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Emotion and the Psychodynamics of the Cerebellum

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This is a book about cognition, emotion, memory, and learning. Along the way it examines exactly how implicit memory ("knowing how") and explicit memory ("knowing that") are connected with each other via the cerebellum. Since emotion is also related to memory, and most likely, one of its organising features, many fields of human endeavour have attempted to clarify its fundamental nature, including its relationship to metaphor, problem-solving, learning, and many other variables. This is an attempt to pull together the various strands relating to emotions, so that clinicians and researchers alike can identify precisely, and ultimately agree, upon what emotion is and how it contributes to the other known activities of mind and brain.

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CHAPTER ONE: Sleep and dreaming, Part 1: Dreams are emotionally meaningful adaptive learning engines that help us identify and deal with unconscious (ucs) threats by means of deferred action plans; REM sleep consolidates memory for that which we learn and

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Fred M. Levin, Colwyn Trevarthen, Tiziano Colibazzi, Juhani lhanus, Vesa Talvitie, Jean K. Carney, andjaak Panksepp1

“Dreams provide an opportunity to learn more about the nature of the information that is processed during REM sleep.”

Ramon Greenberg, 2003

Précis: Part 1 presents a neuro-psychoanalytic (NP) model of dreaming and its relationship to sleep, wakefulness, and the ucs. Psychoanalysts (M. Stern, 1988; Greenberg, 2003) hypothesize that when we sense ucs difficulties, an active dream life supports its resolution in real life. Specifically, dreams create “deferred action plans" that are later actualized in a manner that explores and reduces dangers. Such action plans are adaptive for both the individual dreamer and any dreaming species (Revonsuo, 2000; Revonsuo & Valli, 2000). What is learned during dreaming is consolidated by REM sleep activation (Bednar, 2003) and the new knowledge “fixed” by multiple consolidation and reconsolidation events, themselves activated by various transcription factors (Bornstein & Pittman, 1992). In Part 2, we speculate on which subsystems of the brain make what kinds of contributions to dreaming.

 

CHAPTER TWO: Sleep and dreaming, Part 2: The importance of the SEEKING system for dream-related learning and the complex contributions to dreaming of memory mechanisms, transcription factors, sleep activation events, reentrant architecture, the anterior c

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Fred M. Levin, Colwyn Trevarthen, Tiziano Colibazzi, Juhani lhanus, Vesa Talvitie, Jean K. Carney, andjaak Panksepp1

“I like the talky talky happy talk/Talk about things you like to do/ You got to have a dream/ If you don't have a dream/ How you gonna have a dream come true?”

Rogers and Hammerstein (South Pacific)

Précis: In Chapter One we make use of the new model of dreaming as active, psychologically meaningful, and adaptive: a unique blend of mentation that integrates affective wishes and fears with cognitive concerns, while at the same time creating what we call “deferred action plans”. These plans seem born in dreams where they help simulate what has been identified as potentially dangerous, and are activated later in waking life where they help us explore and reduce the dangers noted.

In Chapter Two we start with the SEEKING system (Panskepp, 1998) and elaborate its relevance for the study of dreaming, especially the effect of the dopamine related neural systems on the creation of predictive error signals, and the assignment of incentive salience (a state of both wanting something, and figuring out at the same time how best to get it) (Hyman, 2005). Along the way we attempt to integrate the contributions to dreaming of memory mechanisms, transcription factors, sleep activation events, reentrant architecture, and a variety of neuroanatomical subsystems and functions. Along with the VMFL and PTOCJ with their emerging importance for dreaming (see Chapter One), the other brain subsystems “of interest” as dream contributors include the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), the periaqueductal gray (PAG), the centromedian nucleus of the thalamus (CNT), the cerebellum (CB), hypothalamus (HT), various basal ganglia and upper brainstem structures, and inferotemporal cortex (ITC) (supramarginal gyrus) (Yu, 2001). The amygdala (A) and hippocampus (H) are also important for processing dangerous stimuli perceived in the environment, and for processing or encoding the contextual features of emotional experience (Brendel et al. 2004). For example, the CB is critical for the coordination of thoughts and also actions, as well the prediction of events and assignments of their emotional meanings based upon need assessments (the research of Masao Ito, cited in Levin, 1991, 2003), while the ITC is important for connecting motivational systems and the visual cortex, including the tracking of meaningful objects in space. Because of space limitations, in Chapter Two we concentrate primarily on the ACC and PAG, and leave for later a more detailed consideration of the other brain systems noted.

