In another Technology Forecast Digest "Foresight", a concept (developed by Hugo Lövheim) was described that explains the relationship between human neurotransmitters and human emotions. Each emotion is generated by varying levels of the three monoamine neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline.
The emotion – neurotransmitter relationships are summarized in this table:
Basic emotion Serotonin Dopamine Noradrenaline
Shame/humiliation Low Low Low
Distress/anguish Low Low High
Fear/terror Low High Low
Anger/rage Low High High
Contempt/disgust High Low Low
Surprise/startle High Low High
Enjoyment/joy High High Low
Interest/excitement High High High
For example, Fear is produced by the combination of low serotonin, low dopamine and high noradrenaline (also known asnorepinephrine).The Lövheim concept may help better understand the role of chemical transmitters in the human body and how to treat emotional disorders related to them.
Neurotransmitter levels and activity must be maintained in a range of balance to avoid unpleasant and sometimes dangerous mood extremes in an individual. This balance is maintained by:
· Inherent individual physiology
· Fitness: diet, exercise, sleep, etc.
· Medications (e.g., “Haldol” rebalances dopamine in schizophrenics to improve mood)
· Attitude including actions such as deliberate positive thinking and meditation.
Another possible method for maintaining neurotransmitter balance is the intentional mental direct control of neurotransmitter levels and balance. For example, during waking hours an individual would think of maximizing serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline levels to keep interest and energy high. For sleeping hours, thoughts are to maximize only serotonin and dopamine to be relaxed and with generally good mood.
This direct neurotransmitter control method is similar to autosuggestion, biofeedback and meditation all of which can generate emotional (and physiological) changes which themselves probably produce corresponding changes in neurotransmitter activity levels.
The control technique is unique in that an individual directly tells his/her body, for example, to “increase and balance serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline” and as a result achieves a mood of interest and excitement.
No known rigorous experimentation has been completed to validate this direct neurotransmitter control method. Individual non-rigorous ad hoc experiments with the method, however, seemingly have produced deliberate direct changes in neurotransmitter activity and related emotions.
Rigorous experimentation (that includes measurement of changes in actual neurotransmitter levels) may confirm direct mental control of neurotransmitter levels as a useful addition to the other means of neurotransmitter rebalancing outlined above.
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