This commentary (1) raises the question about the possible conﬂation of core affect with the neural representation of interoceptive changes in regard to whether biological value is subpersonal or must be experienced, and (2) proposes that Wundt’s third dimension of core affect – strain-relaxation – can be accounted for in the target model under a generalised predictive model of attention.
This paper draws on studies of the Capgras delusion in order to illuminate the phenomenological role of affect in interpersonal recognition. People with this delusion maintain that familiars, such as spouses, have been replaced by impostors. It is generally agreed that the delusion involves an anomalous experience, arising due to loss of affect. However, quite what this experience consists of remains unclear. I argue that recent accounts of the Capgras delusion incorporate an impoverished conception of experience, which fails (...) to accommodate the role played by ‘affective relatedness’ in constituting (a) a sense of who a particular person is and (b) a sense of others as people rather than impersonal objects. I draw on the phenomenological concept of horizon to offer an interpretation of the Capgras experience that shows how the content ‘this entity is not my spouse but an impostor’ can be part of the experience, rather than something that is inferred from a strange experience. (shrink)
In this paper I review some leading developments in the empirical theory of affect. I argue that (1) affect is a distinct perceptual representation governed system, and (2) that there are significant modular factors in affect. The paper concludes with the observation thatfeeler (affective perceptual system) may be a natural kind within cognitive science. The main purpose of the paper is to explore some hitherto unappreciated connections between the theory of affect and the computational theory of (...) mind. (shrink)
The actions of affect are prominent in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and can be broken down for the purposes of education into two roles. The first alludes to the history of philosophy and the ways in which affect has been used by Spinoza (Deleuze, 1992) Nietzsche (Deleuze, 1983) or Bergson (Deleuze, 1991). In this role, Deleuze reinvigorates and challenges definitions of affect that would place them into systems of understanding that could take paths to metaphysics or (...) to becoming paradigms for capture in any further theorisation of affect. For example, scholars might attest to the use of affect as defined by Spinoza in the Ethics. Deleuze (1983, 1991, 1992) attends to the ways in which scholarly understanding of affect has been broached in order to free the idea up for empirical studies and also to show that the power of didactic language may be subsumed and subverted. The second role of affect in the work of Deleuze comes about in his first two co-authored books that he produced with Félix Guattari (Deleuze & Guattari, 1984, 1988). These publications have a distinct purpose from the scholarly work, which this article shall examine in terms of educational activism, group identities and the sociology of education. This level imbues the use of language in pedagogic acts with an intense affective resonance and the multiple traces of becoming that might be present in any teaching and learning context. (shrink)
Embodied cognitive science has argued that cognition is embodied principally in virtue of grossmorphological and sensorimotor features. This thesis argues that cognition is also internally embodied in affective and fine-grained physiological features whose transformative roles remain mostlyunnoticed in contemporary cognitive science. I call this ‘proper embodiment’. I approach this larger subject by examining various emotion theories in philosophy and psychology. These tend to emphasiseone of the many gross components of emotional processes, such as ‘feeling’ or ‘judgement’ to thedetriment of the (...) others, often leading to an artificial emotion-cognition distinction even within emotionscience itself. Attempts to reconcile this by putting the gross components back together, such as JessePrinz’s “embodied appraisal theory”, are, I argue, destined to failure because the vernacular concept of emotion which is used as the explanandum is not a natural kind and is not amenable to scientificexplication.I examine Antonio Damasio’s proposal that emotion is involved in paradigmatic ‘cognitive’ processingsuch as rational decision making, and argue (1) that the research he discusses does not warrant the particular hypothesis he favours, and (2) that Damasio’s account, though in many ways a step in theright direction, nonetheless continues to endorse a framework which sees affect and cognition asseparate (though now highly interacting) faculties. I further argue that the conflation of ‘affect’ and‘emotion’ may be the source of some confusion in emotion theory and that affect needs to be properlydistinguished from ‘emotion’. I examine some dissociations in the pain literature which give us further empirical evidence that, as with the emotions, affect is a distinct component along with more cognitive elements of pain. I then argue that affect is distinctive in being grounded in homeostatic regulativeactivity in the body proper.With the distinction between affect, emotion, and cognition in hand, and the associated grounding of affect in bodily activity, I then survey evidence that bodily affect is also involved in perception and in paradigmatic cognitive processes such as attention and executive function. I argue that this relation isnot ‘merely’ casual. Instead, affect (grounded in fine-grained details of internal bodily activity) is partially constitutive of cognition, participating in cognitive processing and contributing to perceptualand cognitive phenomenology. Finally I review some work in evolutionary robotics which reaches asimilar conclusion, suggesting that the particular fine details of embodiment, such as molecular signalling between both neural and somatic cells matters to cognition. I conclude that cognition is‘properly embodied’ in that it is partially constituted by the many fine-grained bodily processesinvolved in affect (as demonstrated in the thesis) and plausibly by a wide variety of other fine-grained bodily processes that likewise tend to escape the net of contemporary cognitive science. (shrink)
