Cycles of appraisal

In the example above of Susan and the bear, we presented a simplified discussion of the appraisal processes involved. In fact, as we have pointed out in Chapter 3, we propose that appraisals occur in levels or cycles, with each cycle leading the event to be appraised in a more sophisticated way. To illustrate, let us consider Susan and the bear again. The appraisals are likely to consist of the following: (1) goal relevance/ irrelevance; (2) goal compatibility/incompatibility; (3) threat to future completion of valued goals; (4) inappropriate resources to fight, and so on. Each cycle provides a more sophisticated analysis of the situation (cf. Leventhal & Scherer, 1987; Scherer, 2001) and after the third cycle the appraisal process becomes part of the generation of fear. In addition, the emotions themselves can feed back into the appraisal process (Lewis & Granic, 1999); so, for example, we might get angry with someone, and then feel guilty as we appraise that the anger was inappropriate.

To summarise, we have described an architecture involving analogical, propositional, and schematic model representational formats. Within this framework we have illustrated the first of two proposed routes to emotion generation; in this case via the schematic model level of meaning. However, as we noted earlier, central to the model of emotions that we are proposing is the existence of a further type of associative representation that provides the machinery for a second route to emotion generation. It is this route to emotion generation that we consider next.

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