is compelling empirical evidence that utility would not be served by such a policy. However, he refused to countenance the idea that policies to redistribute wealth at the cost of security would be beneficial either to social prosperity or individual wellbeing. Bentham believed that facilitating individuals in the pursuit of their interests in a free market is what government should do, because this is the proven best way to maximise the public good.
Where laissez-faire does not produce the best result, however, the legislator must act in other direct and indirect ways to produce the optimal outcome. But radical schemes for property re-distribution are ruled out; the axiomatic requirement that each be treated equally, that the happiness of each be counted, justified policies to equalize the distribution of goods only where this could be achieved without disappointing legitimate expectations.
Just as the primary purpose of civil law is economic security and national prosperity, so it draws powerful support from the protection afforded persons, property and expectations by the threat of punishment —43, III, To this end, utilitarian penal law is framed in terms of the principal objective of deterrence, but it also embraces the secondary ends of disablement, moral reformation, and compensation see Crimmins b.
The effectiveness of the theory in practice depends on two additional features: offences must be classified solely on the basis of the harm perpetrated, and there must be an appropriate proportion between crimes and punishments. It is because of its failure to satisfy the first feature that Bentham rejected the prevailing criminalization of consensual sexual acts, and developed the first systematic defence of sexual liberty in the English language.
In settling the required proportions of punishment, Bentham recognised he had burdened the legislator with a vastly complex task—the calculation of the correct quantity and type of pain needed to achieve the desired ends, in particular the objective of deterrence. Bentham first examined the utility of the death penalty in the s when he delineated the principles of penal law —43, I, —50; see also , Ch. In sum, it is a special application of his utilitarian theory of punishment.
The framework of analysis is presented as an objective, neutral exercise, by which the benefits and costs of the death penalty in cases of murder are assessed in comparison with life imprisonment with hard labour. All things considered, Bentham believed the weight of the calculation worked against the death penalty on the grounds of deterrence, the fact that it is inequable in its application, falling mainly on the shoulders of the poor, and because it is a form of punishment that is irremissible in the face of judicial error.
By , however, he abandoned the exceptions and argued that no offence warranted capital punishment UC cvii. Subordinate ends are also evident in the design and management of the panopticon prison: security and economy are foremost, but tempered by humanity and accountability. This view of the panopticon has opened up some interesting lines of discourse on the encroaching methods of control and surveillance in contemporary liberal societies Brunon-Ernst The end of economy determined that the panopticon prison should be a private self-sustaining operation not requiring financial assistance from the public purse.
Security determined that the community be protected from convicted criminals, and severity in punishment was to serve the ends of deterrence and reformation. But security also required that the inmate be protected from cruel treatment, and humanity determined that prisoners should be deprived only of liberty not health or life. Prisoners were to be kept clean and their labour made productive and profitable, including the development of skills that might be useful to them when released. In support of these objectives, Bentham invoked several devices to effect transparency and accountability in prison government.
And, just as the panopticon was to be monitored by the publication of regular reports, so reports of government activity were required to keep the democratic polity informed and facilitate the accountability of public officials. When Bentham turned his thoughts to constitutional law in earnest in the s, partly inspired by constitution-making in parts of southern Europe, it was with the conviction that all states in which the institutions of representative democracy already existed or in which they could be introduced were fertile soil for the utilitarian pannomion.
The administrative, electoral and legislative details of this project occupied much of the last decade of his life, with its core ideas discussed in the pages of a variety of works in addition to the Code , such as Securities Against Misrule , First Principles Preparatory to Constitutional Code , and Official Aptitude Maximized; Expense Minimized. The subsidiary principles of accountability, efficiency, and economy underpinned the institutional design and procedural operations elaborated in these writings.
It is imperative, therefore, to devise mechanisms that will ensure that only by acting in the public interest could they promote their own interests. Given the extensive powers Bentham envisaged the thirteen ministries of the reformed government would possess—far more power in the areas of public health, education, and relief of the poor and indigent than existed at the time—further safeguards would be required.
