Handbook of Cognition and Emotion

By Tim Dalgleish; Mick J. Power | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 11
Organization of Emotional

Sven-Åke ChristiansonandElisabeth Engelberg
Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden

From an evolutionary perspective it is essential to recognize and remember emotional events and, in particular, unpleasant situations in order to ensure appropriate responses in maintaining protective, withdrawing or defensive behavior. Thus, survival has, to a great extent, hinged on some sort of emotional system that is fast enough to alert us to threatening or disturbing stimuli. The ability to quickly identify and recognize stimuli indicative of threatening situations seems to be based on partly an intentional recollection, mediated by phylogenetically and ontogenetically sophisticated memory systems (cf. episodic and semantic memory, see Tulving, 1972; explicit memory, see Graf & Schacter, 1985; reflective memory, see Johnson & Multhaup, 1992), and partly by mechanisms which do not involve consciously controlled processes (cf. implicit memory, see Schacter 1987; perceptual representation system, see Tulving & Schacter, 1990; evolutionary early perceptual subsystems, see Johnson & Multhaup, 1992).

With evolution, we also seem to have developed mechanisms which help us to inhibit or “forget” unpleasant experiences. To “forget” does not necessarily mean that the information is lost forever. Rather, we sometimes may have great difficulties accessing these events and bringing them up to a level of conscious awareness. There is extensive documentation showing that memories can be lost through trauma, for example victims of rape, torture, sexual abuse and war may show an initial psychogenic amnesia, but these memories may be successfully retrieved later on. Thus, memory of emotional events could be said to be organized along dimensions of consciousness. This chapter aims at elaborating on the thesis that emotionally valenced information is sometimes organized to favour conscious access routes and sometimes to favour non-conscious access routes.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Handbook of Cognition and Emotion
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 850

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?