The Emotional Brain Hypothesis: Emotional, Social, and Religious Vetting in the Evolution of Rational Decision Making and Scientific Modeling

  • Book chapter
  • 3500 words
  • Level: university

By Margaret Boone Rappaport and Fr. Chris Corbally, S. J., an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory, published in the book Issues in Science and Theology: Do Emotions Shape the World? (published by Springer, 2016). From the publisher:

Abstract
While sociability has been recognized as a foundation of human evolution and is now well integrated into models of human origins, emotionality has received less attention. It is proposed here, in this preliminary concept paper, that emotionally-informed decision-making developed to the benefit of members of the genus Homo, as an integral part of the evolution of sentience in the hominin line. Emotionality is especially important in the higher expressions of sentience – science, religion, and art – but also in vetting all rational and scientific thought. The authors propose that future researchers in the cognitive science of religion, archaeology, evolutionary psychology, and evolutionary biology incorporate analysis of both emotionality and sociability into their protocols. A brief scenario of early hominin interaction in the search for food is presented, along with a discussion of the emotions involved. In the future, rational decision-making that is vetted by both social and emotional intelligence, as well as religious and ethical precepts, will help to provide solutions to world problems. Emotionality remains critically important for members of the genus Homo as an aspect of their attainment of sentience.

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