This essay explores aesthetics, affect, and educational politics through the thought of Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Rancière. It contextualizes and contrasts the theoretical valences of their ethical and democratic projects through their shared critique of Kant. It then puts Rancière's notion of dissensus to work by exploring it in relation to a social movement and hunger strike organized for educational justice in Chicago's Little Village neighborhood. This serves as a context for understanding how educational provisions are linked to the (...) aesthetic distribution of perception within the neoliberal city. It also serves as a powerful example of how these orders of perception are resisted and subverted at the local level by aesthetic and affective means. Through the Little Village hunger strike the essay argues that while Rancière allows us to recognize the aesthetic dimensions of the political, he falls short in addressing tactical and/or affective considerations. The essay concludes by seeking to extend the critical efficacy of Rancière's dissensus through a rendering of tactical affect within Deleuzian metaphysics. (shrink)
In this paper I explore the shared interest of John Dewey and Carl Jung in the developmental continuity between biological, psychological, and cultural phenomena. Like other first generation psychological theorists, Dewey and Jung thought that psychology could be used to deepen our understanding of this continuity and thus gain a degree of control over human development. While their pursuit of this goal received little institutional support, there is a growing body of theory and practice derived from the new field of (...) ‘affect science’ as well as clinical and political psychologies, and other recent research into the function of human emotions, that are bringing greater institutional weight to the interest in anticipating and activating our psychocultural development. The epistemological and theoretical work of these seminal thinkers provides the foundation for this new praxis leading to: 1) a theory of ‘political development’ based in transformations of the psychocultural function of ‘reasoning’, ‘sensory’, and ‘affect’ freedom, as sources of culturally valid knowledge, which connects our biological heritage with increasingly advanced forms of individual and organizational identities; and 2) a range of psycho-educational practices that activate the political development of individuals and organizations by transforming the prejudicial dimensions of their current political identities. (shrink)
This chapter presents emotion as a function of brain-body interaction, as a vital part of a multi-tiered phylogenetic set of neural mechanisms, evoked by both instinctive processes and learned appraisal systems, and argues to establish the primacy of emotion in relation to cognition. Primarily based on Damasio's somatic marker hypothesis, but also incorporating elements of Lazarus' appraisal theory, this paper presents a neuropedagogical model of emotion, the somatic appraisal model of affect (SAMA). SAMA identifies quintessential components, facets, and functions (...) of affect necessary to provide a new domain, namely educational neuroscience, with a basis on which to build a dynamic model of affect serving to critique traditional cognitivist-oriented curricula and instruction, and to inform an alternative: neuropedagogy. (shrink)
Using a simulated two-party negotiation, we examined how trustworthiness and power balance affected deception. In order to trigger deception, we used an issue that had no value for one of the two parties. We found that high cognitive trust increased deception whereas high affective trust decreased deception. Negotiators who expressed anxiety also used more deception whereas those who expressed optimism also used less deception. The nature of the negotiating relationship (mutuality and level of dependence) interacted with trust and negotiators’ (...) class='Hi'>affect to influence levels of deception. Deception was most likely to occur when negotiators reported low trust or expressed negative emotions in the context of nonmutual or low dependence relationships. In these relationships, emotions that signaled certainty were associated with misrepresentation whereas emotions that signaled uncertainty were associated with concealment of information. Negotiators who expressed positive emotions in the context of a nonmutual or high dependence relationship also used less deception. Our results are consistent with a fair trade model in which negotiator increases deception when contextual and interpersonal cues heighten concerns about exploitation and decrease deception when these cues attenuate concerns about exploitation. (shrink)
We investigate how social comparison processes in leader treatment quality impact group members’ self-worth, affect, and behavior. Evidences from the field and the laboratory suggest that employees who are treated kinder and more considerate than their fellow group members experience more self-worth and positive affect. Moreover, the greater positive self-implications of preferentially treated group members motivate them more strongly to comply with norms and to engage in tasks that benefit the group. These findings suggest that leaders face an (...) ethical trade-off between satisfying the moral standard of treating everybody equally well and satisfying individual group members’ desire to be treated better than others. (shrink)
As a step towards comprehensive computer models of communication, and effective human machine dialogue, some of the relationships between communication and affect are explored. An outline theory is presented of the architecture that makes various kinds of affective states possible, or even inevitable, in intelligent agents, along with some of the implications of this theory for various communicative processes. The model implies that human beings typically have many different, hierarchically organized, dispositions capable of interacting with new information to produce (...) affective states, distract attention, interrupt ongoing actions, and so on. High "insistence" of motives is defined in relation to a tendency to penetrate an attention filter mechanism, which seems to account for the partial loss of control involved in emotions. One conclusion is that emulating human communicative abilities will not be achieved easily. Another is that it will be even more difficult to design and build computing systems that reliably achieve interesting communicative goals. (shrink)
