Judith A. Toronchuk and George F. R. Ellis: Human Becoming: Phylogeny and Ontogeny of Affective Social Behavior

Human consciousness and its attendant emotions are end products of an extensive phylogenetic history shared with other hominids combined with a lengthy, but uniquely human, ontogenetic development. We suggest here that the basic emotional systems of nurturance, attachment, play and dominance perform key roles in setting the stage for fully human social behavior by providing balanced states necessary to motivate infant learning. Social interaction, a process that necessarily engages primary affective systems, calls forth personhood in infants and allows development of human dinstinctives such as language and spirituality. This is an example of top-down action from society to its constituent individuals.

2008 July 14

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