Emotions Are at the Core of Individual Social Performance

  • Kurt Kotrschal
Part of the The Science of the Mind book series (The Science of the Mind)


Affects and their conscious representations, emotions, are the central agents of social organization in humans and non-human animals. These are bio-psychological phenomena with morphological and physiological substrates, with evolutionary functions, modulated in ontogeny and conservatively preserved in evolutionary history. Emotions “motivate” social interactions/relationships and emotionality is directly linked with basic physiology, particularly with the stress systems and also, with the most important “anti-stress” complex in mammals, the oxytocin-attachment system, which has also a major role in bonding. Emotional phenotype (“temperament”) affects social connectedness and finally, fitness in complex social systems. And there is also a clear link to social cognition, as affects are involved in virtually any decision made by the relevant brain centers in mammals and birds. Finally, the communication of emotions and satisfying each others emotional need is also at the core of human–animal relationships, which may be considered as ­indirect evidence for common principles of social organization.


Prefrontal Cortex Attachment Style Companion Animal Emotional System Greylag Goose 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Japan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioural BiologyUniversity of Vienna and Konrad Lorenz Research StationGrünauAustria

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