The popular press and academic research has focused primarily on the characteristics of corporate leaders. Subordinates have been studied much less frequently than leaders and yet they play a pivotal role in destructive leadership processes. An area holding significant potential to bring clarity to subordinates’ ability to withstand (or succumb) to pressures from superiors is dispositional affect. In our exploratory study, we examine how specific affective states influence subordinates’ unethical behavior. We performed an experiment with 63 mid-level managers having (...) significant work experience. Participants were given ethical scenarios and asked to assess their intentions to comply with their superiors’ requests to engage in unethical conduct. The participants also completed the positive affect negative affect schedule (PANAS) which provides measures of affective states. Our results provide support for theory-based predictions. The findings of our study make important contributions and have implications to both practice and theory. First, we identify certain affective states that encourage subordinates to adopt the behavior of a conformer or colluder and thus be susceptible to their superiors’ unethical directives. Second, our results suggest the need for training programs to assist employees in managing affect in the work place and consideration of organizational changes that provide a culture of empowerment of its employees. Third, unlike a large majority of prior research, we measured naturally occurring affective states rather than providing a contrived (and potentially exaggerated) triggering event to elicit affective states. Fourth, we examined specific affective states rather than examining only general positive and negative valence categories. (shrink)
Socio-economic decisions are commonly explained by rational cost versus benefit considerations, whereas person variables have not much been considered. The present study aimed at investigating the degree to which dispositional power motivation and affective states predict socio-economic decisions. The power motive was assessed both indirectly and directly using a TAT-like picture test and a power motive self-report, respectively. After 9 months, 62 students completed an affect rating and performed on a money allocation task (social values questionnaire). We hypothesized and (...) confirmed that dispositional power should be associated with a tendency to maximize oneâs profit but to care less about another partyâs profit. Additionally, positive affect showed effects in the same direction. The results are discussed with respect to a motivational approach explaining socio-economic behaviour. (shrink)
Is there something special about the way music communicates feelings? Theorists since Meyer (1956) have attempted to explain how music could stimulate varied and subtle affective experiences, for example by violating learned expectancies, or by mimicking other forms of social interaction. Our proposal is that music speaks to the brain in its own language; it need not imitate any other form of communication. We review recent theoretical and empirical literature, which suggests that all conscious processes consist of dynamic neural events, (...) produced by spatially dispersed processes in the physical brain. Intentional thought and affective experience arise as dynamical aspects of neural events taking place in multiple brain areas simultaneously. At any given moment, this content comprises a unified “scene” that is integrated into a dynamic core through synchrony of neuronal oscillations. Core affect enables the binding of sensory information about a stimulus and the accompanying somatovisceral information to create valenced, dynamic representations of external events. We argue that neurodynamic synchrony with musical stimuli gives rise to musical qualia including tonal and temporal expectancies, and that music-synchronous responses couple into core neurodynamics, enabling music to directly modulate core affect. For example, expressive music performance may recruit rhythm-synchronous neural responses to support affective communication. We suggest that the dynamic relationship between musical expression and the experience of affect presents a unique opportunity for the study of emotional experience. This may help elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying arousal and valence, and offer a new approach to exploring the complex dynamics of the how and why of emotional experience. (shrink)
A positive influence of physical activity (PA) on affect has been shown in numerous studies. However, this relationship has not yet been studied in the daily life of children. We present a part of the FLUX study that attempts to contribute to filling that gap. To this end, a proper way to measure PA and affect in the daily life of children is needed. In pre-studies of the FLUX study, we were able to show that affect can (...) be measured in children with self-report items that are answered using smartphones. In the current article, we show that it is feasible to objectively measure children’s PA with accelerometers for a period of several weeks and report descriptive information on the amount of activity of 51 children from 3rd and 4th grade. Additionally, we investigate the influence of daily PA on daily affect in children. Mixed effects models show no effect of PA on any of the four measured dimensions of affect. We discuss that this might be due to effects taking place at shorter time intervals, which can be investigated in future analyses. (shrink)
Reward-based decision-learning refers to the process of learning to select those actions that lead to rewards while avoiding actions that lead to punishments. This process, known to rely on dopaminergic activity in striatal brain regions, is compromised in Parkinson’s disease (PD). We hypothesized that such decision-learning deficits are alleviated by induced positive affect, which is thought to incur transient boosts in midbrain and striatal dopaminergic activity. Computational measures of probabilistic reward-based decision-learning were determined for 51 patients diagnosed with PD. (...) Previous work has shown these measures to rely on the nucleus caudatus (outcome evaluation during the early phases of learning) and the putamen (reward prediction during later phases of learning). We observed that induced positive affect facilitated learning, through its effects on reward prediction rather than outcome evaluation. Viewing a few minutes of comedy clips served to remedy dopamine-related problems in putamen-based frontostriatal circuitry and, consequently, in learning to predict which actions will yield reward. (shrink)
