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Panksepp, J. Wright, J.S. (2012). Response to Commentaries. Neuropsychoanalysis, 14(1):59-75.

(2012). Neuropsychoanalysis, 14(1):59-75

Response to Commentaries Related Papers

Jaak Panksepp and Jason S. Wright


We thank all commentators for their enthusiastic reception of the affective neuroscience view of “the brain reward system” and the broadening of implications for understanding this preeminently important emotional-motivational system in the governance of human and other animals' behaviors and psychological lives. We realize that in the short space available for our Target Article, many issues could not be developed. We are happy that so many chose to provide constructive and forward-looking perspectives to elaborate on themes that we did not.

A vastly multidimensional system such as SEEKING—a foundational ingredient in the efficient functioning of all of the other primary-process emotional systems—deserves book-length treatment, as more and more people become dissatisfied with the traditional behaviorism-derived conceptualization of this powerful rewarding system. It is clear that SEEKING figures heavily in the positive as well as negative outlooks of our daily lives. The system becomes depleted in depression, and it can all to easily be captivated by various addictions, from drugs to sex and even music.

We minimized our own clinical intuitions about this emotional system, leaving much room for discussion about issues that are barely on the radar of behavioral neuroscience, biological psychiatry, and perhaps certain psychotherapeutic schools of thought.

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