Other aspects of anger within SPAARS

A further example of the associative generation of anger within SPAARS is when anger-related appraisals of an event at some time in the emotional history of the individual, through a process of repetition of that event (see Chapter 5), become associatively driven such that eventually there is no longer a need for access to the schematic model level of meaning for the emotion of anger to be generated following that event. The recent approach to anger developed by DiGiuseppe and Tafrate (2007) exemplifies these proposals and links them directly into the SPAARS model.

To illustrate this possibility, let us return to the example of Peter and his shouting father from Chapter 5 (see Figure 5.5). If we remember, Peter's childhood was overshadowed by the constant fear that his father would shout at him and be angry with him about inconsequential things or about things for which Peter was not to blame. As a child, we suggested, Peter appraised the father's behaviour at the schematic model level as an (avoidable or deliberate) wrongdoing that thwarted Peter's goal of having, for example, an enjoyable afternoon with friends. Such repeated appraisal of his father's shouting led to the automatisation of the generation of Peter's anger such that, eventually, at the event of his father's shouting, Peter experienced anger that had been generated via the associative level of meaning in SPAARS with no access to the schematic model level that mediates "on-line" appraisal. As a result of these childhood experiences, whenever Peter was shouted at in later life as an adult, he experienced the associative generation of anger even when the shouting was done in humour or when the shouting was entirely appropriate as a response to Peter's behaviour. A summary of the generation of anger either via the schematic model level or via the associative level in SPAARS is presented in Figure 8.5.

So far we have endeavoured to illustrate how the SPAARS model can provide an account of anger that is able to explain not only the normative, morally driven experience of anger but also the exceptions to this paradigm case. It remains, however, to consider a number of other issues that arose in the literature review in the first part of the chapter; namely, the influence of non-normative factors, the passionate nature of anger, and too little versus too much anger. This last point will serve as a good introduction to our discussion of so-called anger disorder.

Non-normative factors are seen as feeding into the experience of anger in different ways within SPAARS. We propose that facial feedback (and possibly postural feedback) would operate via the associative level of representation. Body-state information, such as the status of the facial musculature, would be processed at the analogical level of representation and would then serve to initiate the generation of the congruent emotion via associative links between body-state representations and emotion generation (see Figure 8.6).

At various points so far in this chapter we have referred to anger as a passion. As we touched on in Chapter 5, the passionate nature of emotions within SPAARS can be a function of several processes. First, when schematic-based, emotion-related appraisals occur, we have argued that there is an imperative for the generation of the emotion. So, if an event is appraised at the schematic model level as intentional, carried out by a recognisable agent, and as harmful to active goals, then anger will always be instigated. A second sense in which emotions can be thought of as passionate within SPAARS concerns the concept of emotion modules discussed in Chapter 5. Once a given emotion is generated, the emotion module will "take over" the SPAARS system and SPAARS will be reconfigured in order to deal with the instigating events. Such reconfiguration not only biases the system in favour of information congruent to the emotion module and its associated appraisal characteristics (for example, the cognitive and social cognitive biases implicated in anger) but also activates the related action potentials. For an emotion such as fear the passionate experience may be so strong that the individual cannot help but succumb to the related action potentials and avoid the feared situation by, say, running off. However, for an emotion such as anger

ANGER INSTIGATING EVENT

ANGER PRODUCTS VIA THE APPRAISAL ROUTE

ANGER PRODUCTS VIA THE AUTOMATIC ROUTE

ANGER PRODUCTS VIA THE APPRAISAL ROUTE

ANGER PRODUCTS VIA THE AUTOMATIC ROUTE

Figure 8.5 Schematic diagram illustrating the routes to anger in SPAARS.

FACIAL MUSCULATURE OF ANGER

ANGER PRODUCTS VIA THE APPRAISAL ROUTE

ANGER PRODUCTS VIA THE AUTOMATIC ROUTE

Figure 8.6 Schematic diagram illustrating the operation of facial feedback in SPAARS.

ANGER PRODUCTS VIA THE APPRAISAL ROUTE

ANGER PRODUCTS VIA THE AUTOMATIC ROUTE

Figure 8.6 Schematic diagram illustrating the operation of facial feedback in SPAARS.

where the action potentials involve retaliation and aggression, the consequences of succumbing to passion can be far more severe. As we have already seen, the homicide law in the United States takes into account the fact that anger can so overwhelm someone that they will kill another. For this reason, the implications of too much or too little anger, especially the social ramifications, are perhaps more pressing than the similar cases of, say, too much or too little disgust, or too much or too little fear. Finally, an emotion can be experienced as a passion when it is generated via the associative route within SPAARS. In this situation, real-time appraisals at the schematic model level may not be anger related but the event still leads to a feeling of anger in the individual (see DiGiuseppe & Tafrate, 2007).

Too little anger, as we have seen, does seem to have a number of health-related consequences. Within SPAARS we have suggested that the failure to experience an emotion when it would be considered appropriate to do so can occur in two ways, both of which are discussed in Chapter 5. To take the case of anger, first, the core appraisals related to anger can simultaneously lead to anger-related products and also to the activation of schematic models which block the experience of those products. So the individual would not feel angry, even though anger-related appraisals have occurred. We considered an example of this in Chapter 5 in which Ann had rarely experienced anger in her life, as she had learnt as a child that it was inappropriate. However, in later life, a course of therapy for intrusive obsessional ruminations released a lot of anger towards her unfaithful husband. Experiencing this anger was very painful and ego dystonic for Ann.

A second way in which anger might not be felt, even when it is appropriate, is for the relevant event information to be blocked from entering the schematic model level. In this case, an event can be viewed as a personal offence, carried out by a recognisable agent entirely at the propositional level with no appraisal-based, schematically generated anger at all.

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