The present research examined the hypothesis that cognitive processes are modulated differentially by trait and state negative affect (NA). Brain activation associated with trait and state NA was measured by fMRI during an attentional control task, the emotion-word Stroop. Performance on the task was disrupted only by state NA. Trait NA was associated with reduced activity in several regions, including a prefrontal area that has been shown to be involved in top-down, goal-directed attentional control. In contrast, state NA was (...) associated with increased activity in several regions, including a prefrontal region that has been shown to be involved in stimulus-driven aspects of attentional control. Results suggest that NA has a significant impact on cognition, and that state and trait NA disrupt attentional control in distinct ways. (shrink)
Cultural differences in the perception of positive affect intensity within an advertising context were investigated among American, Japanese and Russian participants. Participants were asked to rate the intensity of facial expressions of positive emotions, which displayed either subtle, low intensity or salient, high intensity expressions of positive affect. In agreement with previous findings from cross-cultural psychological research, current results demonstrate both cross-cultural agreement and differences in the perception of positive affect intensity across the three cultures. Specifically, American (...) participants perceived high arousal images as significantly less calm than participants from the other two cultures, while the Japanese participants perceived low arousal images as significantly more excited than participants from the other cultures. The underlying mechanisms of these cultural differences were further investigated through difference scores that probed for cultural differences in perception and categorization of positive emotions. Findings indicate that rating differences are due to (1) perceptual differences in the extent to which high arousal images were discriminated from low arousal images, and (2) categorization differences in the extent to which facial expressions were grouped into affect intensity categories. Specifically, American participants revealed significantly higher perceptual differentiation between arousal levels of facial expressions in high and intermediate intensity categories. Japanese participants, on the other hand, did not discriminate between high and low arousal affect categories to the same extent as did the American and Russian participants. These findings indicate the presence of cultural differences in underlying decoding mechanisms of facial expressions of positive affect intensity. Implications of these results for cross-cultural communication and global advertising are discussed. (shrink)
Nietzsche associates values with affects and drives: he not only claims that values are explained by drives and affects, but sometimes appears to identify values with drives and affects. This is decidedly odd: the agent's reflectively endorsed ends, principles, commitments--what we would think of as the agent's values--seem not only distinct from, but often in conflict with, the agent's drives. Consequently, it is unclear how we should understand Nietzsche's concept of value. This essay attempts to dispel these puzzles by reconstructing (...) Nietzsche's account of value. According to the view that I defend, an agent values X iff (i) the agent has a drive-induced affective orientation toward X and (ii) the agent does not disapprove of this affective orientation. Additionally, I argue that drives generate thoughts about justification, thereby inclining the agent to regard pursuit of the drive's aim as valuable. I contend that this interpretation makes sense of Nietzsche’s remarks about value and overcomes the difficulties inherent in competing interpretations. I conclude by investigating the recalcitrance of drive-induced affective orientations. (shrink)
Representationalism is the view that the phenomenal character of experiences is identical to their representational content of a certain sort. This view requires a strong transparency condition on phenomenally conscious experiences. We argue that affective qualities such as experienced pleasantness or unpleasantness are counter-examples to the transparency thesis and thus to the sort of representationalism that implies it.
Although individuals with Williams syndrome (WS) typically demonstrate an increased appetitive social drive, their social profile is characterized by dissociations, including socially fearless behavior coupled with anxiousness, and distinct patterns of “peaks and valleys” of ability. The aim of this study was to compare the processing of social and non-social visually and aurally presented affective stimuli, at the levels of behavior and autonomic nervous system (ANS) responsivity, in individuals with WS contrasted with a typically developing (TD) group, with the view (...) of elucidating the highly sociable and emotionally sensitive predisposition noted in WS. Behavioral findings supported previous studies of enhanced competence in processing social over non-social stimuli by individuals with WS; however, the patterns of ANS functioning underlying the behavioral performance revealed a surprising profile previously undocumented in WS. Specifically, increased heart rate (HR) reactivity, and a failure for electrodermal activity (EDA) to habituate were found in individuals with WS contrasted with the TD group, predominantly in response to visual social-affective stimuli. Within the auditory domain, greater arousal linked to variation in heart beat period was observed in relation to music stimuli in individuals with WS. Taken together, the findings suggest that the pattern of ANS response in WS is more complex than previously noted, with increased arousal to face and music stimuli potentially underpinning the heightened behavioral emotionality to such stimuli. The lack of habituation may underlie the increased affiliation and attraction to faces characterizing individuals with WS. Future research directions are suggested. (shrink)
Jerome Neu has been one of the most prominent voices in the philosophy of emotions for more than twenty years, that is, before the field was even a field. His Emotions, Thought, and Therapy (1977) was one of its most original and ground-breaking books. Neu is an uncompromising defender of what has been called the cognitive theory of emotions (as am I). But the ambiguity, controversy, and confusions own by the notion of a cognitive theory of emotion is what I (...) would like to focus on here. In so doing I will indicate some of the way sin which my own theory has developed. (shrink)
Placing readings of early modern painting and literature in conversation with psychoanalytic theory and assemblage theory, this book argues that, far from isolating its sufferers, melancholy brings people together.
