This four part series examines four emotions in detail, from their evolutionary origin, to how the emotion is regulated by the body's own drug factory. We investigate how emotions hold the key to human intelligence, but at the same time can rule our minds and bodies. Finally we ask have we out evolved our primitive emotions?
Ep 1 - Anger
In the first of three programs, Primal Instincts confronts anger. From violent crime to road rage and domestic violence, anger has much to answer for. Humans are one of the few species that kill their own and it's usually because of anger. The primal power of anger is one of the most complex human emotions, this program examines how science is exposing the inner workings of our deepest drives and challenging the very understanding of our most destructive emotion. Primal Instincts follows the U.S. landmark legal case of Jimmy 'the Fuse' Filliagi who claimed a controversial biological defence. Jimmy claimed he was "born bad" and "genetically predetermined" to bouts of anger. Tests showed he had the worst possible combination of neuro-chemical function - his dopamine response was high, while his serotonin level was abnormally low. The program also examines how a simple argument changed the life of a Melbourne landscape gardener.
Ep 2 - Happiness
The elusive emotion, fuelled by the powerful reward pathways in the brain that release a cascade of hormones. It's so important that we even seek it out through food addiction. Now we're discovering why some of us are happier than others.
Ep 3 - Fear
The primary reptilian survival instinct. It's powered by adrenalin and cortisol, drugs that can paralyse us or give us superhuman strength. Fear is essential for survival, but it's also the source of the crippling anxiety disorders that plague modern society.
Ep - 4 Love Trap
We call it love. But the most exhilarating of human emotions is merely nature's way of keeping the human species alive and reproducing. Wielding an irresistible cocktail of chemical love potions, our body entices us into unwittingly playing the mating game. And science is beginning to discover just how manipulative nature can be.
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