Dr. Panksepp is an Estonian-born 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’, 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, such as rats.
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 to produce a high-pitch sound which was hypothetically identified as laughter.
His latest book is The Archaeology of Mind: Neuroevolutionary Origins of Human Emotions (just out from Norton), and Why Dogs Smile.