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Emotion and Decision-making Explained$
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Edmund T. Rolls

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199659890

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199659890.001.0001

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The nature of emotion

The nature of emotion

(p.13) 2 The nature of emotion
Emotion and Decision-making Explained

Edmund T. Rolls

Oxford University Press

Emotions can be operationally defined as states elicited by rewards and punishers, that is, by instrumental reinforcers. This approach leads to a classification of different emotions based on reinforcement contingencies, and by many different reinforcers each one producing different emotional states. Primary reinforcers are gene-defined, such as the taste of food; and other stimuli become secondary reinforcers by stimulus–reinforcer association learning. This approach is compared with other approaches to emotion.

Keywords:   Emotion, reinforcer, motivation, gene, Darwinian approach to emotion

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