This volume presents cutting-edge theory and research on emotions as constructed events rather than fixed, essential entities. It provides a thorough introduction to the assumptions, hypotheses, and scientific methods that embody psychological constructionist approaches. Leading scholars examine the neurobiological, cognitive/perceptual, and social processes that give rise to the experiences Western cultures call sadness, anger, fear, and so on. The book explores such compelling questions as how the brain creates emotional experiences, whether the "ingredients" of emotions also give rise to other (...) mental states, and how to define what is or is not an emotion. Introductory and concluding chapters by the editors identify key themes and controversies and compare psychological construction to other theories of emotion. (shrink)
Feeling bad is one thing, judging something to be bad another. This hot/cold distinction helps resolve the debate between bipolar and bivariate accounts of affect. A typical affective reaction includes both core affect and judgments of the affective qualities of various aspects of the stimulus situation. Core affect is described by a bipolar valence dimension in which feeling good precludes simultaneously feeling bad and vice versa. Judgments of affective quality of opposite valence can occur simultaneously because the stimulus situation has (...) many aspects. Affective reaction can also include an emotional meta-experience, which can, but rarely does, embrace simultaneous emotion categories of opposite valence. (shrink)
Autism continues to fascinate researchers because it is both debilitating in its effects and complex in its nature and origins. The prevalent theory is that autism is primarily characterised by difficulties in understanding mental concepts, but the contributors to this book present new and compelling arguments for an alternative theory. Their research points strongly to the idea that autism is primarily a disorder of "executive functions", those involved in the control of action and thought. As such, the book provides a (...) new and controversial perspective on this important question. (shrink)
Evidence does not support the claim that observers universally recognize basic emotions from signals on the face. The percentage of observers who matched the face with the predicted emotion (matching score) is not universal, but varies with culture and language. Matching scores are also inflated by the commonly used methods: within-subject design; posed, exaggerated facial expressions (devoid of context); multiple examples of each type of expression; and a response format that funnels a variety of interpretations into one word specified by (...) the experimenter. Without these methodological aids, matching scores are modest and subject to various explanations. (shrink)
The idea behind this book is that developing a conception of the physical world and a conception of mind is impossible without the exercise of agency, meaning "the power to alter at will one's perceptual inputs." The thesis is derived from a philosophical account of the role of agency in knowledge - the first time this has been attempted in the context of developmental psychology. The book is divided into three parts. In Part One, Russell argues that purely "representational" theories (...) of mind and of mental development have been overvalued, thereby clearing the ground for the book's central thesis. In Part Two, he proposes that, because objective experience depends upon the experience of agency, the development of the "object concept" in human infants is grounded in the development of executive-attentional capacities. In Part Three, an analysis of the links between agency and self-awareness generates an original theory of the nature of certain stage-like transitions in mental functioning and of the relationship between executive and mentalising deficits in autism. The book will be of particular interest to students and researchers in cognitive-developmental psychology, to philosophers of mind, and to anybody with an interest in cognitive science. (shrink)
Episodic memory is usually regarded in a Conceptualist light, in the sense of its being dependent upon the grasp of concepts directly relevant to the act of episodic recollection itself, such as a concept of past times and of the self as an experiencer. Given this view, its development is typically timed as being in the early school-age years. We present a minimalist, Non-Conceptualist approach in opposition to this view, but one that also exists in clear contrast to the kind (...) of minimalism espoused by Clayton and Dickinson with regard to memory in food-caching birds. While emphasising the nonconceptual elements of episodic memory we also insist on the essentially phenomenological nature of the memory. We propose the third year of life as a plausible onset period. Our view is rooted in Kantian assumptions about the spatiotemporal content of experience and about the synthetic unity of experience—and thus of re-experience. We answer two objections to this position. (shrink)
Izard (2010) did not seek a descriptive definition of emotion—one that describes the concept as it is used by ordinary folk. Instead, he surveyed scientists’ prescriptive definitions—ones that prescribe how the concept should be used in theories of emotion. That survey showed a lack of agreement today and thus raised doubts about emotion as a useful scientific concept.