 

CHAPTER THREE: A neuro-psychoanalytic theory of emotion, Part 1: The basis for a serious interdisciplinary approach, or, how we are trying to clarify the ways brain and mind create each other

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Fred M. Levin

Précis: This chapter builds upon Chapters One and Two on “emotion”. The word is so common it is surprising to begin to define it, and to thereby become objective about such an important part of our subjectivity! Yet this careful thoughtful approach of NP is that which not uncommonly tries to re-examine mind/brain phenomena that appear self-evident but are not. This is especially critical if we are to properly appreciate mental phenomena scientifically. Moreover, in spite of the fact that the approaches of psychoanalysis and of neuroscience are often different, it seems to this author that there is still a large common ground between these disciplines, and thus the hope of integrating studies of mind and brain.

I. Introduction

In the year 1999, volume 1, number 1 of the journal Neuro-Psy-choanalysis appeared. With this inaugural issue dedicated to the subject of emotion, it is hard to think of a subject more central to psychoanalysis, as well as neuroscience. This remarkable new journal, edited by Edward Nersessian and Mark Solms, has, in my opinion, played a major role in helping those scholars interested in both neuroscience and psychoanalysis create a serious venue for the integration of research on mind and brain. It will pay to review what was written in the beginning regarding interdisciplinary approaches.

 

CHAPTER FOUR: A neuro-psychoanalytic theory of emotion, Part 2: Comments on Critical commentaries

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Fred M. Levin

Précis: In the previous chapter we considered the lead articles in the inaugural issue of the journal Neuro-Psychoanalysis (NP), the ones by Mark Solms and Edward Nersessian, and by Jaak Panksepp. This chapter comments on the commentaries by those listed in the title above. Each of these individuals reacts personally and creatively, clarifying what is salient for himself. By examining their commentaries we can better appreciate their thinking on NP, and the nature of the ongoing debate between how best to integrate neuroscience and psychoanalysis, or even, whether they see this as a desirable goal. We need to be careful, however, because serious scholars, out of their intensity to calibrate their own opinions and the opinions of others, and meet complex philosophical requirements within their disciplines, often sound unfriendly to “outsiders”. I believe this happens not because they are so much unfriendly as intense, which can be difficult for others to deal with. I hope the reader also gives me the benefit of the doubt when I take what mayappear to be too strong a position against one or another commentator in what follows, out of my own intensity to at least find good questions, if not yet good answers.

 

CHAPTER FIVE: Synapses, cytokines and long-term memory networks: An interdisciplinary look at how psychoanalysis activates learning via its effects on emotional attention

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Fred M. Levin

“:Weeds grow and animals slip about in the night Where no man dares to hunt them down.”:

Loren Eiseley, The Night Country, p. 3

Précis: We have already discussed the activation of genes in relation to emotional attention in Part I, Chapters One and Two. However, here we are taking the time and space to review more of the details of this perspective, so as to put learning into a clear context: that of emotional events with special meaning to the self. One key, however, is recognizing that emotion does not merely contextualize our experience, as critical as this function is; emotion also expresses our meanings to our self, and to the world, in ways that invite further elaboration of our fundamental drive states through fantasy, and eventually through various need-related actions.

