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The Origin and Nature of Emotions
ISBN 1421933195 / 9781421933191 / 1-4219-3319-5
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Excerpt: ...by the almost fatal reaction which I once saw result from the mere pricking with a hypodermic needle of a patient with this disease. As the result of a visit from a friend, the pulse-rate of a victim of this disease may increase twenty beats and his temperature rise markedly. I have seen the mere suggestion of an operation produce collapse. As the brain is thus remarkably sensitized in Graves' disease, we find that in these patients laughter, crying, emotional disturbances, and surgical shock are produced with remarkable facility. I hope that even this admittedly crude and imperfect consideration of this subject will suggest the possibility of establishing a practical viewpoint as to the origin and purpose of pain, of tickling, and of such expressions of emotion as laughter and crying, and that it may help us to understand their significance in health and in disease. THE RELATION BETWEEN THE PHYSICAL STATE OF THE BRAIN-CELLS AND BRAIN FUNCTIONS-EXPERIMENTAL AND CLINICAL Address before The American Philosophical Society, April 18, 1913. The brain in all animals (including man) is but the clearing-house for reactions to environment, for animals are essentially motor or neuromotor mechanisms, composed of many parts, it is true, but integrated by the nervous system. Throughout the phylogenetic history of the race the stimuli of environment have driven this mechanism, whose seat of power-the battery-is the brain. Since all normal life depends upon the response of the brain to the daily stimuli, we should expect in health, as well as in disease, to find modifications of the functions and the physical state of the component parts of this central battery- the brain-cells. Although we must believe, then, that every reaction to stimuli, however slight, produces a corresponding change in the brain-cells, yet there are certain normal, that is, non-diseased, conditions which produce especially striking changes. The cell changes due to the emotions, for... [via]