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Releasing Limiting Beliefs

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In this final section we would like to replay some of the edited highlights from the theories presented in this chapter. These points, along with those from Chapters 2 and 4, will then be carried forward to Chapter 5 where we will attempt an integration of current theories.

Each theory that we have examined, like all theories, has both strengths and weaknesses. Even some of the earlier theories that many now consider to be incorrect were influential enough to spawn empirical research that tested basic proposals. We can thereby be informed of what should not be included in a theory of emotion, which can often be more useful than information about what might be included.

1 The first point we need to make is that the concept of undifferentiated arousal as the basis of emotion would now seem to be in error. The key role given to undifferentiated physiological arousal in the Schachter and Singer (1962) theory and later theories such as Mandler's (e.g., 1984) is mistaken. There seems to be sufficient evidence for a distinction between at least two, if not several, different neurophysiological states. At minimum, it is necessary to distinguish between states that are positive and states that are negative (e.g., Davidson, 1999; Frijda, 1986; Weiner, 1985) on the basis of a range of physiological and psychological evidence; thus, one of the weaknesses of the Schachter and Singer (1962) proposal was that it was much easier to get individuals to interpret physiological arousal negatively rather than positively.

2 Our second point is more contentious because the jury is still out. Nevertheless, we believe there is now sufficient evidence to go one step further than the suggestion made in (1) and come down in favour of the idea of basic emotions. This idea has been central to only one of the appraisal theories that we have considered in this chapter; namely, the Oatley and Johnson-Laird (1987) theory. We considered much of the supporting evidence for this proposal from the pan-cultural recognition of certain facial expressions of emotion (e.g., Ekman, 1973, 1992) and the physiological distinctiveness of emotions, also considered in Chapter 2. We also noted in this chapter the additional supporting evidence from the linguistic analysis of emotion terms carried out by Johnson-Laird and Oatley (1989). However, in contrast to Johnson-Laird and Oatley, we would agree both with critics of their approach and with other appraisal theorists (e.g., Lazarus, 1991) that basic emotions can be combined; that is, that more than one basic emotion could underlie both the derivation of complex emotion terms and the actual experience of complex emotions. Indeed, in Chapter 5 and in the subsequent chapters on basic emotions, we will speculate that it may be the coupling of two or more basic emotions that "locks" the individual into some so-called emotional disorders; for example, disgust and anxiety in obsessional disorders; sadness and disgust in depressive disorders, and so on.

3 We will take a partisan view on the Lazarus-Zajonc debate and come down more in favour of Lazarus. As Leventhal and Scherer (1987) have cogently argued, this debate is largely one of semantics (in the pejorative sense) in that it depends on what one terms "cognitive" (see also the discussion in Chapter 2 of what "cognitive" implies). Indeed, in the early debate Zajonc seemed to equate "cognitive" with conscious processes and affective processes with unconscious processes. However, Zajonc has subsequently clarified his position (e.g., Murphy & Zajonc, 1993) and stated that while cognitive processes can refer to non-conscious processes, nevertheless the initial processes are qualitatively distinct affective ones. Along with many of the other cognitive appraisal theories that we have discussed here, we would go further and argue that even the initial classification of an input as affectively valent involves a cognitive process; such a process involves a computational decision and approximate matching process and it is irrelevant how "primitive" or evolutionally old the underlying apparatus is considered to be.

4 A number of theories posit different systems: for example, Lang (e.g., 1979) argued that three systems—the verbal, the behavioural, and the physiological— should be considered; in addition, Lang (1984) argued that in the case of anxiety disorders such as phobias three propositional networks—the stimulus network, the meaning network, and the response network—should be considered; and Leventhal and Scherer (1987) proposed that three components operate in parallel—the sensory-motor, the schematic, and the conceptual. One might be forgiven for thinking that emotion systems come in threes, but in contrast we would like to emphasise the potential desynchrony between two systems; a controlled processing system (variously labelled self-report, phenomenological, etc.) and an automatic processing system (including both physiological and behavioural aspects) that we have discussed in detail elsewhere (Dalgleish, 1994a; Power & Brewin, 1991). Although theorists such as Lang reject the idea of a unifying and underlying emotional state, this alternative seems preferable to Lang's three-headed beast of emotion, the Cerberus who guards psychology from the psychoanalytic underworld! Expressed in simpler terms, we suggest that two systems, one of which is based on controlled appraisal processes, the other of which is based on automatic or direct access processes, may be sufficient to encompass much of the desynchrony that has been emphasised by emotion theorists.

