Can any animal love?
Why should we care?
Some will argue, no they can not love…it is all about neural motor responses hard-wiring behind every behavior. Others will argue that strong emotions, such as love, are necessary for social functioning.
Neuropsychologist Sarina Saturn will discuss the neuroanatomy and chemistry underlying negative and social emotions and how this knowledge can be applied towards understanding variations in animal behaviors and living happier and healthier lives.
There are chemicals in our bodies (and other animals’ bodies!) that are associated (increase or decrease) with “feelings” of emotions such as love, stressed, sensitivity, reactivity, sociability, etc. ….and this is fascinating and important to dog lovers, trainers, behavior consultants and anyone that has anything to do with dogs. Particularly fascinating is the use of oxytocin spray to decrease negative behaviors and increase pro-social behaviors with dogs. Its use with autistic children is almost a miracle.
This lecture will do a “bit of delving” into the science of the biology of stress, fear, and other emotions and what happens neurochemically when these are experienced…followed by what naturally occurring neurotransmitters and/or hormones can moderate these negative states or traits in our pets. Please join us in this extremely cutting edge lecture by a leading researcher in emotional and social studies as she discusses her NSF funded research and others’ research in this area. This talk is moderated by research Veterinarian, Giovanna Rosenlicht at Oregon State University.
Speaker: Sarina Saturn, PhD
Moderated by Giovanna Rosenlicht, DVM
This lecture will discuss:
- Biology of emotions (neuroanatomy and neurochemistry)
- Biology of stress
- Dopamine and prosocial behavior
- Serotonin and prosociality
- Oxytocin and prosociality
- Moral elevation
- What causes individual differences in prosociality?
- Neurochemical polymorphisms (i.e. “differences”)
- Dopamine-social sensitivity and emotional reactivity
- Serotonin-reward-related behaviors
- Oxytocin- stress; communication; sociality
Scientific description: The purpose of this lecture is to discuss how social and emotional states and traits are mapped onto central and peripheral nervous systems. First, participants will learn about the stress response. In moderation, the stress response facilitates behaviors that foster safety and health. In toxic levels, stress can lead to devastating consequences to emotional and physical well-being. Next, participants will learn about the neurochemistry and neuroanatomy of prosocial emotions, such as empathy and altruism. These other-oriented prosocial emotions involve another cascade of physiological events to combat stress and facilitate social connectedness. There will be a focus on the neuromodulators oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin, as well as the vagus nerve, a crucial portal through which the body and brain communicate with each other during emotional events. This talk will also focus on how individual differences in personality and emotional set points are shaped by genetic variations of neurochemical systems, such as polymorphisms of neurotransmitter systems. It will also cover how experiences can influence emotions through epigenetic modifications. Altogether, neuropsychologist Sarina Saturn will discuss the neuroanatomy and chemistry underlying negative and social emotions and how this knowledge can be applied towards understanding variations in animal behaviors and living happier and healthier lives.
Recorded LIVE August, 2014
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