Bruce G Charlton MD
Reader in Evolutionary Psychiatry
Department of Psychology
University of Newcastle:
"(Antonio) Damasio has suggested that while the senses of vision, hearing, touch, taste smell function by nerve activation patterns that correspond to the state of the external world; emotions are nerve activation patterns that correspond to the state of the internal world. If we experience a state of fear, then our brains will record this body state in nerve cell activation patterns obtained from neural and hormonal feedback, and this information may then be used to adapt behaviour appropriately….
Emotions are based on internal body environment which act as inputs into the brain, just as visual or auditory information is an input to the brain from the external environment. Indeed, in evolutionary terms, the brain is primarily an organ for homeostasis - a centre which collects and collates feedback on body states, and acts to maintain constancy of the internal milieu. This concept vastly clarifies the role and nature of emotions, and allows them to be studied using the full force of integrated modern neuroscience. “