In order to provide a guiding framework we will now offer a menu, with comments, of what is to be found in the remaining chapters in this book. This menu will, we hope, provide sufficient information for some selection of the dishes that individual readers might prefer to spend longer over, in addition to those that they might prefer to avoid or merely taste and pass quickly on to the next course. The book is divided into two main parts: Part 1 is mainly theoretical and reviews a range of theories of emotion; Part 2 focuses on specific basic emotions and their derivatives.
In our view, it is a sad reflection on many psychological works that there is little or no attempt to provide the historical and philosophical context in which the work resides, nor is there any exploration of the philosophical underpinnings and implications of the models presented. Modern philosophy has of course seen dramatic changes, in that the findings of science may be relevant to the choice of one philosophical position over another; philosophers have been forced to abandon their armchairs for laboratory stools. For this reason, Chapter 2 is devoted to the presentation of the philosophical and historical context in which theories of emotion exist. The two key strands mentioned earlier will be presented, one stemming from Plato and leading to the until recently dominant "feeling theories" of emotion, the second stemming from Aristotle and currently resurgent in the form of functionalism in cognitive science. The approaches of William James, Watson's Behaviorism, and further general comments about twentieth-century cognitive accounts will also be presented in Chapter 2.
The main aim of Chapter 3 is to provide an account of the major cognitive theories of normal emotions. We begin with an account of associative network theories, which historically have provided the starting point for theoretical approaches as diverse as psychoanalysis and behaviourism. The associative network approach was adapted to provide a model of emotion in an influential paper by Gordon Bower (1981). We point to some weaknesses in the associative network approach, but then raise the question of whether or not the more recent connectionist parallel distributed processing (PDP) theories might have more potential for emotion theory. In the second part of Chapter 3 we consider appraisal theories (although we have taken "appraisal" in a broader sense than other writers have used this term), beginning with the classic Schachter and Singer (1962) study and the flawed proposal that emotion is the cognitive labelling of an undifferentiated state of physiological arousal. We then consider a number of fully fledged appraisal theories that are not based on physiological arousal. These include Richard Lazarus's earlier (1966) and more recent (1991) models and Oatley and Johnson-Laird's (1987) goal-based basic emotion approach from which we have drawn considerably for our own approach. The final part of Chapter 3 includes an extended discussion of dimensional versus categorical approaches to emotion, and concludes that a modified categorical basic emotion approach that includes dimensional qualities of affect provides the best starting point for emotion and emotion theory.
Theories of normal emotions have often had little to say about emotional disorder, a fault to which the cognitive approaches have been as prone as any other. In Chapter 4, therefore, we review an additional set of cognitive theories that have been applied to the emotional disorders. We have included here the various revisions of Seligman's learned helplessness theory, Beck's cognitive therapy, the approach presented by Williams, Watts Macleod, and Mathews (1988, 1997), and Teasdale and Barnard's (1993) interacting cognitive subsystems (ICS) approach. These cognitive models have been included because of their relevance to more than one emotional disorder; cognitive theories that are disorder-specific are discussed in Part 2 of the book, in which emotional disorders are covered in detail. In the final part of Chapter 4 we consider the need for purely cognitive theories to take account of social factors with particular focus on the case of depression. We must reiterate that we see emotion as a complex interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors, and although we focus on cognitive theories it is occasionally necessary to consider the limitations of any purely cognitive approach.
The climax of Part 1 of the book occurs, we hope, in Chapter 5. In this chapter we draw together the key points from the previous ones and present our own Schematic Propositional Analogue Associative Representation Systems approach— which, fortunately for us as well, abbreviates to SPAARS. Like Oatley and Johnson-Laird (1987) we adopt a goal-based basic emotion approach. In addition we argue that there are two main routes to the generation of emotion. The first route we have named the appraisal route. It consists of the effortful processing and interpretation of an event as goal relevant (although we do not mean to imply by this label that appraisals only occur consciously and effortfully, when, on the contrary, they also occur automatically and unconsciously). The second route is a direct access or automatic route. Initially in development it expresses pre-wired innate proto-emotion programmes, which are rapidly transformed during child development through the influences of personal, social, and cultural factors. Later in development this direct or automatic route also includes automated emotional reactions that no longer require effortful processing. Finally in Chapter 5 we consider a number of more general aspects of the SPAARS approach.
