Jaak Panksepp, Part 1: Human Brain Evolution

Uploaded on May 27, 2015 / 424 views / 2098 impressions / 0 comments


Arnold Pfeffer Center for Neuropsychoanalysis of the New York
Psychoanalytic Institute Saturday, May 2nd, 2015 "Human Brain
Evolution: Preclinical Modeling of the Mind & the Search for
New Antidepressants" Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D. Washington State
University Recent research clearly indicates that our neocortical
expansions essential for our cognitive minds (mediated by a few
genetic changes), are born empty of contents (i.e., evolutionary
specializations) -- everything there is programmed by life
experiences. In contrast, cross-species evolutionary
specializations are abundant in subcortical brain regions --
homologous across mammals -- that control our attentional,
motivational and emotional urges. These homologies allow animal
brain research to illuminate the foundation of human minds.
Mammalian brains contain at least 7 primal emotional systems –
reflects a proposed primary-process terminology, to minimize
semantic/mereological confusions). These systems provide
foundations for the rest of the mind which, when imbalanced,
promote various common life/psychiatric problems (e.g. depressive,
impulse control & manic disorders), providing cross-species
insights for understanding human psychopathologies. Three systems
are especially important for preclinical modeling of depression:
The separation distress (PANIC) system mediates the psychic pain of
separation distress (i.e. excessive sadness and grief), which can
be counteracted by minimizing PANIC arousals (as with low-doses of
"safe" opioids like buprenorphine). Depressive dysphoria can also
arises from reduced brain reward-SEEKING and related PLAY urges --
namely diminished enthusiasm and social joy-laughter experiences.
An understanding of such fundamental emotional circuits in
preclinical (animal) models has promoted the development of three
novel therapeutics to counteract depression – (i) low-dose
buprenorphine, which reduces PANI


  • mind
  • neuropsychoanalysis
  • brain