Psychological and Biological Approaches to Emotion

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

17
The Biological Significance of Affectivity

Terrance Br own University of Chicago

I have called this principle by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term Natural Selection, in order to mark its relation to man's power of selection.

-- Charles Darwin( 1964/ 1859)1

The biological significance of mind is a necessary condition of scientific psychology.

-- Lev Vygotsky ( Zinchenko & Davydov, 1985)

In a thoughtful paper "On the Nature and Function of Emotion," Klaus Scherer ( 1984) points out that the history of psychology seems to cycle between periods where man is conceived as basically irrational and emotional2 and periods when he is conceived as an egg-headed creature of reason. Although currently there are indications of a shift away from the rational view inherent in behavioral and cognitivist approaches, renewed interest in emotion, according to Scherer, has so far failed to move us in the direction of more fruitful views of human mental life. One reason for this is that emotion theorists often attempt to deal with individual

____________________
1
For historic texts, the original date of publication is given after the date of the edition actually used.
2
Scherer starts off using the term emotion as a rubric for affective phenomena of every type. Later, he distinguishes emotions from affective processes in general as has been done historically for compelling reasons ( Fraisse, 1968).

-405-

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