Part 2 of the book is organised around the five basic emotions of fear, sadness, anger, disgust, and happiness on a chapter-by-chapter basis. In each chapter we consider the basic emotion, complex emotions derived from that basic emotion, and related emotional disorders. For example, in the chapter on disgust (Chapter 9) we consider some general properties of disgust as a basic emotion, theoretical approaches and cross-cultural aspects, complex emotions such as shame and guilt that we and others have argued are derived from disgust, and the role that disgust plays in a number of psychological disorders including certain phobias and obsessive compulsive disorders, depression, and appetitive disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. In each of the basic emotion chapters we highlight some aspect of the SPAARS approach rather than setting out to provide a full and complete account in each chapter. For example, in Chapter 6 on fear we highlight the role of two routes to emotion in relation to panic and phobias; there is also consideration of the significant threat to the configuration of models that can occur in post-traumatic stress disorder. In Chapter 7 on sadness we examine the importance of different domains of knowledge and experience, and the extent to which we invest in them; there is also detailed consideration of the possibility that basic emotions can become "coupled" with each other and thereby lead to emotional disorders such as depression. In Chapter 8 on anger we highlight the role of cycles of appraisal. Throughout the book we try to draw on the links with the neurosciences and the fast-accumulating knowledge specifically within affective neuroscience. Although we do not claim to provide an exhaustive review of affective neuroscience, we believe that much of the recent developments can be accommodated very readily within a multi-level, multi-system approach to emotion such as that represented by SPAARS.
In the final chapter (Chapter 11) we summarise the SPAARS model in the light of our review of the emotions and their disorders, consider some of the implications for therapeutic practice that can be derived from this approach and which have been developed elsewhere—for example in the form of Emotion Focused Cognitive Therapy—and, finally, present a number of research ideas based on SPAARS, some of which have been partially explored since the first edition of this book and some of which have yet to be adequately explored. For example, there is a new area of metaemotional skills, which is loosely related to the notion of emotional intelligence but avoids many of the pitfalls of this popular concept, and which needs investigation in relation to development, interpersonal functioning, and psychopathology. Other areas of research include developments in affective neuroscience for which the basic emotions and multi-level model frameworks provide rich opportunities.
If, at the end of the day, none of our readers feels like stealing these ideas, then we will have to go back to the drawing board or join the Foreign Legion—well, that is what we threatened to do when we wrote the first edition of the book. However, although there are times in any academic career when the Foreign Legion seems like an attractive option, one of the measures of a good theory is that, like a character in a film or novel, it develops a life of its own separate from its creators. SPAARS does not have the lifestyle and dashing good looks of a James Bond. It is more like a character in a Harold Pinter play who, despite brief laconic and sometimes puzzling statements, leaves a lingering sense of having said something meaningful, even if not immediately understood. To quote from The Caretaker:
... you can take it from me I'm clean ... That's why I left my wife. Fortnight after I married her . . . I took the lid off a saucepan, you know what was in it? A pile of her underclothing, unwashed. The pan for vegetables, it was. The vegetable pan. That's when I left her and I haven't seen her since. (Pinter, 1960, p. 9)
Well, taking the lid off anything can lead to surprise and a whole range of emotions. A good theory would not be a good theory without a few such surprises, as we hope to demonstrate when we take the lid off emotion in subsequent chapters.
Philosophy and theory
Was this article helpful?
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. It works to free the user of both physical and emotional pain and relieve chronic conditions by healing the physical responses our bodies make after we've been hurt or experienced pain. While some people do not carry the effects of these experiences, others have bodies that hold onto these memories, which affect the way the body works. Because it is a free and fast technique, even if you are not one hundred percent committed to whether it works or not, it is still worth giving it a shot and seeing if there is any improvement.