Intellectual and active aptitude were to be tested through an examination process, though this would come to naught if the appointed official did not possess the appropriate moral aptitude —43, IX, Other devices designed to ensure, encourage, and test the required aptitude of public officials include: 1 the precise definition of responsibilities attached to each office, against which the actions of officials could be judged by either a superordinate official or the public; 2 the principle of subordination, according to which every official was subordinate to another who could punish him for inefficiency in the performance of his tasks; 3 complete exposure to legal prosecution of all officials for wrong-doing; 4 the elimination of the practice of handing out unwarranted titles of honour to party supporters and other favourites; 5 complete publicity of government business and the elimination of secrecy; and 6 freedom of the press, speech and association see Rosen , Ch.
In the first sense of the term it is seemingly impossible for there to be a law that deliberately functions contrary to the will of the legislature.
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However, Bentham also held that all political authority, no matter what form it takes, is necessarily limited by its capacity to compel obedience from the people. And in Of the Limits of the Penal Branch of Jurisprudence he explained that this implies two volitions, both of which are necessary components of a complete theory of sovereignty: on the one hand, the enactments of a legislature and, on the other, the will of the people to obey those enactments.
The POT would scrutinize the actions of elected representatives, public and judicial officials, prosecuting charges where they are found remiss in their responsibilities, censoring misrule and imposing penalties when applicable. In these terms, the POT would be the leading security against the misuse and abuse of power , Vital to the functioning of the POT is the dissemination of information.
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In the first instance this would require the establishment of a public archive of government actions and activities containing records of law, policy, legislative debate, and statistics, which the government would be constitutionally required to make available to the public by a freedom of information provision in the constitutional code to ensure transparency. Secondly, it would require an unshackled press to ensure widespread publicity and the freedom to criticize unimpeded by censorship or gagging orders.
Here Bentham drew upon his essay On the Liberty of the Press, and Public Discussion to point out the dangers of laws designed to limit these liberties. Bentham did not consider that the effectiveness of the POT as a check on misrule could be undermined by secret government methods to limit the flow of information, nor did it occur to him that a press dominated by the views of one class could subvert the veracity of the information it disseminated. He pinned his faith on transparency and publicity Postema , Ideally, the public would be adequately informed, and the POT would be constituted by those among the public who were both knowledgeable and concerned about the issues before it.
Its judgements could change as new evidence came to light or as new arguments were enunciated, and it could be fragmented or unified in its view in proportion to the variety of individual opinions expressed. During the revolutionary years in France, Dumont fed his ideas into the debates over judicial, legal, penal and legislative reform, and if his proposals had little impact on the social and political improvements undertaken they yet contributed to the direction of French liberalism Champs It was from this platform that Bentham was able to promote himself as a potential codifier of the laws in countries near and far.
Despite the herculean efforts of Dumont, however, his ideas received a mixed reception in France see Champs , Ch. On the other hand, self-interest and the utility principle was rejected by Germaine de Stael as an impoverished grounding for moral duty, and rejected by other reformers such as Benjamin Constant who grounded their liberalism on natural rights. Earlier, in , Bentham had counselled the French National Convention to divest itself of its colonies on the grounds of their disutility though the text Emancipate Your Colonies!
Santander, who was more inclined to resist the influence of the Catholic Church, restored it to the curriculum of the universities when he became President of the newly constituted state of Colombia in A year later he published in Greek A General Theory of Administrative Systems and especially of the Parliamentary One, Accompanied by a Short Treatise on Justices of the Peace and Juries in England , containing a defense of representative government and advocating a judicial system based on utilitarian principles, replete with references to Bentham Peonidis David Hoffman first introduced utilitarian ideas into legal education in America at the University of Maryland in the early s.
The reviews paid particular attention to the systematic presentation of the theory of civil law, which also impressed itself on the teaching of law in the newly independent states of South America, where property rights were a matter of considerable importance in the aftermath of the collapse of the Spanish and Portuguese empires. Thomas Cooper, who left England for the United States in with Joseph Priestley, from whom he initially derived his utilitarianism, was a confirmed Benthamite by the s and the intended recipient of writings Bentham entrusted to John Quincy Adams.
Thereafter Cooper employed utilitarian principles in his writings on law and political economy, most notably in Lectures on the Elements of Political Economy Edward Livingston, the famous author of codes of law for Louisiana, corresponded with Bentham, who sent him books for his research.
Inspired by Bentham, Vale was in favour of humane penal laws that proportioned penalties to the objective of deterrence and an advocate of state intervention to alter the social circumstances that fostered crime. Mill, and Henry Sidgwick. Throughout the following century his influence continued to be felt, particular in discussions of moral and legal philosophy and economic theory and practice. In he was hired to tutor J.
