Understanding animal emotions is vital in many fields like neuroscience and animal science as it helps determine factors that govern emotions in animals. Most researchers have found it hard to analyze emotions in animals as they are not aware of the factors to assess. Some of the indicators of emotions can be determined directly while others cannot be measured directly. For instance, the neutral signs and behavioral signs cannot be measured directly.
Other factors that cannot be measured directly are physiological signs. Most investigators have used the measures above to determine how animals respond to various situations caused by discrete emotional conditions like fear. There is no clear framework that can be used to integrate the different discrete emotion conditions. The dimensional method has been used to develop a framework that can be used to study animal emotions using the core affect space.
The dimensional approaches can be used to identify are frame work that can be used to analyze various discrete emotional conditions. The framework will utilize the discrete emotional approach and the dimensional method. The framework will be used to determine how long term mood conditions result from short term mood conditions. It will also determine how short term mood conditions influence the discrete emotions and its importance in decision making.
Emotions can be defined in two dimensions. Emotional experiences can either be positive or negative. They can also be good or bad. The emotions experiences cannot be neutral. The experiences differ during activation. Some of the emotions can be more activated than others. Core affects are considered prejudiced experiences that are grouped according to valence and dimension of arousal. They are represented in two dimensions. For instance, the positive state is found on the 1st and 2nd quadrant and the negative state is found on 3rd and 4th quadrant.
The “core affect space” is used to understand the structure of the emotional experience. Different kinds of discrete emotions like fear are located on the “core effect space”. The location of the emotions does not show their qualities fully. The core affect in human beings are go together with several things. First, they are accompanied by neural changes and physiological changes. They are also accompanied by cognitive changes. One can measure the changes that accompany the core affect and determine components that are linked with certain places in the “core affect space”.
Though one can use the measurable components to determine the location of animal’s position in the core affect space, one cannot be certain that animals experience have the conscious component (Mendl, Burman &Paul, 2010).Animals have states that are similar to the core effect. The emotional state results after animals respond to stimulus. It also results when animals respond to rewarding conditions and punishing conditions. Thus, reward and punisher are found in emotional conditions and determine the valence. Rewarding stimulus includes things that improve the wellbeing like food, water etc.
It also consists of things that affect wellbeing like being attacked by predators. The ability of different animals to respond to the stimuli above has developed during evolution. This has enabled the animals to achieve various objectives. For instance, it has enabled animals to improve their health and prevent factors that affect their health. The various locations in the core affect space reflect the functions above. The positive arousal in the first quadrant is aimed at motivating animals to search for rewards.
On the other hand, the negative arousal in the third quadrant is linked with loss and lack of reward. It helps converse energy when resources are limited. Hence, the states in first quadrant and third quadrant are aimed at improving the wellbeing.In addition, negative arousal in the fourth quadrant is linked with the right response to danger or threat. The positive arousal in quadrant two is linked with low levels of threat. This enables recovery and maintenance. Affective conditions in the fourth and second quadrant are aimed at preventing threat (Mendl, Burman &Paul, 2010).The core effect state can be integrated with environmental conditions to produce a state that can be used to explain discrete emotions.
The experience of various emotions is as a result of core affect. The discrete emotions result from response to various stimuli like reward and punishment. In most cases, the emotions result from events. Since, the discrete emotions have a valence they can be located in the core affective space. Thus, this produces a “common currency” that allows one to compare different emotions when making behavioral decisions. Hence, discrete emotions, inspiration and feelings produce short term changes in location of animals in the core affect space (Mendl, Burman &Paul, 2010).The long term mood states result from the movement via the core affect space. The movement is facilitated by discrete emotions, inspiration and feeling.
This determines whether an organism is successful in getting rearwards or avoiding punishers.The mood states play an important role in an animal. For instance, they help in decision making when adapting new situations and stimuli. The mood states offer information concerning the environment the organism lives in. That is the opportunities that are available and the threats that are found in the environment. This makes it easy for an animal to adapt to new stimuli if they are rewarding and avoid the stimulus if they are harmful (Mendl, Burman &Paul, 2010).
The animal emotions can be understood by measuring the neural signs, physiological signs and behavioral signs and relating them with the core affect space. The frame work presented above will make it easy for researchers to study the animal emotions.
Mendl,M.,Burman,O.P.,&Paul,E.S.(2010).An integrative and functional framework for the study of animal emotion and mood