Appraisals involved in the emotion of fear

In the emotion of fear, we propose that the first analysis by the appraisal system within SPAARS, as for all negative emotions (see Chapter 5), is that the event/ interpretation is appraised as incompatible in some way with existing goals and/or models of the self, world, and other. The second cycle of the appraisal system, and the first specific to the emotion of fear, is the appraisal of threat; that is, the appraisal that there is a chance of future non-completion of valued goals. Further levels of appraisal might concern whether the threat is unwanted, whether or not the threat can be successfully avoided, and so on. These levels of appraisal are illustrated in Figure 6.3 in a sequential fashion, although as we noted in Chapter 3 in our comments on the Leventhal and Scherer (1987) model, these appraisals are more likely to occur in parallel through the use of multilayer networks in parallel distributed processing models (Rumelhart & McClelland, 1986).

That fear can be a function of the first two levels of appraisal alone seems evident to us all the time. When we sit strapped into the rollercoaster before it starts, we cannot help feeling a tingle of fear, even though we have chosen to be there. The appraisal that the threat is "wanted" is not sufficient to stop the automatic route.

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