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Mill in Roman law, began attending meetings of the Utilitarian Society established by the younger Mill in , and in was appointed to the Chair of Jurisprudence at the newly founded University of London, where he was the first in England to introduce utilitarian ideas into legal education. Around this time, however, partly in response to the challenge of T.
Though, like Bentham, an advocate of representative democracy based on universal suffrage, Mill also made several proposals to temper the potential excesses of unconstrained majoritarian institutions. However, he also developed the theory of diminishing marginal utility, furnishing the legislator with a conceptual tool by which to address the uneven distribution of social happiness. The collectivist conclusions Bentham drew from this principle were modest in scope, but later reformist economists like W.
Jevons , impressed by the idea that social utility could be calculated based on the aggregate of individual interests, developed the theory in the direction of modern welfare economics. Reform-minded liberals such as J. Hobson and L. Constant preferred the prescriptions of natural law as the philosophical basis for government. Other critics, like the Whig reformers James Mackintosh and T. As the 19 th century wore on assailants came forth from all points across the philosophical spectrum. XXIV, sect. Sundry religionists, including those of a philosophical bent like the classicist J. Mayor, intuitionists like William Whewell, and idealists like Green, F.
Bradley, Bernard Bosanquet and D. Ritchie combined to attack its atomism, crude materialism, narrowly construed theory of motivation, and lack of appreciation of the spiritual dimension of the human condition. Like J. Mill, the Pragmatists also dismissed the idea that any single form of the summum bonum could account for the many goods that people seek James , — There have been many critics of Bentham since. Schofield provides an overview of some new directions in Bentham studies, including in the arts and literary studies.
Many of these commentaries have been inspired by the publication of the authoritative volumes in The Collected Works of Jeremy Bentham that began appearing in to replace the poorly edited and incomplete Bowring edition — At the time of writing, 33 of the projected 80 volumes have been published. As new volumes appear the topics of discussion and debate will continue to increase, burnishing the reputation of a philosopher whose ideas remain relevant in a great number of areas of interest to moralists, psychologists, economists, historians, legal and political philosophers.
Michael Quinn and David Lieberman, generous and wise colleagues, gave careful attention to an earlier draft of this article and I am greatly indebted to them for the important improvements they recommended. Life and Writings 2. Philosophical Foundations 3. Pains and Pleasures 3. Later Improvements 4. Subordinate Ends, Principles and Maxims 6.
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Civil Law and Political Economy 7. Penal Law and Punishment 8. Panopticon 9. Administration, Government, Constitutional Law 9. Influence Pains and Pleasures At the beginning of IPML Bentham offered the famous declamation that underscores the primacy of pains and pleasures in utilitarian theory: Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne.
I further hypothesize that the salience network tunes the internal model by predicting which prediction errors to pay attention to [i. They directly alter the gain on neurons that compute prediction error from incoming sensory input i. Unexpected sensory inputs that are anticipated to have resource implications i. Limbic regions within the salience network may also indirectly signal the precision of incoming sensory inputs via their modulation of the reticular nucleus that encircles that thalamus and controls the sensory input that reaches the cortex via thalamocortical pathways [for relevant anatomy, see Zikopoulos and Barbas, , ; John et al.
Power et al. In addition, I hypothesize that neurons with the frontoparietal control network sculpt and maintain simulations for longer than the several hundred milliseconds it takes to process imminent prediction errors , and they may also help to suppress or inhibit simulations whose priors are very low because those priors are influenced not only by the current sensory array, but also by what the brain predicts for the future. It pays to be flexible, to be able to construct and use patterns that extend over longer periods of time different animals have different timescales that are relevant to their behavioral repertoire and ecological niche.
As a prediction generator, the brain is constructing simulations as concepts across many different timescales i. Therefore, a brain may be pattern matching to categorize not only on short processing timescales of milliseconds but also on much longer timescales seconds to minutes to hours or even longer. The lesson here, for the science of emotion, is that the brain does not process individual stimuli—it processes events across temporal windows. Emotion perception is event perception, not object perception.
