Wild conjecture for the evopsych origin of emotions

This is one of those “ghost maybe” occ posts where you should mentally insert a “maybe” in front of each statement so I don’t have to fill a clear set of ideas full of qualifiers.

The six basic emotions are analogous to the six types of taste. This is because emotions are the anticipation of eating. The best example is the correspondence between happiness and sweetness: the feeling of happiness corresponds to an expectation of eating high-calorie foods, due perhaps to finding a bush full of berries. This would arise from pure, repeated associations between the event and the food—after many instances of finding a berry bush and then tasting sugar, a Pavlovian association is formed between the berry bush and the expectation of eating sugar. After many generations, this mental trait could be iterated into recognizing much more complex events presaging food security, like receiving applause from a large group of people. It’s unlikely that an individual homo sapiens who’s being applauded one day will starve the next day, because common resources are apportioned according to status among hypersocial hominids. It follows that emotional mirroring would arise in hypersocial species as another Pavlovian association, given that the individual generally eats when and what the group eats.

Here are my best guesses as to the correspondences, with more likely ones toward the top:

Sweet -> Happy
Bitter -> Sad
Sour -> Disgust
Umami -> (Absence of) Fear
Astringent -> (Absence of) Anger
Salty -> (Absence of) Surprise

This correspondence could be extended beyond all reason by associating the emotions with neurochemicals that have large effects on behavior. Being a shameless and reckless sort of internet person, my guesses follow (again in order from most likely to least):

Happy -> Dopamine, endorphins
Anger -> Adrenaline, endorphins
(Absence of) Fear -> (Absence of) Cortisol
(Absence of) Surprise -> (Absence of) Adrenaline
Disgust -> Melatonin
Sad -> Serotonin

These guesses could undoubtedly be improved with a tiny bit of reading, but it’s already past my bedtime. Anyway it’s a fun set of ideas, take ’em for a spin and see how they hold up.

About Aeoli Pera

Maybe do this later?
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21 Responses to Wild conjecture for the evopsych origin of emotions

  1. Mark Devon says:

    Dear Aeoli,

    For an evolutionary or biological explanation for each emotion, visit: http://www.theoriginofemotions.com

    Mark Devon

  2. Mina says:

    Why would serotonin cause sadness?

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      Dunno, that’s why it’s on the bottom of the most speculative part. Hopefully Kensuimo sees this and weighs in, this is his forte.

    • Santoculto says:

      I think depression and melancholy (the rare temperament when happiness and sadness are absolutely unite) happen when the [un]natural human system of self-deception is interrupted, so people start to see/feel the [ our current factual understanding] hyper-reality of the life,

      this, the life, simply no have any sense.

      People, on avg, or, the average ones, tend to be over-connected with their respective self-deceptive system, they need to give relevance to the irrelevant, existentially speaking. So when this self-deceptive system is interrupted they start to see reality as s’he is, naturally depressive or even unemotional, indifferent, enormous and indifferent, or not, by now just philosophical conjectures.

    • Santoculto says:

      I have a sugar personality but also combined with not-so-dolce vita temperament, a rare combination of two types of temperaments that tend to repel one each other.

    • Aeoli Pera says:

      I believe depression is the original state, and overconfidence is an adaptation for socializing.

      • Santoculto says:

        I don’t believe necessarily depression is the original state, because the original state of the life IS their ”self-deception” or their over-self-atomization, aka, evolutionary guidelines/ savant-style, but yes, depression and specially melancholy tend to make us more realistic about our reality and in the end we don’t have a minimal consistent idea about ALL gigantic existence that encapsulate us and subsequently about our own self-sense. By now we can conclude we are natural guinea pigs that become aware about our fundamental nature while guinea pigs.

        ”overconfidence is an adaptation for socializing.”

        I agree in this part.

  3. Isn’t this kind of embodied into language already? A sweet person, a bitter struggle, a soured relationship, etc.

    Still, good find.

  4. This is interesting because I think I have a taste-associated Synesthesia intelligence thing. Like fakery makes me gag but good grocking material literally makes my mouth water. It tastes better than food.

  5. Aeoli Pera says:

    Maybe I’ll try it sometime.

  6. Rime says:

    I couldn’t do it. I had trouble discerning dreams from reality (moreso than I already do). But then I had just come off a massive 5 HTP binge and that may have had some “effects”.

    My suggestion for those who are melatonin deficient or believe they could use more of it: get up earlier (-perhaps prior to sunrise) and spend more time outside especially in the morning.

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