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Jaak Panksepp

Jaak Panksepp (on the right) at the promotion of honorary doctors at the University of Tartu (December of 2004).

Jaak Panksepp (born June 5, 1943) is an Estonian-born[1] American psychologist, a psychobiologist, a neuroscientist, the Baily Endowed Chair of Animal Well-Being Science for the Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Physiology at Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, and Emeritus Professor of the Department of Psychology at Bowling Green State University. Panksepp coined the term 'affective neuroscience',[2] the name for the field that studies the neural mechanisms of emotion. He is known in the popular press for his research on laughter in non-human animals.[3][4]


  • Research 1
  • Books 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Panksepp has conducted many experiments; in one with rats, he found that the rats showed signs of fear when cat hair was placed close to them, even though they had never been anywhere near a cat.[5] Panksepp theorized from this experiment that it is possible laboratory research could routinely be skewed due to researchers with pet cats.[5] He attempted to replicate the experiment using dog hair, but the rats displayed no signs of fear.[5]

In the 1999 documentary Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry, he is shown to comment on the research of joy in rats: the tickling of domesticated rats made them produce a high-pitch sound which was hypothetically identified as laughter.

Panksepp is also well known for publishing a paper in 1979 suggesting that opioid peptides could play a role in the etiology of autism, which proposed that autism may be "an emotional disturbance arising from an upset in the opiate systems in the brain".[6]


  • Panksepp, J., and Biven, L. (2012). The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotion. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. W W Norton page
  • Panksepp J (Ed.) (2004) A Textbook of Biological Psychiatry, New York, Wiley
  • Panksepp, J. (1998). Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Panksepp, J (Ed.) (1996). Advances in Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 2, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
  • Panksepp, J (Ed.) (1995). Advances in Biological Psychiatry, Vol. 1, Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.
  • Clynes, M. and Panksepp, J. (Eds.) (1988). Emotions and Psychopathology, New York, Plenum Press.
  • Morgane, J. P., and Panksepp, J. (Eds.). (1981). Handbook of the Hypothalamus: Vol. 4 : Part B. Behavioral Studies of the Hypothalamus. New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
  • Morgane, J. P., and Panksepp, J. (Eds.). (1980). Handbook of the Hypothalamus: Vol. 3 : Part A. Behavioral Studies of the Hypothalamus New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
  • Morgane, J. P., and Panksepp, J. (Eds.). (1980). Handbook of the Hypothalamus: Vol. 2 : Physiology of the Hypothalamus New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.
  • Morgane, J. P., and Panksepp, J. (Eds.). (1979). Handbook of the Hypothalamus: Vol. 1 : Anatomy of the Hypothalamus New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Panksepp, J (1992). "A critical role for "affective neuroscience" in resolving what is basic about basic emotions.". Psychological review 99 (3): 554–60.  
  3. ^ It’s no joke: Even animals ‘laugh’ - LiveScience -
  4. ^ Panksepp, J; Burgdorf, J. (October 2000). "50k-Hz chirping (laughter?) in response to conditioned and unconditioned tickle-induced reward in rats: effects of social housing and genetic variables". Behavioral Brain Research 115 (1): 25–38.  
  5. ^ a b c  
  6. ^ Panksepp, J. (1979). "A neurochemical theory of autism". Trends in Neurosciences 2: 174–177.  

External links

  • Jaak Panksepp's Bowling Green State University website
  • Jaak Panksepp's Washington State University website
  • Biography at the Muskingum College website
  • Interview with the Autism Research Institute
  • Empathy and the action-perception resonances of basic socio-emotional systems of the brain Panksepp, Jaak; Gordon, Nakia; Burgdorf, Jeff Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol 25(1), Feb 2002, 43-44. doi:10.1017/S0140525X02350088
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