Now we can see how a multi-level, constructionist view like the theory of constructed emotion offers an approach to understanding the brain basis of emotion that is consistent with emerging computational and evolutionary biological views of the nervous system. An internal model runs on past experiences, implemented as concepts. A concept is a collection of embodied, whole brain representations that predict what is about to happen in the sensory environment, what the best action is to deal with impending events, and their consequences for allostasis the latter is made available to consciousness as affect.
Unpredicted information i. Once prediction error is minimized, a prediction becomes a perception or an experience. In doing so, the prediction explains the cause of sensory events and directs action; i. In this way, the brain uses past experience to construct a categorization [a situated conceptualization; Barsalou, ; Barsalou et al. The brain continually constructs concepts and creates categories to identify what the sensory inputs are, infers a causal explanation for what caused them, and drives action plans for what to do about them.
When the internal model creates an emotion concept, the eventual categorization results in an instance of emotion. Some of the psychological constructs used in the theory of constructed emotion are species-general e. It is necessary to understand which constructs are species-general vs.
Mistaking one for the other is a category error that interferes with scientific progress. Constructionism, as a scientific paradigm, makes different assumptions than the classical paradigm Barrett, , asks different questions, and requires different methods and analytic procedures than those of the classical view whose methods are ill-suited to testing it.
As a consequence, constructionism is often profoundly misunderstood [for two recent examples, see Anderson and Adolphs, ; Kragel and LaBar, ]. With these observations in mind, here is a partial list of claims I am not making, to avoid further confusion:. I am not saying that emotions are illusions. I am not saying that all neurons do everything a. I am suggesting that a given neuron does more than one thing has more than one receptive field , and that there are no emotion-specific neurons.
I am not claiming that networks are Lego blocks with a static configuration and an essential function. I am suggesting that, when it comes to understanding the physical basis of psychological categories, it is necessary to focus on ensembles of neurons rather than individual neurons. A neuron does not function on its own, and many neurons are part of more than one network.
Moreover, networks function via degeneracy, meaning that a given network has a repertoire of functional configurations i. I am not claiming that subcortical regions are irrelevant to emotion. I hypothesize that an instance of emotion is a brain state that makes the sensory array meaningful, and in so doing engages the pattern generators for whatever actions are functional in the context, given a person's current state.
I am not saying that the default mode and salience networks implement allostasis and therefore should not be mapped to other psychological categories. I am claiming that these and other domain-general networks can be mapped to many psychological categories at the same time. I am not saying that concepts are stored in the default mode network. The whole cascade is an instance of a concept. I am not saying that emotions are deliberate, nor denying that automaticity exists. I am saying that in humans, actual executive control e. All animal brains create concepts to categorize sensory inputs and guide action in an obligatory and automatic way, outside of awareness.
Automaticity and control are different brain modes each of which can be achieved with a variety of network configurations , not two battling brain systems. I am not saying that non-human animals are emotionless. Notice that I am not claiming that a fly feels nothing; it may feel affect Barrett, Scientific revolutions are difficult. At the beginning, new paradigms raise more questions than they answer.
They may explain existing anomalies or redefine lingering questions out of existence, but they also introduce a new set of questions that can be answered only with new experimental and computational techniques. This is a feature, not a bug, because it fosters scientific discovery Firestein, A new paradigm barely gets started before it is criticized for not providing all the answers.
But progress in science is often not answering old questions but asking better ones. The value of a new approach is never based on answering the questions of the old approach. Such is the case with the theory of constructed emotion. Evidence from various domains of research is consistent with the proposed hypotheses for select neuroscience examples, see Table 2 , even as it casts aside some of the old unanswered questions of the classical view.
Much of our understanding of the neural basis of fear comes from studying Patient S. She has difficulty experiencing fear in many normative circumstances e. She is able to mount a normal skin conductance response to an unexpectedly loud sound, but her brain seems not to use arousal as a learning cue in mild situations e.
Interestingly, however, there is other evidence that S. She also spontaneously reports feeling worried.
She can perceive fear in bodies and voices as is evidenced by her efforts to help her friend or call the police for others in danger. By contrast, other patients with Urbach-Wiethe Disease spend a longer time looking at the widened eyes of stereotyped fear poses and have no difficulty correctly categorizing those faces as fearful. It should be noted but rarely is that S.
