Psychological and Biological Approaches to Emotion

By Nancy L. Stein; Bennett Leventhal et al. | Go to book overview

7 Arousal and Activation Systems and Primitive Adaptive Controls on Cognitive Priming

Don M. Tucker Kathryn Vannatta Johannes Rothlind University of Oregon

Certain things may be expected from a biological approach to emotion. It may be expected to deal with elementary, primitive things, like visceral stirrings or animalistic urges. It may also be expected to review facts and observational evidence rather than theorize about mental processes. The account of emotion we provide in this chapter should be satisfying to such expectations on the first count. We propose that the primitive substrates of mammalian motivational and emotional systems are integral to the human psychological functions. Our account may not meet the second expectation. Although there are observed facts on neural arousal systems that serve as a foundation for our approach, these facts do not speak for themselves. To proceed from concepts of neural control mechanisms to address issues of attentional and emotional control requires substantial theorizing. We take this theorizing as an important component of a neuropsychological approach to emotion, and as the work of this chapter. Our contention is that by developing concepts required to fit the neurophysiological evidence we may find novel ways of thinking about human motivation and emotion.


ACTIVATION AND AROUSAL THEORY

Interpreting Hemispheric Specialization for Emotion

In modern psychological models of emotion ( Mandler, 1985; Schacter & Singer, 1962), the construction of emotional experience often seems to occur through verbal, propositional cognition. Neuropsychologists have recently become intrigued with the nonverbal cognitive operations of the right hemisphere that

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