Department of Biological Sciences, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas 76203, USA
A theoretical model of social empathic emotion is derived based on the principles of survival by extending the maximization of self-gains to include others as an extended-self. This extended-self model of optimization for survival provides the computational mechanisms in the optimization process to maximize self-gains without minimizing the gains (or maximizing losses) for the other individuals. Thus, it can resolve conflicts in a competitive environment, and change the social dynamics into a cooperative interaction instead. The social emotion is emerged as a feedback mechanism for self-detection and self-correction of the disparity between self and others in the optimization process for self-preservation and survival. Maximization of the desirable gains will increase the survivability. Social emotion, such as empathy, emerges as the emotional feedback for the optimization process in survival by extending a self-centered frame of reference to an inclusive extended-self frame of reference. By including other individuals as the extended-self in the optimization process for self-preservation, it reduces the conflict of maximizing losses for the other person. Four types of social interaction in optimization strategy for survival are also discussed in relation to cooperation, competition, commensalism and altruism. This provides the theoretical foundation for the EMOTION-III model in deriving social empathic emotion that incorporates other individuals in the optimization process. This extends the previous two models of EMOTION-I and EMOTION-II, which only deals with self-emotion (i.e., emotions based on self-survival and self-preservation without taking other individuals or social interactions into account).
Keywords: Autonomous control system, Emotional model, Empathy, Neural processing, Optimization, Social emotions.
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