The recent rise in ethical consumerism has seen increasing numbers of corporate brands project a socially responsible and ethical image. But does having a corporate brand that is perceived to be ethical have any influence on outcome variables of interest for its product brands? This study analyzes the relationship between perceived ethicality at a corporate level, and brand trust, brand affect and brand loyalty at a product level. A theoretical framework with hypothesized relationships is developed and tested in order (...) to answer the research question. Data have been collected for 45 product categories in the fast moving consumer goods sector using a panel of 4,027 Spanish consumers. The proposed relationships are tested using structural equations modeling. The results suggest there is a positive relationship between perceived ethicality of a brand and both brand trust and brand affect. Brand affect also positively influences brand trust. Further, brand trust and brand affect both show a positive relation with brand loyalty. The managerial and academic implications of the results are discussed. (shrink)
This essay presents and reflects upon the construction of a few experimental artworks, among them Caracolomobile , that looks for poetic, aesthetic and functional possibilities to bring computer systems to the sensitive universe of human emotions, feelings and expressions. Modern and Contemporary Art have explored such qualities in unfathomable ways and nowadays is turning towards computer systems and their co-related technologies. This universe characterizes and is the focus of these experimental artworks; artworks dealing with entwined subjective and objective qualities, weaving (...) perceptions, sensations and concepts. One of them, Caracolomobile, features an art installation creating a set up for an artificial robot that recognizes humans’ affective states and answers them with movements and sounds. The robot was installed over an artificial mirror lake in an open indigo-blue space surrounded by mirrors. It perceives and discriminates human emotional states and expressions using an interface developed with a non-intrusive neural headset (The neural headset used was developed by Emotiv Systems: http://www.emotiv.com . Accessed 11 August 2011). This artwork raises questions and looks for answers inquiring about the preliminary steps for the creation of artefacts that would conduct one to poetically experiment with affect, emotion, sensations and feelings in computational systems. Other works in progress ask about the poetic possibilities of mixing computational autonomous processes and behavioural robotic procedures (Arkin 1998 ) to create artificial environments mixed with humans. (shrink)
What do we see when we look at someone's expression of fear? I argue that one of the things that we see is fear itself. I support this view by developing a theory of affect perception. The theory involves two claims. One is that expressions are patterns of facial changes that carry information about affects. The other is that the visual system extracts and processes such information. In particular, I argue that the visual system functions to detect the affects (...) of others when they are expressed in the face. I develop my theory by drawing on empirical data from psychology and brain science. Finally, I outline a theory of the semantics of affect perception. (shrink)
An extensive body of research suggests that the distinction between doing and allowing plays a critical role in shaping moral appraisals. Here, we report evidence from a pair of experiments suggesting that the converse is also true: moral appraisals affect doing/allowing judgments. Specifically, morally bad behavior is more likely to be construed as actively ‘doing’ than as passively ‘allowing’. This finding adds to a growing list of folk concepts influenced by moral appraisal, including causation and intentional action. We therefore (...) suggest that the present finding favors the view that moral appraisal plays a pervasive role in shaping diverse cognitive representations across multiple domains. (shrink)
How Does the Environment Affect the Person? Mark H. Bickhard invited chapter in Children's Development within Social Contexts: Metatheoretical, Theoretical and Methodological Issues, Erlbaum. edited by L. T. Winegar, J. Valsiner, in press.
