Early thinking on the role of emotions in cognition sometimes characterized them as a liability, but the modern understanding the computational role of emotions places them at the centre of fast decision-making by using the body’s self-state inventory as a source of value judgement. Additionally it is necessary to appreciate that the emotional system has a very complex structure owing to its lengthy phylogenetic development history. Consequently the full emotional picture requires appreciating its different levels in a six-level abstraction hierarchy. Lower levels regulate basic body needs and drives. Higher levels reconcile the evaluation of the external world with internal body-centric ratings. The highest levels manage signalling and feelings.
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