Note On Complex Emotions

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For ease of explication, we have restricted the examples we have used in this chapter to basic emotions such as fear or anger. It is therefore useful to clarify the ways in which so-called complex emotions can be derived from the basic five (see also Chapter 3). We propose three routes to the generation of complex emotions within SPAARS:

1 A coupling of two basic emotions: for example, sadness and happiness can become coupled to generate the emotion of nostalgia.

2 Further appraisal cycles which embroider on those necessary for the generation of the basic emotion: for example, the emotion of indignation would be an experience of anger combined with an appraisal that the object of the anger is a social inferior.

3 The integration of appraisals relating to the goals of others: for example, empathy can be derived from the emotion of sadness combined with an appreciation of another's lost goals.


In this chapter we have drawn together the summary points from Chapters 2, 3, and

4 and used them as the starting point for the construction of a multi-level framework for understanding emotion, an approach we have labelled SPAARS (Schematic, Propositional, Analogical, and Associative Representation Systems).

We have described the model in three broad sections: the content of the mental representations involved; the various formats these representations take; and the processes that act on the representations. The basic architecture of the model is a multi-representational one and has much in common with other multi-representational approaches to emotion, in particular MEMs (e.g., Johnson & Multhaup, 1992) and ICS (e.g., Teasdale & Barnard, 1993) which both include subsystems or levels that represent higher-order meaning and ones that reflect basic propositional and analogical properties of the information space. It is this class of approaches that we believe offers the most powerful framework within which to consider emotions. In addition, to the basic architecture, SPAARS has a number of properties that are an extension of existing multi-level models. In SPAARS, emotions are primarily appraisal based and appraisals are a function of goals; thus, within SPAARS, emotions are explicitly functional and the model is couched in functional language. Furthermore, goals are a function of separate domains of mind-content involving the self, the world, and others. Within SPAARS there are two routes to the generation of emotion: the paradigmatic schematic model route and an associatively driven route. Emotions generated via either route are seen as modules that act as reconfigurations of the SPAARS system. Such reconfigurations are partly maintained via processes of inhibition which are a central feature of the SPAARS approach, and inhibition processes are also implicated in other ways within the model. Finally, the SPAARS approach uses the five basic emotions of happiness, disgust, fear, sadness, and anger as building blocks, and the proposal is that emotional order and emotional disorder can be derived from these basic components.

None of these ideas is completely new and we have devoted the first half of this book to tracing their origins and development. However, we hope that the SPAARS framework that we have presented in this chapter combines the strengths of a number of different approaches to emotion while avoiding at least some of the weaknesses.

The second part of the book is organised into five chapters, each concentrating on one of the five basic emotions mentioned above and discussed in Chapter 3: fear, sadness, anger, disgust, and happiness. In each chapter we discuss the literature on the normal variant of the emotion. We then discuss so-called abnormal manifestations of the emotion and the theories that have been proposed to account for these emotional disorders. We also consider complex emotions derived from the basic emotions.

We will use these chapters not only to provide comprehensive reviews of the literature concerning each basic emotion but also to illustrate some of the strengths of the SPAARS approach. This comprehensive approach does not mean that we shall attempt an analysis of all aspects of emotional experience within the SPAARS model. Rather, we shall expand on different aspects of the model at different points in the second half of the book, in the hope that the SPAARS approach will offer a new take on some familiar and some less familiar aspects of emotional order and disorder. So, for example, we concentrate on a discussion of cycles of appraisal in Chapter 8 on anger, on the coupling of basic emotion modules in Chapter 7 on sadness, and on the explanatory power of two routes to emotion in Chapter 6 on fear. However, for some aspects of emotional order and disorder we do present a more complete analysis within the SPAARS approach; for example, the section on post-traumatic stress in Chapter 6.

Finally, Chapter 11 presents an overall summary and discusses some of the clinical and research implications of the SPAARS model as well as some considerations of the future direction of work in the cognition and emotion field.

Part 2

Basic emotions and their disorders

Chapter 6

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Exploring EFT

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