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A Model for Basic Emotions Using Observations of Behavior in Drosophila.


Emotion plays a crucial role, both in general human experience and in psychiatric illnesses. Despite the importance of emotion, the relative lack of objective methodologies to scientifically studying emotional phenomena limits our current understanding and thereby calls for the development of novel methodologies, such us the study of illustrative animal models. Analysis of Drosophila and other insects has unlocked new opportunities to elucidate the behavioral phenotypes of fundamentally emotional phenomena. Here we propose an integrative model of basic emotions based on observations of this animal model. The basic emotions are internal states that are modulated by neuromodulators, and these internal states are externally expressed as certain stereotypical behaviors, such as instinct, which is proposed as ancient mechanisms of survival. There are four kinds of basic emotions: happiness, sadness, fear, and anger, which are differentially associated with three core affects: reward (happiness), punishment (sadness), and stress (fear and anger). These core affects are analogous to the three primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) in that they are combined in various proportions to result in more complex "higher order" emotions, such as love and aesthetic emotion. We refer to our proposed model of emotions as called the "Three Primary Color Model of Basic Emotions."

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