The phenomena of human consciousness and subjectivity are explored from the perspective of affect-logic, a comprehensive meta-theory of the interactions between emotion and cognition based mainly on cognitive and social psychology, psychopathology, neurobiology Piaget?s genetic epistemology, psychoanalysis, and evolutionary science. According to this theory, overt or covert affective-cognitive interactions are obligatorily present in all mental activity, seemingly ?neutral? thinking included. Emotions continually exert numerous so-called operator-effects, both linear and nonlinear, on attention, on memory and on comprehensive thought, or logic (...) in a broad sense. They deeply ?affect? also consciousness and subjectivity, as showed by the analysis of four crucially involved phenomena, namely (1) attention, (2) abstraction, (3) language, and (4) the prevailing affective state. The conclusion is that neither consciousness nor subjectiovity can be adequately understood without fully considering their emotional aspects. (shrink)
Forthcoming in Cognitive Architecture: from bio-politics to noo-politics, eds. Deborah Hauptmann, Warren Neidich and Abdul-Karim Mustapha INTRODUCTION The cognitive and affective sciences have benefitted in the last twenty years from a rethinking of the long-dominant computer model of the mind espoused by the standard approaches of computationalism and connectionism. The development of this alternative, often named the “embodied mind” approach or the “4EA” approach (embodied, embedded, enactive, extended, affective), has relied on a trio of classical 20th century phenomenologists for its (...) philosophical framework: Husserl, Heidegger, and Merleau-Ponty. In this essay I propose that the French thinker Gilles Deleuze can provide the conceptual framework that will enable us to thematize some unstated presuppositions of the 4EA School, as well as to sharpen, extend and / or radicalize some of their explicit presuppositions. I highlight three areas here: 1) an ontology of distributed and differential systems, using Deleuze’s notion of the virtual; 2) a thought of multiple subjectification practices rather than a thought of “the” subject, even if it be seen as embodied and embedded; and 3) a rethinking of the notion of affect in order to thematize a notion of “political affect.” I will develop this proposal with reference to Bruce Wexler’s Brain and Culture, a work which resonates superbly with the Deleuzean approach. (shrink)
In everyday life we take it for granted that we have conscious control of some of our actions and that the part of us that exercises control is the conscious mind. Psychosomatic medicine also assumes that the conscious mind can affect body states, and this is supported by evidence that the use of imagery, hypnosis, biofeedback and other ‘mental interventions’ can be therapeutic in a variety of medical conditions. However, there is no accepted theory of mind/body interaction and this (...) has had a detrimental effect on the acceptance of mental causation in science, philosophy and in many areas of clinical practice. Biomedical accounts typically translate the effects of mind into the effects of brain functioning, for example, explaining mind/body interactions in terms of the interconnections and reciprocal control of cortical, neuroendocrine, autonomic and immune systems. While such accounts are instructive, they are implicitly reductionist, and beg the question of how conscious experiences could have bodily effects. On the other hand, non-reductionist accounts have to cope with three problems: 1) The physical world appears causally closed, which would seem to leave no room for conscious intervention. 2) One is not conscious of one’s own brain/body processing, so how could there be conscious control of such processing? 3) Conscious experiences appear to come too late to causally affect the processes to which they most obviously relate. This paper suggests a way of understanding mental causation that resolves these problems. It also suggests that “conscious mental control” needs to be partly understood in terms of the voluntary operations of the preconscious mind, and that this allows an account of biological determinism that is compatible with experienced free will. (shrink)
It is commonly assumed that the scientific study of emotions should focus on discrete categories such as fear, anger, sadness, joy, disgust, shame, guilt, and so on. This view has recently been questioned by the emergence of the “core affect movement,” according to which discrete emotions are not natural kinds. Affective science, it is argued, should focus on core affect, a blend of hedonic and arousal values. Here, I argue that the empirical evidence does not support the thesis (...) that core affect is a more “natural” category than discrete emotions. I conclude by recommending a splitting strategy in our search for natural affective kinds. †To contact the author, please write to: Andrea Scarantino, Department of Philosophy and Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, P.O. Box 4089, Atlanta, GA 30302‐4089; email: email@example.com. (shrink)
Can we test philosophical thought experiments, such as whether people would enter an experience machine or would leave one once they are inside? Dan Weijers argues that since 'rational' subjects (e.g. students taking surveys in college classes) are believable, we can do so. By contrast, I argue that because such subjects will probably have the wrong affect (i.e. emotional states) when they are tested, such tests are almost worthless. Moreover, understood as a general policy, such pretend testing would ruin (...) the results of most psychological tests, such as those of helping behavior, attitudes to authority, moral transgressions, etc. However, I also argue that certain philosophical thought experiments do not require us to have as much (or any) affect to understand them, or to elicit intuitions, and so can be tested. Generally, experimental philosophy must adhere to this limit, on pain of offering vacuous results. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Shaun Nichols (2002) presents a theory that offers an explanation of the cognitive processes underlying moral judgment. His Affect-Backed Norms theory claims that (i) a set of normative rules coupled with (ii) an affective mechanism elicits a certain response pattern (which we will refer to as the “moral norm response pattern”) when subjects respond to transgressions of those norms. That response pattern differs from the way subjects respond to violations of norms that lack the affective (...) backing (here referred to as the “conventional norm response pattern”). In response, Daniel Kelly and colleagues (2007) present data that, the authors claim, undermine Nichols’ Affect-Backed Norms theory by showing that there are novel cases in which (i) and (ii) are in place, yet subjects respond in the way typical of the conventional response pattern. In Section I of this paper we summarize the challenge to the Affect-Backed Norms theory from the novel cases introduced by Kelly et al. We then show how the challenge is potentially flawed because no verification was provided that subjects were experiencing affect when reading the cases, nor was level of affect controlled for. In Section II, we describe the study we conducted to determine what level of affect was induced when subjects read the novel cases. In Section III, we present our findings, namely that subjects respond to the novel cases with different levels of affect, which tracks their judgments of the severity of the transgressions in the cases. In Section IV, we discuss the results and show that the Affect-Backed Norms theory can explain subjects’ responses to the novel cases given this new 2 information about affective response. In Section V, we conclude with a thought about how these findings inform the traditional moral/conventional distinction. (shrink)
I develop two different epistemic roles for emotion and desire. Caring for moral ends and people plays a pivotal though contingent role in ensuring reliable awareness of morally salient details; possession of various emotions and motives is a necessary condition for autonomous understanding of moral concepts themselves. Those who believe such connections compromise the "objective" status of morality tend to assume rather than argue for the bifurcated conception of reason and affect this essay challenges.
