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Emotions Cubed


A concept that explains the relationship between human neurotransmitters and human emotions has been developed by Hugo Lövheim. The concept includes a cube with a core emotion at each of the cube’s corners. 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.


This concept may help better understand the role of chemical transmitters in the human body and how to treat disorders related to them.


In addition, developers are applying the Lövheim and similar concepts to the design of computers that will imitate human emotions. Robot technology for service applications include domestic robots, medical robots, business robots and others. These robots work with people and benefit from emotional affinity with humans.


This type of emotional processing sometimes is called “affective computing". Affective computing (also referred to as artificial emotional intelligence, or emotional AI) is the study and development of systems and devices that can recognize, interpret, process, and simulate human affects. Machines interpret the emotional state of humans and adapt their behavior, giving an appropriate response to those emotions.


Nascent biological computing (computing composed of biological components) uses molecules such as DNA and proteins to perform computational calculations involving data storage, retrieval and processing. This biocomputing utilizes the science of nanobiotechnology which provides the ability to engineer biomolecular systems to result in the functionality of a computer.


The application of the Lövheim and similar concepts coupled with affective computing and biocomputing will result in life-like devices with novel and useful applications.


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