It is also important to note that S. There seems to be one clear exception: S. They help her with the details of daily life financial and otherwise. It would be interesting to examine whether S. For references, see Table 1 , and also Feinstein et al. Ironically, perhaps the strongest evidence to date for the theory comes from studies that use pattern classification to distinguish categories of emotion.
Several recent articles taking this approach have reported success in differentiating one emotion category from another—a finding that is routinely construed as providing the long awaited support for the classical view Kassam et al. However, patterns that distinguish among the categories in one study do not replicate in the other studies. The same is true for studies that successfully created different patterns of autonomic physiology, despite using the same stimuli and experimental method, and sampling from the same population e.
Stephens et al. Generally speaking, pattern classification results in the science of emotion are routinely misinterpreted. A pattern that diagnoses sadness is not the brain state for sadness but merely a statistical summary of a highly variable set of instances. To assume otherwise is an essentialist error that mistakes a statistical summary for the norm. A classic study by Posner and Keele demonstrated a similar general phenomenon almost half a century ago, and we have confirmed this with a simple mathematical simulation see Clark-Polner, Johnson and Barrett, The theory of constructed emotion is consistent with the older literature on decorticate animals that appears to support the classical view.
As a consequence, these animals appeared to behave emotionally, but the actions were no longer in service of survival. These findings can be interpreted as demonstrating the existence of pattern generators when the machinery of the conceptual system has been removed. Scientists carefully map the circuitry for behaviors or mere movements in some cases in non-human animals, but some mistakenly believe that they are mapping the circuitry for emotions.
An example is observing freezing behavior in a rat e. This error, assuming that an action is equivalent to an emotion, which I call the mental inference fallacy Barrett, , has wreaked havoc with the scientific accumulation of knowledge about emotion also see Barrett, ; LeDoux, Motor movements do not provide a direct indication of an internal state, be it in a rodent, a monkey or a human [e. When viewed in this light, it is an error to claim that studies of the human brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging fMRI yield different results than studies of non-human animal brains with lesions or optogenetics e.
Adolphs, In reality, all are making physical measurements and mapping emotion concepts to them, and no set of findings is described appropriately by classical emotion concepts. Gross and Canteras, But this does not avoid the problem of the mental state fallacy. Furthermore, it makes no sense to elevate categories for anger, sadness, fear, disgust and happiness to a common ethological framework for comparing humans with other animals, when there is ample evidence from linguistics, anthropology and psychology that these categories do not offer a robust, universal framework for comparing humans of different cultures Russell, ; Gendron et al.
Scientists must abandon essentialism and study emotions in all their variety. We must not merely focus on the few stereotypes that have been stipulated based on a very selective reading of Darwin. We must assume variability to be the norm, rather than a nuisance to be explained after the fact. It will never be possible to measure an emotion by merely measuring facial muscle movements, changes in autonomic nervous system signals, or neural firing within the periaqueductal gray or the amygdala.
To understand the nature of emotion, we must also model the brain systems that are necessary for making meaning of physical changes in the body and in the world. This article is a mere sketch of a much larger scientific landscape. The theory of constructed emotion proposes that emotions should be modeled holistically, as whole brain-body phenomena in context. In other words, allostasis predictively regulating the internal milieu and interoception representing the internal milieu are at the anatomical and functional core of the nervous system.
These insights offer a range of new hypotheses—e. The theory of constructed emotion also views the distinction between the central and peripheral nervous systems as historical rather than as scientifically accurate. For example, ascending interoceptive signals bring sensory prediction errors from the internal milieu to the brain via lamina I and vagal afferent pathways, and they are anatomically positioned to be modulated by descending visceromotor predictions that control the internal milieu e. Fields, This suggests the hypothesis that concepts i.
This provides new hypotheses about the chronification of pain see Barrett, that considers pain and emotion as two sides of the same coin, rather than separate phenomena that influence one another. Emotions are constructions of the world, not reactions to it. This insight is a game changer for the science of emotion. It dissolves many of the debates that remained mired in philosophical confusion, and allows us to better understand the value of non-human animal models, without resorting to the perils of essentialism and anthropomorphism.
It provides a common framework for understanding mental, physical, and neurodegenerative disorders e. Ultimately, the theory of constructed emotion equips scientists with new conceptual tools to solve the age-old mysteries of how a human nervous system creates a human mind.
