Approaches to Emotion

By Klaus R. Scherer; Paul Ekman | Go to book overview

tained. Similarly, little difference in overt facial expression was apparent between the depressed versus nondepressed subjects during rest in the Schaffer et al. ( 1983) study described earlier. These admittedly preliminary observations suggest that expression changes are not required in order to observe differences in frontal activation asymmetry between two conditions.

Now that perception and expression have been at least tentatively ruled out as the subsystems which are most directly associated with the frontal asymmetries, what remains? I propose that what the frontal asymmetry most directly reflects is a central hedonic state that is often, although not always, correlated with emotional experience and which may be sometimes associated with expressive changes, the latter of which is dependent upon certain situational and contextual variables. This view holds that frontal asymmetries are correlated with emotional experience in individuals who are capable of veridically reporting on their internal states. In other research, we have demonstrated that individuals who exhibit repressive defensiveness show large dissociations between their verbal reports of internal states and other indices that more directly reflect these states (e.g., Davidson, 1983b; Weinberger, Schwartz, & Davidson, 1979). We would not expect repressors to show high correlations between their self-reports of emotional experience and frontal activation asymmetries.

The experiential differences between situations which elicit left versus right frontal lobe activation may also be associated with the initial activation of motor programs designed to initiate action sequences which reflect these emotional states. These motor programs may be expressed as both facial expressions and/or approach/withdrawal reactions. However, as I previously indicated, the overt expression of these actions is probably not necessary for the frontal asymmetries to be elicited. However, the presence of the frontal asymmetries may index the covert activation of these motor programs which in turn reflect a state of response preparedness. Definitive answers to these proposals probably must await studies on various neurological populations with paralysis of particular components of the skeletal-musculature.

The findings on affective lateralization indicate that an important cortical system which differentiates between certain positive and negative emotions exists in man. The presence of such a system provides a potentially important basis on which to differentiate among certain emotions. It is clear that a neurobiological/neuropsychological approach to emotion has much to contribute to understanding its basic nature.


ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Preparation of this chapter was supported in part by grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Foundation for Child Development. I would like to thank Paul Ekman for sensitizing me to certain issues which I address in this chapter and Diana Angelini for her secretarial assistance.

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Approaches to Emotion
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface xi
  • Questions About Emotion: An Introduction 1
  • References 7
  • 1: BIOLOGICAL APPROACH 9
  • 1: Emotion: A Neurobehavioral Analysis 13
  • References 34
  • 2: Hemispheric Asymmetry and Emotion 39
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT 54
  • 3: Contributions from Neuroendocrinology 59
  • References 70
  • II DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACHES 73
  • 5: The Organization of Emotional Development 109
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT 127
  • References 127
  • 6: Emotions in Infancy: Regulators of Contact and Relationships with Persons 129
  • Acknowledgments 154
  • III PSYCHOLOGICAL AND ETHOLOGICAL APPROACHES 159
  • 7: Affect Theory 163
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT 194
  • References 194
  • 8: Emotions: A General Psychoevolutionary Theory 197
  • References 218
  • 9: Cognition, Emotion and Motivation: The Doctoring of Humpty-Dumpty 221
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT 234
  • 10: The Interaction of Affect and Cognition 239
  • 11: Thoughts on the Relations Between Emotion and Cognition 247
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT 255
  • References 255
  • 12: On Primacy of Affect 259
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT 268
  • 13: A Perceptual Motor Theory of Emotion of Emotion 271
  • References 289
  • 4: On the Nature and Function of Emotion: A Component Process Approach 293
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT 315
  • References 316
  • 15: Expression and the Nature of Emotion 319
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT 340
  • 16: Animal Communication: Affect or Cognition? 345
  • Acknowledgments 363
  • References 363
  • IV SOCIOLOGICAL AND ANTHROPOLIGICAL APPROACHES 367
  • 17: Power, Status, and Emotions: A Sociological Contribution to A Psychophysiological Domain 369
  • References 381
  • 18: The Role of Emotion in Social Structure 385
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 396
  • References 396
  • 19: The Emotions in Comparative Perspective 397
  • References 411
  • Author Index 413
  • Subject Index 423
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