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Panksepp, J. (1999). The Brain and Emotion: Edmund T. Rolls, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, 367 pp., $59.95. Neuropsychoanalysis, 1(2):263-269.

(1999). Neuropsychoanalysis, 1(2):263-269

The Brain and Emotion: Edmund T. Rolls, Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, 367 pp., $59.95

Review by:
Jaak Panksepp

We are finally in the midst of an affective revolution in the brain-mind sciences. As research papers and monographs proliferate on this once ignored (and oft scorned) topic, the field is becoming rich in diversity. When I was asked to review this new offering on the brain and emotions, I was eager to consume it and contrast it to my own thinking. Unfortunately, it did not go down well. How could we, in the same field, be so theoretically far apart? Experiencing some waves of intellectual indigestion, I was about to decline to do the review. I had no desire to share negative impressions, especially toward an esteemed colleague whose empirical work I admire.

Then fate intervened. Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) selected Rolls's text for multiple review, and I felt obliged to participate: I proceeded to write the present review and the BBS commentary concurrently (Panksepp, in press). Although they overlap substantially, I did not attempt to minimize that, nor to highlight direct quotes since neither had priority. However, the extra space available here does permit me to share some deeper, perhaps more jaundiced sentiments concerning Rolls's approach. To get a fuller spectrum of views, readers are encouraged to consult the many commentaries and Rolls's reply in the forth coming BBS treatment.

In ten chapters, Rolls outlines a conceptually coherent behavioristic vision of emotions. Half the chapters are empirical descriptions of selected research areas, including hunger (chapter 2) and thirst (chapter 7), brain systems relevant for emotions (chapter 4), brain stimulation reward (chapter 5), the neurochemistry of that type of reward (chapter 6), and a remarkably speculative essay on sexuality (chapter 8).

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