I. Introduction

Ibegin with a quote from Loren Eiseley about the darker side of mental life. Unfortunately, all of our increasing knowledge of mind/brain cannot neutralize our human limitations. Obviously, a lot depends upon how any new knowledge we develop or acquire would be applied. My hope is that our neuropsychoanalytic insights will lead to the improved application of psychoanalysis clinically, especially to matters of the human heart, which Eiseley wrote about so movingly.

 

CHAPTER SIX: Recent neuroscience discoveries, and protein cellular pathways: their possible interdisciplinary significance

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Fred M. Levin

Précis: This chapter primarily reviews articles published in the journal Science. The subjects presented seem to me to have some potential relevance for psychoanalysis, by helping us better bridge mind/brain perspectives. The focus shifts throughout from cognitive controls, to emotional systems, or to the fact that cognitive and emotional systems of mind/brain are more closely interconnected than we often realize, just as the two memory systems called implicit and explicit are likely connected in complex, interesting ways, even if these connections sometimes elude us. In this chapter I begin with research on corollary discharge. Next I take up reports on important revisions of the neuron doctrine. I then add a discussion of some innovative neuroscientific conceptions of what controls development, citing recent work in molecular biology on protein pathways. Some of these efforts to bridge mind/brain may seem far fetched, and perhaps they are; others, however, say those connecting corollary discharge with brain mechanisms for transferences and their recognition, may seem more useful. At each step, however, a sincere effort is being made to plumb our understanding of things in fundamentalterms. This effort especially concerns the phenomenon of emotion, which we generally take for granted, yet to understand it better we may require a more novel definition of emotion to really make sense of what emotion represents to our species.

 

CHAPTER SEVEN: Introduction to the cerebellum (CB): Ito Masao’s controllerregulator model of the brain, and some implications for psychodynamic psychiatry and psychoanalysis (including how we understand the conscious/unconscious distinction, and the role

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Fred M. Levin

Précis: This chapter reviews some research on the CB and then weaves it into our conceptualization of what the CB might be doing psycho-dynam-ically. What is difficult in this is how best to tie together the many details of CB activity that we have been touching upon throughout this book, and how to help the reader best understand the reasoning behind our theorizing. We hope that we have already established a sufficient basis, however, in our earlier writings, and in the earlier chapters of this book, to make our case that the CB plays a number of critical roles in mental life. We are fully aware, however, that only future experimentation can determine howcorrect we are regarding to the role of the CB in mind/brain. Interdisciplinary insights aim to improve our neuroscientific explanations of Freud's psychodynamic ideas about consciousness, our core self and our deep unconscious motivations. It seems that under particular circumstances of modeling other brain systems, the CB essentially connects the explicit and the implicit memory systems. This connectedness of the two great memory systems (explicit and implicit), would thus be a product of the CB, to some significant degree. Of course, there may well be other connections between the explicit and implicit systems. In the earlier model of Ito dealing with the controller-regulator function of the brain, Ito assumed four regulators: (1) the CB, (2) basal ganglia, (3) limbic system, and (4) sleep centers. These regulatory centers are seen as accounting for the four different aspects of the ucs mind, as follows: (1) the CB provides internal models for other controllers; (2) basal ganglia provide selection and stabilization; (3) the limbic system provides the emotional input, and the SEEKING system attends to our drive states; and (4) sleep centers provide for the switching on and off of wakefulness and the different forms of sleep, which we have covered in the first two chapters in this book, and of course, during sleep, other centers produce dreaming. We are asserting that the CB helps all five controllers (for reflexes, compound movements, innate behavior, sensori-motor functions, and association-cortical functioning). Innate behavior is an expression of psychobiological emotional systems, and in this sense, the CB is related to the behavioral expression of emotion. However, (and this is an important caveat) although we suspect that the CB provides an important internal model for emotion, since we do not yet possess complete knowledge of all the systems that pertain to emotion, therefore, we believe it makes sense to be careful in assessing how exactly to weigh this particular CB contribution to the emotion and cognitive systems.

