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Home Special Issues Emotion – Arousal and Control
Emotion – Arousal and Control
Title:      Emotion – Arousal and Control
Categories:      Special Issues
JournalID:      IJIPS201602
Editor:      Mukundan C. R.
ISSN:      2348-5396
Publisher:      RED'SHINE Publication. Inc
Publication date:      31 Jan 2016
Edition:      2016
Number of pages:      25
Language:      English
Rating:      5 
Picture:      cover

About the Author:

Prof. C.R. Mukundan has been working in the area of Cognitive Neuroscience since 1964 and he set up the first cognitive electrophysiology laboratory at the National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences, Bangalore, India in 1975.  He conducted research in the area with a team of faculty and students from the Departments of Clinical Psychology, Psychiatry, Neurology, Neurophysiology, and Neurosurgery.  They worked on EEG with computerized analyses, Evoked and Event Related Potential paradigms in schizophrenic patients, patients with alcohol dependence and patients with traumatic brain injury, etc. for the next 3 decades.  His latest experimental work was in the area of testing the EEG and ERP activation pattern in remembrance of experiences, and he succeeded in developing a technology, which came to be called Brain Electrical Oscillations Signature (BEOS) profiling. The patented technology has been since used as an aid for forensic investigation. Other than the original normative study, several hundreds of cases have been examined by the test and it has successfully helped the investigators to identify real perpetrators and also helped exoneration of innocent individuals.  The technology that he started trying out, when he was in NIMHANS, got the software developed by Axxonet Technology Solutions in Bangalore.    The technique helps to test different possible formulations and different roles played by the individuals suspected or accused to be involved in an act. The important advantage of the test is that it does not expect any behavioural or oral response from the individuals when they are expected to listen to set of verbal probes during the test.  Further the system presents the probes only if the subject is attentive.  The system automatically conducts extensive signal analyses to determine presence of sensory registration, semantic processing, accessing source memory, attentional shift, presence of imageries, and emotional responses using frequency and time domain analyses of EEG after determining their statistical significances.

He has been working on understanding cognitive processing methods and was one of the first few who reported on the sequential and simultaneous nature of signal inputs into the brain and their differential effects on the development of processing methods in the brain.  The neuropsychological tests that he developed in the early 1970s had shown that encoding in both visual and verbal tasks could be impaired in left frontal lesions. Similarly he had developed tests of working memory and used it as a sensitive test in frontal lobe lesion patients. The Brain Function Therapy system that he developed for computerized cognitive retraining has been since then, extensively used for cognitive training of children with learning disorders, ADHD, and patients with addiction and traumatic brain injury.

He assembled EEG amplifiers for his laboratory in the 1980s, and published the first research papers using computed EEG analysis, EP and ERP measures from India.  His work supported the notion of automatic initiation or neurogenesis of actions, which helped the postulation that action is automatically initiated when emotional arousal reaches a Critical Level of Potentiation. He suggested strict social conditioning as the only neurodevelopmental method and remedy for training in the control of emotional arousal in individuals, which would beneficially help the society, as individuals would learn to control themselves by blocking asocial behaviour.  He has been working on the role of emotion for a decade, though could come out with an explicit theory only now, which is considered an alternative to consciousness.

Since March 2013, he is working at Institute of Behavioural Science, Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar, Gujarat as the Director and Emeritus Professor.  In this short duration he has established state of the art Neurocognitive Electrophysiology Laboratory at IBS. The lab consists of 32, 64 channels EEG and ERP systems, Neurofeedback systems, Polygraph and BEOS systems, and Brain Function Therapy for cognitive retraining programs. He started India’s first Neuropsychology and Forensic Psychology post graduate courses, which are flourishing under his guidance. He has organized various seminars, conferences and workshops in the area of Neuro and Forensic Psychology at IBS.  He is also conducting various training programs for Neuro/Forensic psychologists and police officers across the country at IBS. He has also established the Cognitive Neuroscience Society of India (CNSI) in 2014. He is the first President of the society. He has published more than 100 papers in peer reviewed journals. He has written three books in his areas of interest.