5 Localist varieties of network theories (e.g. Bower, 1981) have too many theoretical limitations and inadequate supporting data. In their place, the emergent properties of massively parallel distributed process networks may be more likely to provide a better framework for the brain and low-level automatic processes, although the types of PDP networks currently available may need to be substantially modified before an adequate theory is achieved. We would, however, add the possibility that cognitive and cognitive-emotional systems are organised in a modular fashion. Although in their theory Oatley and Johnson-Laird (1987; Oatley, 1992) argue in favour of modular organisation, they do not work through its implications for a theory of emotion and of emotional development. We will therefore leave discussion of this major issue until Chapter 5, while reiterating our earlier suggestion that different basic emotion modules may become "coupled" in certain emotional disorders, which may make recovery from such disorders extremely difficult (cf. Horowitz, 1988).

6 The importance of inhibitory as well as facilitatory processes has been emphasised by many different emotion theorists: Bower (1981) argued that many emotions have inhibitory connections such that it is not possible to experience positive and negative emotions at the same time; connectionist networks have of necessity incorporated inhibitory connections, for example, from "hidden units" which permit networks to handle logical disjunctives (i.e., the form "either, or, but not both") (e.g., Bechtel & Abrahamsen, 1991); and Frijda (1986) has argued that the control or inhibition of emotion must play a central role in theories of emotion. Overall, therefore, it is necessary to consider inhibitory effects in addition to facilitatory effects at all levels in the emotion system.

7 The importance of junctures in goals and plans (Oatley, 1992; Oatley & Johnson-Laird, 1987) or the general impact of events on the individual's goals (e.g., Lazarus, 1991; Leventhal & Scherer, 1987; Mandler, 1984) has been emphasised by many cognitive theories of emotion. We agree entirely that the impact of an event will vary with the importance of the goal or plan that is affected by that event and have presented supporting evidence for this proposal

Table 3.9 Tables of appraisals for the five basic emotions of sadness, happiness, anger, fear, and disgust

Basic emotion Appraisal

Sadness Loss or failure (actual or possible) of valued role or goal

Happiness Successful move towards or completion of a valued role or goal Anger Blocking or frustration of a role or goal through perceived agent

Fear Physical or social threat to self or valued role or goal

Disgust A person, object, or idea repulsive to the self, and to valued roles and goals

(Lam & Power, 1991). However, we argue that junctures in current goals and plans are sufficient but not necessary conditions for emotion and that there are numerous emotional reactions that do not fit easily into this categorisation. Emotion theory requires a more meta-theoretical analysis of the conditions for emotion that includes influences on current goals and plans as one form of emotion generation. The inclusion of the recall of junctures in past goals and plans, the imagined impact of hypothetical events on current or possible plans, and so on, provides a broader goal-based approach than analyses that focus primarily on current goals or plans. 8 Again, to go one step further and give the punchline first, we present in Table 3.9 the five basic emotions around which we will organise the second part of this book, together with their key appraisals. These appraisals draw on several of the theories that we have reviewed, especially those of Oatley and Johnson-Laird (1987) and Lazarus (1991), although we feel it is unlikely that all of these theorists would agree with our particular definitions. The appraisal system must provide decisions about the goal relevance, goal compatibility, type of incompatibility (if incompatible), and so on, of any input to the system. These and other relevant checks do not need to occur in sequence, but could happen in parallel to each other (e.g., Frijda, 1993; Lewis, 1996). We are also grateful to Nico Frijda (1998) for encouraging us to tighten up the summary appraisals and thereby to avoid including the action tendency as part of the appraisal, which we had done in our earlier summary appraisal for disgust.

These points provide the main highlights from the current cognitive theories of emotion—in particular, those theories that have focused on normal emotion. However, before we attempt to pull these theories together to provide an integrative model of cognition and emotion, we will first examine a number of cognitive theories of emotion that have taken abnormal rather than normal emotions as their starting point.

Chapter 4

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