MindScience Academy Logo
Close this search box.


Despite apparent divergences between the models we are going over — one referring to the basic emotions currents, to other being constructivist perspectives —, the common grounds also appear to be quite interesting. Both Barrett and Asma & Gabriel agree upon the existence of core affects, proposing different views on their extension (how many and what they are) and on their role in shaping human behavior.
The trine model of the human brain first introduced by MacLean — seeing the human brain as evolved in three main waves, the first of which has created a reptilian complex at the core, the second a paleo-mammal limbic system and lastly the recent structures of the neo-cortex — is now considered anatomically obsolete and Damasio's work has clearly shown the most "primitive" structures to be vital to superior cognition. How much of this layered conception, made of levels, ancient and recent, primitive or cognitively superior, with interactions flowing in both senses (top-down or bottom-up), still survives in the debate?
His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso’s deep fascination with Western natural sciences needs no introduction. MSA itself stems from his encouragement to take that path, that "gentle bridge" which was launched in the 1970s by the dialogue between Francisco Varela and His Holiness and then blossomed in the activities of Mind & Life. 
The debate confronting the two paradigms partly relates to how we define that which is shared or universal. Even within its constructivist perspective, Barrett accepts the existence of universals. Indeed, his model envisages affects that are constantly fluctuating in valence (positive or negative).
The field of affective neuroscience has recently witnessed a vigorous debate between two different approaches to understanding emotions. The first, Basic Emotion Theories, also referred to by various names such as the mechanisms underlying them (emotion circuits, somatic markersand so on), or their supposed nature (nativism vs essentialism)
Serme Khen Rinpoche Gesce Tashi Tsering (born 1958) is the abbot of Sera Mey Monastic University in India. From 1994 to 2018 he was a resident Tibetan Buddhist teacher at the Jamyang Buddhist Centre, London.
Dr. Davidson is professor of psychology and psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as founder and director of the Center for Healthy Minds. He's influential for the bearings of his research on emotion and the human brain.
Angelo Gemignami is a physician, psychiatrist and psychologist, currently teaching neuroscience at Pisa University, director of the surgical pathology and molecular medicine department; director of the neuroscience, mindfulness and contemplative practice master course and of the clinical psychology branch in the pisa university hospital ward.
Charles Hampden-Turner's classic Mapping the Mind (1982) includes sixty mapping models of the human being, of his psyche. His map categories range from historical to religious, to psychoanalytic, existentialist, psychosocial, creative, linguistic-symbolic, cybernetic, structural and “paradigmatic” perspectives. From Taoism, St. Augustine, Blake, Darwin, Marx, Weber and Freud, up to Lacan, Bateson, Chomsky and Varela. For the time, Hampden-Turner's text is extremely sophisticated, rich, and accessible; today his approach desperately needs an update.