Over the past several decades the ‘affective revolution’ in cognitive psychology has emphasized the critical role affect and emotion play in human decision-making. Drawing on this affective literature, various commentators have recently proposed strategies for managing therapeutic expectation that use contextual, symbolic, or emotive interventions in the consent process to convey information or enhance comprehension. In this paper, we examine whether affective consent interventions that target affect and emotion can be reconciled with widely accepted standards for autonomous action. (...) More specifically, the ethics of affective consent interventions is assessed in terms of key elements of autonomy, comprehension and voluntariness. While there may appear to be a moral obligation to manage the affective environment to ensure valid informed consent, in circumstances where volunteers may be prone to problematic therapeutic expectancy, this moral obligation needs to be weighed against the potential risks of human instrumentalization. At this point in time we do not have enough information to be able to justify clearly the programmatic manipulation of human subjects' affective states. The lack of knowledge about affective interventions requires corresponding caution in its ethical justification. (shrink)
Although various points of Hume's canonical works hint at a critique of religious affect, his most explicit attack on such sentiments occurs in a letter of June 30th 1743 to his friend William Mure. In this letter Hume sets out an objection to all affective attitudes that are putatively directed toward God, and maintains that the Deity is not in fact the ‘natural object’ of any human passion. I examine this claim and canvass three possible interpretations of Hume's challenge (...) to religious affect, according to which Hume is, alternatively, (i) asserting the impropriety of all religious affect, (ii) denying that our affective states can secure reference to the divine, or (iii) rejecting the psychological possibility of affective states that take God as their object. Hume's argument may be best understood, I suggest, as a combination of all three criticisms. I close with an examination of Hume's diagnosis of the self-deceit involved in putative cases of religious feeling, and connect the argument of his letter to the similar analyses in Essays, Moral and Political and the Natural History of Religion. (shrink)
In this paper, illocutionary acts of commanding will be differentiated from perlocutionary acts that affect preferences of addressees in a new dynamic logic which combines the preference upgrade introduced in DEUL (dynamic epistemic upgrade logic) by van Benthem and Liu with the deontic update introduced in ECL II (eliminative command logic II) by Yamada. The resulting logic will incorporate J. L. Austin’s distinction between illocutionary acts as acts having mere conventional effects and perlocutionary acts as acts having real effects (...) upon attitudes and actions of agents, and help us understand why saying so can make it so in explicit performative utterances. We will also discuss how acts of commanding give rise to so-called “deontic dilemmas” and how we can accommodate most deontic dilemmas without triggering so-called “deontic explosion”. (shrink)
Abstract The effect of inducing negative, positive or neutral affect on the recall of moral and conventional transgressions and positive moral and conventional acts was examined. It was found that inducing negative affect was associated with higher recall of moral transgressions while inducing positive affect was associated with higher recall of positive moral acts. Affect induction condition did not have a significant effect on the recall of the conventional transgressions or positive acts. The results are interpreted (...) within the Violence Inhibition Mechanism model of moral development (Blair, 1995) and by reference to a new, hypothesised system, the Smiling Reward Response. (shrink)
I offer a novel interpretation of Aristotle's psychology and notion of rationality, which draws the line between animal and specifically human cognition. Aristotle distinguishes belief (doxa), a form of rational cognition, from imagining (phantasia), which is shared with non-rational animals. We are, he says, “immediately affected” by beliefs, but respond to imagining “as if we were looking at a picture.” Aristotle's argument has been misunderstood; my interpretation explains and motivates it. Rationality includes a filter that interrupts the pathways between cognition (...) and behavior. This prevents the subject from responding to certain representations. Stress and damage compromise the filter, making the subject respond indiscriminately, as non-rational animals do. Beliefs are representations that have made it past the filter, which is why they can “affect [us] immediately.” Aristotle's claims express ceteris paribus generalizations, subject to exceptions. No list of provisos could turn them into non-vacuous universal claims, but this does not rob them of their explanatory power. Aristotle's cognitive science resolves a tension we grapple with today: it accounts for the specialness of human action and thinking within a strictly naturalistic framework. The theory is striking in its insight and explanatory power, instructive in its methodological shortcomings. (shrink)