Agranular : Cerebral cortex with the least developed laminar organization involving no definable layer IV, and no clear distinction between the neurons in layers II and III. Allostasis : Regulating the internal milieu by anticipating physiological needs and preparing to meet them before they arise. Concept : Traditionally, a category is a group of instances that are similar for some function or purpose; a concept is the mental representations of those category members.
In the theory of constructed emotion, a concept is a collection of embodied, whole brain representations that predicts what is about to happen in the sensory environment, what the best action is to deal with these impending events, and their consequences for allostasis. Degeneracy : Degeneracy refers to the capacity for biologically dissimilar systems or processes to give rise to identical functions. Degeneracy is different from redundancy which is inefficient and to be avoided.
Dysgranular : Cerebral cortex with a moderately developed laminar organization involving a rudimentary layer IV and better developed layers II and III. They are thought to function as a high-capacity backbone for synchronizing neural activity, integrating information and segregating noise across the entire brain. Internal Milieu : An integrated sensory representation of the physiological state of the body. Laminar Organization : The architectural organization of neurons in a cortical column.
Pattern Generators : Groups of neurons i. An action is a single movement but a behavior is an event. Pattern generators are in the hypothalamus and down in the brainstem near their effector muscles and organs Sterling and Laughlin, ; Swanson, Visceromotor : Internal movements involving autonomic, neuroendocrine, and immune systems. For example, Aristotle placed both thinking and feeling in organs of the body; Descartes kept emotions in the body and placed cognition in the pineal gland of the brain. Even primary sensory neurons are not coding for single sensory features but for associations between one feature like the presence or absence of a line with other sensory features; e.
V1 neurons have receptive fields that include auditory and sensorimotor changes e. Liang et al. Sometimes allostasis involves signaling the need for resources before the body runs out e. When the body is in need of glucose, saliva is pre-emptively secreted even before anything is ingested. Even just imaging food causes glucose secretion. In this regard, we humans have been able to expand our ecological niche and therefore our internal models with technology. Hodgkin and Huxley, , which creates a misleading picture of how the nervous system functions Marder, For a similar view, see Dewey, Nonetheless, the history of science is laced with the idea that the mind drives perception [e.
There is accumulating evidence that prediction and prediction error signals oscillate at different frequencies within the brain e. Arnal and Giraud, ; Bressler and Richter, ; Brodski et al. For your entire life, your brain is entombed in a dark, silent box i. It has to figure out the causes of sensory events outside your skull to guide action in the service of allostasis, but all it has access to their consequences in the form of sights, sounds, smells, touches, tastes and interoceptive sensations i.
So, your brain is faced with a problem of reverse inference: any given sensation—a flash of light or a sound or an ache or cramp—can have many different causes. In addition, the sensory information is dynamically changing, noisy, and ambiguous. Your brain solves this puzzle by using the only other source of information available to it—past experiences—to create simulations that predict incoming sensory events before their consequences arrive to the brain. In this way, your brain efficiently uses the statistical regularities from its past to anticipate future events that must be dealt with.
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This distinction makes sense for natural kind categories where the boundaries exist independent of perceivers or when the instances of a category share physical similarities — some set of statistical regularities in their sensory aspects or perceptual features e. In many cases, however, the boundary between a category and its concept is blurred. For example, consider a category whose instances share a similar function, but do not share any physical features e. These conceptual categories have also been called abstract or nominal categories.
Biological categories are conceptual categories, as we learned in On the Origin of Species. The categories of social reality, such as flowers and weeds, or emotion categories, are conceptual because functions are imposed on physically disparate instances by virtual of collective agreement Barrett, Primary interoceptive cortex is relatively less developed than these regions, and therefore sends multimodal sensory predictions to these exteroceptive regions.
Agranular limbic cortices send, but do not receive prediction signals, because they have the least well-developed laminar structure of the entire cortical mantle. The locus coeruleus also receives ascending interoceptive and nociceptive prediction errors see Counts and Mufson, This is yet another way that allostasis is altered by modulating the gain or excitability of neurons that represent sensory and motor prediction errors. Salience regions also help accomplish multimodal integration [compare, e. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.
Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. Published online Oct Lisa Feldman Barrett 1, 2, 3. Find articles by Lisa Feldman Barrett. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging. Corresponding author. Correspondence should be addressed to Lisa Feldman Barrett.
