The first of three videos below features neuroscientist Antonio Damasio contending that even though we view emotion as a human trait, it is probably one of the earliest evolutionary advancements, significantly predating human evolution. He explains that emotions are “a way to live for as long as possible”, asking “if you were a gene, what would you do?”
In the second video social psychologist Dacher Keltner discussess the evolution of emotion with a focus on Darwin’s principle of antithesis, which attempts to illuminate the role of body langauge in the matrix of human emotion.
Both of those videos are short (less than 10 minutes total), but the last one is a full-scale lecture from neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp, called: “Ancestral Memories: Brain Affective Systems, Ancient Emotional Vocalizations, and the Sources of Our Communicative Urges.” Panksepp’s book, Affective Neuroscience: The Foundation of Human and Animal Emotions, is the definitive textbook for the field of affective neuroscience. Settle in with a beer or two for this one.