Cognitive biases that affect decision making may affect the decisions of citizens that influence public policy. To the extent that decisions follow principles other than maximizing utility for all, it is less likely that utility will be maximized, and the citizens will ultimately suffer the results. Here I outline some basic arguments concerning decisions by citizens, using voting as an example. I describe two types of values that may lead to sub-optimal consequences when these values influence political behavior: (...) moralistic values (which people are willing to impose on others regardless of the consequences) and protected values (PVs, values protected from trade-offs). I present evidence against the idea that voting is expressive, i.e., that voters aim to express their moral views rather than to have an effect on outcomes. I show experimentally that PVs are often moralistic. Finally, I present some data that citizens’ think of their duty in a parochial way, neglecting out-groups. I conclude that moral judgments are important determinants of citizen behavior, that these judgments are subject to biases and based on moralistic values, and that, therefore, outcomes are probably less good than they could be. (shrink)
This commentary begins by explaining how Mangan's important work leads to a question about the relation between non-sensory experiences and perception. Reflection on affect then suggests an addition to Mangan's view that may be helpful on this and perhaps some other questions. Finally, it is argued that acceptance of non-sensory experiences is fully compatible with epiphenomenalism.
Experiments are described, using electroencephalography (EEG) and simple tests of performance, which support the hypothesis that collapse of a quantum field is of importance to the functioning of the brain. The theoretical basis of our experiments is derived from Penrose (1989) who suggested that conscious decision-making is a manifestation of the outcome of quantum computation in the brain involving collapse of some relevant wave function. He also proposed that collapse of any wave function depends on a gravitational criterion. As different (...) brain areas are known to subserve different functions, we argue that `Penrose collapse' must occur in a particular brain area when performing a task that uses it. Further, taking an EEG from the area should amplify the gravitational prerequisite for collapse, so affecting task performance. There are no non-quantum theories which could lead one to expect that taking an EEG could directly affect task performance by subjects. The results of both pilot and main experiments indicated that task performance was indeed influenced by taking an EEG from relevant brain areas. Control experiments suggested that the influence was quantum mechanical in origin, and was not due to any experimental artefact. The results are statistically significant and merit attempts at replication in an independent laboratory, preferably with more sophisticated equipment than was available to us. (shrink)
It is a common assumption amongst theorists that the phenomenon of animal emotion supports the affect program theory of emotion. I argue that this assumption is mistaken by exploring two cases of animal emotion from studies in ethology: aggression in chimpanzees and fear in piping plovers. While the affect program theory fails to account for the cognitive complexity involved in each case, I do not argue for a cognitive theory of emotion. Instead, I suggest that paying attention to (...) animal emotions helps the emotion theorist avoid the dichotomy between the extreme versions of the affect program theory and cognitive theories. ‡My thanks to Bart Moffatt, Ben Schulz, Jessica Slind, Katie Plasiance, Ken Waters, Mark Borrello, Susan Hawthorne, and Toben Lafrancois for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. †To contact the author, please write to: Department of Philosophy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. (shrink)
Because music communicates extra-propositionally, philosophers often use musical concepts and metaphors to discuss implicit and/or affective knowledges. Music is a productive means to philosophically analyze affect, but only when these analyses are grounded in rigorous studies of actual musical works and practices. When we don’t ground our study of music in musical practices, works, and theories, “music” just becomes a mirror of whatever assumptions and biases we already have. I show how the overly-abstract treatment of music and sound in (...) Jean-Luc Nancy’s Listening leads to significant philosophical and political problems. By following his musical metaphors all the way through, I show how his theory of listening naturalizes maleness/masculinity, and, like liberal multiculturalism, values “difference” only as a way to re-center whiteness and patriarchy. As an alternative, I use R&B/electropop singer Kelis’s 2010 single “Acapella” (sic) to develop an alternative account of music, affect, and the politics of difference. (shrink)
Empirical research on counterfactual thinking has found a closeness effect: people report higher negative affect if an actual outcome is close to a better counterfactual outcome. However, it remains unclear what actually is a ?close? miss. In three experiments that manipulate close counterfactuals, closeness effects were found only when closeness was unambiguously defined either with respect to a contrasted alternative, or with respect to a categorical boundary. In a real task people failed to report greater negative affect when (...) encountering a close numerical miss, while they predicted greater negative affect hypothetically. These results show that counterfactual closeness effects on affect depend on closeness being accessible and unambiguously defined. (shrink)