In this article we review the emerging literature on the self-transcendent emotions. We discuss how the self-transcendent emotions differ from other positive emotions and outline the defining features of this category. We then provide an analysis of three specific self-transcendent emotions—compassion, gratitude, and awe—detailing what has been learned about their expressive behavior, physiology, and likely evolutionary origins. We propose that these emotions emerged to help humans solve unique problems related to caretaking, cooperation, and group coordination in social interactions. In our (...) final section we offer predictions about the self-transcendent emotions that can guide future research. (shrink)
In this article, we advance the perspective that distinct emotions amplify different moral judgments, based on the emotion’s core appraisals. This theorizing yields four insights into the way emotions shape moral judgment. We submit that there are two kinds of specificity in the impact of emotion upon moral judgment: domain specificity and emotion specificity. We further contend that the unique embodied aspects of an emotion, such as nonverbal expressions and physiological responses, contribute to an emotion’s impact on moral judgment. Finally, (...) emotions play a key role in determining which issues acquire moral significance in a society over time, in a process known as moralization (Rozin, 1999). The implications of these four observations for future research on emotion and morality are discussed. (shrink)
A primary function of empathy is to help individuals form and maintain social bonds. Empathy should thus occur only when individuals seek to solidify social bonds, and not in response to any opportunity to process others' emotions. Empathy should also involve only certain types of emotion – specifically, emotions that facilitate social bonds – and not any and all types of emotion.
Atran & Norenzayan (A&N) correctly claim that religion reduces emotions related to existential concerns. Our response adds to their argument by focusing on religious differences in the importance of emotion, and on other emotions that may be involved in religion. We believe that the important differences among religions make it difficult to have one theory to account for all religions.