Prime Theory. An Integrated View of Motivation and Emotion

  • Buck R
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Abstract

Presents a theory that describes motivation and emotion as different aspects of a single process in which emotion involves the readout of motivational potential inherent in hierarchically organized primary motivational/emotional systems (primes). This theory involves an integrated way of thinking about emotion and motivation in their various physiological, expressive, and cognitive aspects. The most basic readout, Emotion I, involves adaptive-homeostatic functions. In species where communication about the state of certain primes became important, Emotion II, involving their outward expression, evolved. With cognition, a 3rd type of readout evolved, Emotion III, involving the direct experience of certain primes. A model of the interaction between primes and cognition is presented, and the unique role of language in human motivation-emotion is discussed.

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