 

CHAPTER EIGHT: When might the CB be involved in modeling the Limbic System, the SEEKING system, or other systems?

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Fred M. Levin

Précis: This chapter continues our discussion in Chapter Seven on CB modeling of other parts of the brain, and asks what the implications are of this known fact. Evidence is introduced to support the probability of various CB models, including the probability that copies are likely made in the CB of the limbic system, the SEEKING system, and others We are extending what is known, and asking reasonable questions, stating when we are speculating and when we are standing on firm ground.

I. Introduction

In reviewing the subject of conscious/unconscious relations in Chapters One and Two, we (Levin, Gedo, Ito, & Trevarthen, 2003a, 2003b) came to number conclusions about the role of the CB in mental life. We have presented some of our ideas on this subject in Chapter Seven. The most important is the fact that the CB can create models of other systems of our brain. Once it would havecreated such a model, say of the premotor system, it could then use error signals (discrepancies between its early model and the actual system as modeled) to self-organize its neural network until the signal transfer characteristics of the cerebellar unit (read here as “model”) are a more or less perfect copy1

 

CHAPTER NINE: The CB contribution to affect and the affect contribution to the CB. How emotions are calibrated within a virtual reality (of thought and dreaming) for the purpose of making complex decisions about the future, with minimal error

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Fred M. Levin

Précis: This chapter attempts to further tie together how ideas presented in earlier chapters on the CB and affect, and the research literature from neuroscience on the CB, including diseases involving CB pathology, might best be understood in relation to each other. Central to this integration are the seminal ideas of Susanne Langer, who anticipated where we were going long before many of us knew it, and did so with lucid style, philosophical insight, and amazing grace.

I. Introduction

As Ito stated:

During the present century, one of the most fundamental questions to arise in the emergent field of neuroscience is how an assembly of neurons becomes a functioning brain. During the 1950s and 1960s interest centered on the way in which neurons behaved and communicated with each other. During the 1970s the focus shifted to the problem of how heterogeneous groups of neurons act together in an intricate neuronal network… [While] during the 1980s the time [was] ripe for asking how local neuronal networks are assembled to constitute large-scale neuronal systems… [Ito, 1984, p. 465]

 

CHAPTER TEN: Review, summary, and conclusions

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Fred M. Levin

I. General Overview

In Parts I. and II. of this book we covered some important topics within NP. We began with a review of sleep and dreaming research, then moved on to the role of emotion for mind/brain. The journal NP itself began with target articles by Solms and Nerses-sian, the editors of NP until recently, on the core of Freud's contribution in terms of emotion and the dynamic unconscious (i.e. drive theory). The commentary on these target articles by noted neuro-scientific and psychoanalytic scholars demonstrated how complex the field of NP was at its beginning, and it has not become much simpler since then, though it has created many insights bridging mind and brain!In Part III. we examined details of relating learning to gene activation, spontaneity, and the priming of memory. These topics naturally reflect the importance of emotion for psychoanalysis as a clinical discipline where learning is critical to recovery. We also considered the changing landscape for psychoanalysis, which now requires anyone who is serious about scholarship in the field to pay attention to what is being learned about memory and learning within neuroscience so that these insights can be utilized in creating an optimal learning environment for a psychoanalysis to occur. Making interpretations is not sufficient in itself any more, if it ever was; the modern psychoanalyst is expected to be a scientist of both psychoanalysis and a number of related disciplines, including neuroscience. But neither neuroscience nor psychoanalysis seem exempt from the passage of time. Each field has shifted over time in its understanding of emotion, and emotion cannot be studied comprehensively scientifically without taking into account what psychoanalysts and neuroscientists have been learning from a very large number of perspectives! We also began to review the importance of the CB for various psychodynam-ics, including its place in the evolution of brains, culminating in the brain of mammals, and, of course, the human brain. This lead us to consider still more details about the role of emotion in the formation, and the development of our sense of self, the core part of which may well be the CB.

 

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