In order to interact flexibly with a changing environment, complex organisms have evolved brains that construct an internal model of the world. Two necessary components of such a model are (i) a representation of the internal environment (i.e., a self-model) and (ii) representations of the external environment, including the other individuals constituting the social environment. An organism must continuously map self and external environment as the two interact in time. Emotion refers to a variety of different aspects of nervous system function that relate representations of the external environment to the value and significance these have for the organism. Such a value mapping encompasses several interrelated steps: evaluation of the external event or situation with which an organism is confronted, changes in brain and body of the organism in response to the situation, behavior of the organism, and a mapping of all the changes occurring in the organism that can generate a feeling of the emotion.



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