Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Intellectual Emotions

Academic journal article Psychology in Russia

Intellectual Emotions

Article excerpt

The program thesis of L.S. Vygotsky,which implies that human thinking is the unity of emotions and intelligence,was implemented in the study of intellectual emotions, which wasdeveloped by O.K. Tikhomirov. Theoretical and methodical results ofTikhomirov's research group were published beginning in the late 1960s in aprominent number of scientific journals and collective monographs (edited byTikhomirov).

The domain of the psychology ofthinking which was developed by Tikhomirov and his colleagues was significantlydifferent from widespread conceptions regarding thinking, such as: themathematical theory of rational decisions (Kozeleckij, 1979); operationaltheories, such as "General Problem Solver" (Ernst & Newell, 1969); thetheory of heuristic structures (Doerner, 1976) and from the "Cognitive Science"(Norman, 1981).

Tikhomirov, relying on empirical data,claimed that human thinking couldn't be thought of as a "computation", which isperformed according to an algorithm. He argued, first of all, against thethen-popular analogy of "artificial intelligence" to "human intelligence".Tikhomirov`s arguments for the qualitative specificity of human thinking werebased on a huge amount of data on goal formation and intellectual emotions inthe regulation of problem solving, which he acquired in a series of experimentswhich were conducted on various samples. A.N. Leontiev's specific concept,which can be translated as "Engagement" (Vasilyev et al., 1980, p. 19) or"Partiality" (Tikhomirov, 1988, p. 92) could be applied to the aforementioneddata.

The "Intellectual emotions" researchprogram can be considered a contribution to the development of the scientificproblem of connecting cognitive processes with physiological ones (particularlythe reactions of a vegetative nervous system).

Intellectual emotions wereparadoxically considered in psychology for a long time without their emotionalcomponent being taken into account. The connection of intellectual emotions withthe motives, interests and needs of a person was established only in works ofL.S. Vygotsky, S.L. Rubinstein and A.N. Leontiev. These authors emphasized theintegration of cognitive and emotional processes, which was manifested in suchunits of psychological analysis as the subjective reflection of an object(sense).

A.N. Leontiev explicitly claims thathuman activity is in principle "partial" (engaged), and that therefore it isregulated by emotions. Emotions are the psychological means of presenting a motiveto a subject: one can recognize his or her motive through the emotions he orshe meets with. This phenomenon is called the "incentive function" ofemotions. Emotions are relevant in that they function only for the entireactivity of a subject, but not for its subordinated units, such as actions andoperations. Emotions also possess an orienting function, as far as theyare the signals of the development of personal senses of what the situation andaction components are.

Vasilyev (1976, p. 151) definesintellectual emotions as appraisals of the thinking process. That definitioncan be amplified: subject-object relations, which are developed and reflectedin the thinking process, are apprised in intellectual emotions. If we considerthinking as an activity, according A.N. Leontiev's approach, this relation canbe understood as a motive-goal relationship, or a personal sense. Leontievcharacterizes emotional appraisal with the metaphor of "coloring". Emotionalcoloring has its own intensity, sign and quality (Vasilyevet al., 1980, p. 32). Emotional appraisal is not originally verbally delivered,but it can get verbal formulation later in the course of mental activity.Emotions are the indicators which present to our consciousness immediately themotivational meaning of unconscious psychic components.

Another question is how emotions takepart in the thinking process. This question wasn`t originally developed inwestern experimental psychology. Two different topics were elaborated in theinvestigation of intellectual emotions in Tikhomirov`s laboratory. …

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