(Thanks to Russell for bringing this research to our attention.)
Emotion begins with “a want,” no matter how complex or sublime a feeling, it always crystallizes around “a want.” This is a common denominator that runs true from the most complex to the most primitive organisms. If something is perceived as conducive to a want, then it is emotionally conductive as it can be processed via the little-brain-in-the-gut. So when someone looks at a shiny new car in a showroom, they salivate above a normal ambient level.
So what does a sea slug want? Food. And how does it apprehend whether or not something is emotionally conductive, i.e. ingestible and digestible? Not by way of cognition but rather according to the principle of emotional conductivity as tabulated by way of its hunger and balance circuitry. If the essence of the stimulus can be ingested, with smell being a safe means of ingesting at a distance without making physical contact, then the organism feels emotionally grounded and feels safe about approaching. However if the resistance of the stimulus is too high, as transmitted via a noxious odor, (also note the hectic gyrations of the potential prey item when it is disturbed, it’s not rhythmic and prey-like, but angular and predatory. Also note its bright colors, which are a predatory aspect.) then the slug doesn’t feel grounded and wants to avoid that place in order to retain a “tuned” state of homeostasis.
This study demonstrates the principle of emotional conductivity at a basic level of evolution—a module of hunger/balance (balance=resistance to ingestion) as an auto/tuning-feedback dynamic that in my reading of animal behavior constantly replicates in all organisms as a substrate of consciousness, and, in order to effect a networked intelligence. We see this same primal principle of emotional conductivity happening between dogs when a whiff of scent (preyful essence) renders a feeling of emotional grounding via the hunger circuitry which then serves as the first step to the two dogs being social and becoming “networked.”
In higher organisms such as mammals, the hunger/balance module elaborates into the sensual/sexual dynamic so that now hunger can operate at an even greater distance through the visual system so as to divine the “essence” of a thing from its form and its movements (this essence is intuited by ascertaining the center mass within the form of an object of attraction). And so when an animal feels grounded into the object of its attraction, the balance mechanism is subsumed into the hunger component so that the resistance offered by the object of attraction can now induce an even higher state of arousal. The underlying feeling of attraction can be held onto because the environment now strengthens it. Thus, when hunger is stronger than balance, balance becomes a tuning agency that deflects the individual into indirect and circumspect manner of approach rather than simply having to avoid. Balance becomes a source of information rather than a simple on/off switch as in the sea slug. In this way, as the individual approaches the object of its attraction, its body becomes partitioned into erogenous zones so that it craves physical rather than oral contact, even though the simple mechanism as in the sea slug, is deep down orchestrating the far more complex interaction.
Note that the memory incorporated by the sea slug is a physical memory, indicating even at this rudimentary level, the existence of an emotional battery. The emotional battery evolves to become the sensual body/mind of sexual mammals so that the animal body/mind can become internally “ionized” and externally “polarized” so as to guide then in complex interactions, as well as bringing previous experiences to the surface in real time situations.
I believe the hunger/balance implementation of the principle of emotional conductivity is the only interpretation of behavior that is consistent with modern evolutionary theory that is trying to argue (unsuccessfully in my view through the imposition of a human like psychology of gene replication, as if genes want to replicate and then that then can serve as a fundamental motivation of animal behavior) that the complex evolved from the simple. If evolution is true, if the complex evolved from the simple, then we need to articulate a constantly repeating module of behavior that runs consistently from lower to higher organisms. The same motive that underlies a sea slug approaching some flotsam on the ocean floor, should be extant in someone listening to Beethoven. The principle of emotional conductivity is just such a fractal expression.
The principle of emotional conductivity is of utmost interest to anyone trying to affect a dog’s behavior because if one is trying to change a dog’s mind through some kind of human psychology (dominance hierarchy or reinforcement theory) without understanding the physics of emotion so that they can tap into the phenomenon of conductivity directly, then it’s being left for the dog to figure out the energy dynamic on its own. We kill millions of dogs each year because the modern marketplace of ideas doesn’t understand the principle of emotional conductivity around which all animal behavior, from the sea slug to the Saluki (not to mention Beethoven), is organized. The ones with the most heart, i.e. those that will fight for what they want, are the ones that are being killed off. The genome of all then declines since the life force is being selected, against. Nature on the other hand doesn’t select against Heart.