Professor of Religious Studies Heidi M. Ravven gave an extended introduction of renowned neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp at his lecture to the Psychiatry Department and the Psychoanalytic Interest Group of Upstate Medical University on Sept. 14 in Syracuse, N.Y.
Ravven met Panksepp when a number of neuroscientists of the emotions discovered Spinoza and she worked with him when she wrote an account of the affective neural mechanisms that Spinoza had anticipated. Later, Ravven and Panksepp collaborated on a review essay of Antonio Damasio’s book Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and the Feeling Brain for the journal Neuro-Psychoanalysis.
Panksepp is the inventor of the term “affective neuroscience” and a founder of the field that studies the neural mechanisms of emotion. Videos of some of his experiments involving tickling rats to demonstrate their joy of play can be found on YouTube.