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Algorithms for survival: a comparative perspective on emotions

Bach, DR; Dayan, P; (2017) Algorithms for survival: a comparative perspective on emotions. Nature Reviews Neuroscience , 18 (5) pp. 311-319. 10.1038/nrn.2017.35. Green open access

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Abstract

The nature and neural implementation of emotions is the subject of vigorous debate. Here, we use Bayesian decision theory to address key complexities in this field and conceptualize emotions in terms of their relationship to survival-relevant behavioural choices. Decision theory indicates which behaviours are optimal in a given situation; however, the calculations required are radically intractable. We therefore conjecture that the brain uses a range of pre-programmed algorithms that provide approximate solutions. These solutions seem to produce specific behavioural manifestations of emotions and can also be associated with core affective dimensions. We identify principles according to which these algorithms are implemented in the brain and illustrate our approach by considering decision making in the face of proximal threat.

Type: Article
Title: Algorithms for survival: a comparative perspective on emotions
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/nrn.2017.35
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn.2017.35
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Neurosciences, Neurosciences & Neurology, MEDIAL PREFRONTAL CORTEX, NUCLEUS-ACCUMBENS SHELL, PERIAQUEDUCTAL GRAY, VENTRAL HIPPOCAMPUS, RESOURCE-ALLOCATION, FACIAL EXPRESSIONS, FEAR, AMYGDALA, SYSTEMS, VALENCE
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10091053
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