BOX 1-2Emotion, Affect, Consciousness, and Awareness

In everyday use, “emotion” means a feeling that is consciously experienced and either negative (e.g., fear) or positive (e.g., joy). To scientists specializing in emotion research, states that are positive (i.e., accepted/preferred) or negative (i.e., aversive/not tolerated/avoided) are said to have a property called “valence.” In the context of animal pain, the term “affect” instead of “emotion” is used because it is the scientific word whose meaning is closest to the colloquial use of “emotion,” while also being less anthropomorphic. Thus to scientists specializing in emotion research, “affect” (or “affective”) covers all states with valence; these include emotions (typically regarded as specific states induced by ongoing stimuli or events), moods (more generalized and longer lasting), and certain clinical conditions (e.g., depression) (Panksepp 2005; Rolls 2000, 2005; Russell 2003; Winkielman et al. 2005). However, some researchers use the terms specifically to refer to the human experience of conscious feelings (Panksepp 2005; Russell 2003).

This use of the terms “affect” and “affective” requires clarification of the terms “conscious” and “consciousness.” The word “conscious” has a range of meanings, from the experience of the most basic form of sensation to the ability to have higher-order thoughts about one’s own experiences, perspectives, or states of knowledge. In this report, conscious is used only to mean the former, thus referring to the “raw feel” of stimuli or events (Block 1997) or “the experience of sensation” (Merker 2007). Terms for this in specialized literatures include “qualia” (the inner “what it is like” aspects of, for example, seeing the color green or feeling angry; Tye 2007); “primary consciousness” (Edelman 2004); “qualitative consciousness” (van Gulick 2008); and “phenomenal consciousness” (Block 1997; Tye 2007). This basic form of consciousness is generally thought to be widely distributed across the animal kingdom (though how widely is a matter of debate; see text in this chapter). For brevity, in this report we use “consciousness” or “awareness” interchangeably. In the context of pain, such awareness is what distinguishes pain from nociception (see Boxes 1-3 and 1-4).

From: 1, Pain in Research Animals: General Principles and Considerations

Cover of Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals
Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals.
National Research Council (US) Committee on Recognition and Alleviation of Pain in Laboratory Animals.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2009.
Copyright © 2009, National Academy of Sciences.

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