E-mail: ude. Published by Oxford University Press. For commercial re-use, please contact journals. This article has been corrected. See Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract The science of emotion has been using folk psychology categories derived from philosophy to search for the brain basis of emotion. Keywords: emotion, predictive coding, construction, interoception, categorization, concepts, affect.
Open in a separate window. The biological background What is a brain?
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Table 1. Examples of neuroscience evidence that disconfirm the classical view of emotion. Observation Method Example Citations Different emotion categories cannot be specifically and consistently localized to distinct populations of neurons within a single region of the human brain. Human neuroimaging: task-related data Vytal and Hamann, ; Lindquist et al.
Human neuroimaging: intrinsic connectivity data Barrett and Satpute, ; Touroutoglou et al. Intracranial stimulation in humans Guillory and Bujarski, Lesions to the amygdala produce variable functional consequences. Monozygotic twins, whose basolateral nuclei of both amygdalae are calcified due to UWD, do not show equivalent deficits in experiencing and perceiving fear; patient BG has deficits similar to patient SM who has complete loss of both amygdalae due to UWD , whereas her sister, AM, is able to experience and perceive fear when BG cannot.
Other people with basolateral lesions from UWD show different problems in fear perception they are vigilant to rather than neglectful of posed fear faces. Patient SM can experience intense fear in the real world under certain circumstances, and her impairments in fear perception appear to be limited to experiments where she is asked to view stereotyped, fear poses and explicitly categorize them as fearful.
There is ample evidence that she is able to perceive fear in various circumstances in real life see Box 1. Behavioral observations in humans with amygdala lesions Bechara et al. Some have argued that these circuits represent distinct pathways from the amygdala to the periaqueductal gray through the hypothalamus to control different situation-specific fear behaviors, but others find that there are many circuits to one behavior mappings.
Others find one circuit to many behavior mappings. Still others find that the amygdala, or specific parts e. Also, cortical regions e. One thing is certain: scientists routinely engage in mental inference and refer to circuits as controlling different types of fear when in fact they are studying context-dependent behaviors that may not bear a one-to-one correspondence to fear.
Optogenetic research and some lesion research in rodents Furlong et al. For example, when the conditioned stimulus a tone is presented alone after having been paired with the unconditioned stimulus an electric shock , the animal typically freezes, its heart rate increases, and its skin conductance goes up, which is usually taken as evidence that the animal has learned fear. Yet when an animal is restrained in position as it hears the tone, its heart rate decreases. An amygdala might be required for aversive learning, but not the behavioral response learned paralleling observations in rodent experiments.
Lesions in non-human primates Mason et al. What is a brain for? How does a brain perform allostasis? The theory of constructed emotion Now we can see how a multi-level, constructionist view like the theory of constructed emotion offers an approach to understanding the brain basis of emotion that is consistent with emerging computational and evolutionary biological views of the nervous system.
With these observations in mind, here is a partial list of claims I am not making, to avoid further confusion: I am not saying that emotions are illusions. Selected implications of the theory Scientific revolutions are difficult. Table 2. Selected neuroscience evidence supporting the theory of constructed emotion.
Observation Method Example Citations Degeneracy: mapping many neurons, regions, networks or patterns to one emotion category Human neuroimaging: task-related data Vytal and Hamann, ; Lindquist et al. Box 1. The curious case of SM. Conclusions and future directions Scientists must abandon essentialism and study emotions in all their variety. Conflict of interest. None declared. Glossary Agranular : Cerebral cortex with the least developed laminar organization involving no definable layer IV, and no clear distinction between the neurons in layers II and III.
Footnotes 1 Throughout the millennia, with few exceptions, cognitions were thought to reside in the brain, emotions in the body, and then later, emotions were relocated to the parts of the brain that control the body. References Adams R. Predictions not commands: active inference in the motor system. Brain Structure and Function , 3 , — The biology of fear. Current Biology , 23 2 , R79— A role for the human amygdala in recognizing emotional arousal from unpleasant stimuli. Psychological Science , 10 2 ,— Intact recognition of emotional prosody following amygdala damage.
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Such categories aimed to encompass the universe, the mind and the divine within an all-encompassing system, from linguistics to epistemology, logic and metaphysics, theology and the nature of reality.