The Biological Affects: A Typology

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Abstract

This typology of biological affects is based on developmental–interactionist theory of motivation, emotion, and cognition. Affects—subjectively experienced feelings and desires—involve interoceptive perceptual systems based on primordial molecules that characterize neurochemicals. Biological affects involve primary motivational–emotional systems (primes) associated with hierarchically organized neurochemical systems in the brain, including subcortical (reptilian) and paleocortical (limbic) brain structures. Affects fulfill individualistic (selfish) functions (arousal, approach–avoidance, agonistic) and prosocial (cooperative) functions. Selfish and cooperative functions are associated respectively with the right and left hemispheres. Biological affects constitute the physiological bases for higher level affects: social affects (e.g., pride, guilt, shame, pity, jealousy), cognitive affects (e.g., curiosity, surprise), and moral affects.

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