Searching for Emotional Arousal:

Searching for truth, searching for force beyond the realities known, searching for presence of a superior force, with one’s own body and mind, differentiating and identifying the mind and its processing methods have been the goal of human pursuits for centuries. Ancient wisdom took us to the parlors of total devotion and love for a force, which they considered supreme on the one hand, and on the other, they pointed out how ultraparadoxical is the universe in an absolute format.  Bertrand Russel said that he searched for rationality in his whole life. He and many more could think of the universe and its components only relatively, as human capabilities cannot take one beyond a relative evaluation, and everything that we know have only relative strength and existence. Many of us are still happy to think of an ultraparadoxical existence of the universe, as a burst of energy. Many believe that energy is present in each of us in the form of consciousness!

The need to examine consciousness from a medical point of view has been compelling, as death is the end point of presence of expressions of consciousness.  However, consciousness turned out to be essentially the functional property of the sensory-motor systems and how these helped in making reality contacts. Even awareness turned out to be essentially the outcome of a verbal monitoring process of own thoughts and speech. We semantically transcode every experience and contact with reality, and thereby develop its verbal awareness. Consciousness as a universal energy has been only another fictional thought.  Assumption that it is a form of force behind reality, remaining beyond the reach of human contacts served it as a magic force of human mind, helping in fantasizing its presence.

Knowing about normal emotion has been the least important, as excessive emotional outbursts and absence of emotions always led to pathological dimensions, and human behaviour needed lasting emotional corrections. The need to control emotions was always advised as a great need for success in life.  Decisions are to be constantly made devoid of emotional biases. Understanding of emotion has been always from a point of view of receiving and offering pleasure and pain for the self and others.  Though we know emotion serves as the fuel of life, and it is driving each living being, we always realized it could take us to success as well as failures, as we could not easily consider emotion as energy beyond the cognitive labels used for identifying their expressions and experiences. Hence keeping emotion under control is a moment to moment or continuous task for each human being. Excess of emotions and their deviant effects have always caused disturbing to disastrous effects to individuals and human community.  Emotion of love has helped to carry out self-sacrifices in some, whereas love for one or an idea has frequently led to hatred and destructive and demolishing behaviour of others.  Emotion, which does not lead to self-gains, is seldom given importance in life. To be emotional is often treated as a personal weakness rather than strength. Most people consider only selected emotional experiences and expressions as desirable. Even those strong emotions are often considered to bring out weakness and undesirable expressions and induce aggressive or damaging responses in many individuals. Emotion is considered useful only when one can gain from its expressions.

Emotional arousal serving as a drive is essentially a scientific notion.  People in general consider drive as a motivating force, as the personal requirement for carrying out actions for achieving goals.  Emotion is often equated to its aggressive and abnormal expressions and experiences, which in excess interferes with actions and achievements or needed for intimate personal relationship across individuals. Emotional experiences associated with subtle emotional states produced while listening to music and in meditation, etc. is still vague and unclear.  Though the words emotional arousal and drive are used synonymously, semantically the former is used to emphasize or focus on being excited while the word drive is used to imply a force of propulsion. Can we in reality differentiate between the two in actual use? The differences across individuals, if present, may only be in the physiological and psychological effects, in the cognitive appraisal of the object-mind-body conditions of a person in different pursuits or travel in different paths.  The cognitive differences detected in different emotional states reflect or indicate the nature of expectations, personal gains, and sensory-motor contacts made with reality.  The cognitive appraisals take us only to their personal gains and effects, and we fail to observe and treat it as a force without which the individual cannot live.

I know I need the drive for getting up after a sleep, move around the house, sit and read, learn, eat breakfast, get ready and go to school, office or to other places. I need the same force for going to market, visit friend’s home, to be with a friend, have fun with the friend.  I need it every day for multiple needs, including visiting other parts of the country, attending meetings, and for engaging in all those creative pursuits, provided one has such endeavors.  Of course I label each act differently, and the interest that I have in each of these activities differs as my personal gains are different.  I fail to accomplish to carry out an act, when I am not aroused or have enough drive, or fail to be aroused. I miss the act then and do not play my role.   I can do nothing, if I miss it, as I know I do not have interest in it, and have no drive for doing it.

We need to rediscover emotion and what it does to a living being beyond its biological and cognitive effects.

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This article published under:

ISSN: (electronic):  2348-5396, (Print):2349-3429

ISBN: 978-1-329-89679-6

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© 2016 IJIP Authors; licensee IJIP. This is an Open Access Research distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any Medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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