Emotion and the predictive mind: Emotions as (almost) drives

José Araya

Resumo


Given its simplicity and enormous unifying and explanatory power, the predictive mind approach to mental architecture (predictive processing) is becoming an increasingly attractive way of carrying out theoretical and experimental research in cognitive science. According to this view, the mind is constantly attempting to minimize the discrepancy between its expectations (or sensory predictions) and its actual incoming sensory signals. In the interoceptive inference view of emotion (IIE), the principles of the predictive mind have been extended to account for emotion. IIE holds that, in direct analogy to visual perception, emotions arise from interoceptive predictions of the causes of current interoceptive afferents. In this paper, I argue that this view is problematic, as there are arguably no regularities pertaining to emotion in the physiological inner milieu, from which the relevant interoceptive expectations could be learned. Therefore, it is unlikely that our expectations relative to emotion involve interoceptive expectations in the way required by IIE. The latter view should then be amended. In this respect, I suggest that emotions might arise via external interoceptive active inference: by sampling and modifying the external environment in order to change a valenced feeling. Thus, if the predictive mind approach is on track, emotions are not to be understood in direct analogy to perception (e.g., vision). Rather, I suggest that the view of emotion that emerges from the predictive mind is in line with motivational approaches to emotion. In the suggested view, (almost) just as drives (or ‘homeostatic motivations’), emotions are suited for the active regulation of the inner milieu by sampling the environment in order to finesse our emotion expectations. In this view, emotions are individuated, and differ from drives, in virtue of the distinctive sampling policies (‘actions’) characteristic of the high levels of the predictive hierarchy.


Palavras-chave


emotion, interoception, interoceptive inference, perceptual theory of emotion, motivational theory of emotion.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7213/1980-5934.31.054.DS13

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