Recent work on the early development of episodic memory in my laboratory has been fuelled by the following assumption: if episodic memory is re-experiential memory then Kant’s analysis of the spatiotemporal nature of experience should constrain and positively influence theories of episodic memory development. The idea is that re-experiential memory will “inherit” these spatiotemporal features. On the basis of this assumption, Russell and Hanna (Mind and Language 27(1):29–54, 2012) proposed that (a) the spatial element of re-experience is egocentric and (b) (...) that the temporal element of re-experiencing involves order/simultaneity. The first of these assumptions is immediately problematic for two reasons. In the first place, if we assume that early episodic recall mediated by processing in the hippocampus, then (a) is clearly in tension with the fact that spatial coding in the hippocampus is allocentric/environment-centred. Second, two of our own recent experiments (described here) show that when only egocentric cues are available in a What/When/Where episodic memory task it is not possible to distinguish young children’s performance from semantic memory. I argue that this tension should be resolved by recognising that the egocentric coding of the original experience as being of an objective scene relies upon allocentric representations and these are preserved in re-experiential memory, allowing a recollection of the objective nature of the scene on which one takes a subjective view. (shrink)
This article explores the idea that Core Affect provides the emotional quality to any conscious state. Core Affect is the neurophysiological state always accessible as simply feeling good or bad, energized or enervated, even if it is not always the focus of attention. Core Affect, alone or more typically combined with other psychological processes, is found in the experiences of feeling, mood and emotion, including the subjective experiences of fear, anger and other so-called basic emotions which are commonly thought to (...) be raw, primitive, and universal. (shrink)
Although death by neurologic criteria is legally recognized throughout the United States, state laws and clinical practice vary concerning three key issues: the medical standards used to determine death by neurologic criteria, management of family objections before determination of death by neurologic criteria, and management of religious objections to declaration of death by neurologic criteria. The American Academy of Neurology and other medical stakeholder organizations involved in the determination of death by neurologic criteria have undertaken concerted action to address variation (...) in clinical practice in order to ensure the integrity of brain death determination. To complement this effort, state policymakers must revise legislation on the use of neurologic criteria to declare death. We review the legal history and current laws regarding neurologic criteria to declare death and offer proposed revisions to the Uniform Determination of Death Act and the rationale for these recommendations. (shrink)
Assessing children's episodic future thinking by having them select items for future use may be assessing their functional reasoning about the future rather than their future episodic thinking. In an attempt to circumvent this problem, we capitalised on the fact that episodic cognition necessarily has a spatial format (Clayton & Russell, 2009; Hassabis & Maguire, 2007). Accordingly, we asked children of 3, 4, and 5 to chose items they would need to play a game (blow football) from the opposite side (...) of the table on which they had never before played. The crucial item was the box that was needed by children to reach the table from the other side. Over four experiments, we demonstrated that, while children of 3 perform poorly on future questions and children of 5 generally perform quite well, children of 4 years find a question about what they themselves will need to play in the future harder to answer than a similar question posed about another child. We suggest that this result is due to the 'growth error' of over-applying newly-developed Level 2 perspective-taking skills (Flavell et al., 1981), which encourages the selection of non-functional items. The data are discussed in terms of perspective-taking abilities in children and of the neural correlates of episodic cognition, navigation, and theory of mind. (shrink)
William James's definition of psychology as 'the science of mental life' has been heard so often that we are apt to forget how radically it diverges from the view of psychology which so many of its practitioners hold today.
Six studies tested the hypothesis that being reminded of our animal nature makes us feel disgust. Participants from three cultural groups indicated the intensity of their disgust reactions to pleasant and unpleasant animal reminder stories and pictures as well as to a statement directly reminding them of their animal nature. Findings did not support the hypothesis: Pleasant animal reminders reminded respondents of their animal nature, but were not disgusting. The direct reminder of our animal nature was not disgusting. There was (...) no significant correlation between disgust and being reminded of animal nature for disgusting animal reminders. Thus, some disgusting events remind us of our animal nature, but they are not disgusting because they remind us of our animal nature. Animal reminders per se are not disgusting. (shrink)
Jane is calmly strolling through the forest one lovely day. Suddenly, a large spider drops in front of her face. She immediately freezes; her heart races; her hands tremble; her face broadcasts “fear.” She screams and runs away. Both before and after, she concedes that spiders in this forest are harmless.Jane's reaction to the spider contrasts greatly with the way she normally reacts to events. Normally, or so the story goes, Jane weighs her options thoughtfully, choosing a course of action (...) consistent with her beliefs and with the greatest benefit. Indeed, her reaction to the spider contrasts so greatly with calm, rational, deliberate, belief-consistent action that traditional folk psychology supposed two different kinds of mechanism are at work: animal-like emotion versus human reason. Her emotion explains her reaction to the spider. Her emotion made her do it. (shrink)
Language development is one of the major battle grounds within the humanities and sciences. This book presents, for the first time, an impartial account of the three dominant theories of language development. Written to be accessible for those within developmental psychology, philosophy, and linguistics, the book provides the reader with the information they need in order make up their own mind about this much debated issue.
The ascription of intentional states to the self involves knowledge, or at least claims to knowledge. Armed with the working definition of knowledge as 'the ability to do things, or refrain from doing things, or believe, or want, or doubt things, for reasons that are facts' [Hyman, J. Philos. Quart. 49:432—451], I sketch a simple competence model of acting and believing from knowledge and when knowledge is defeated by un-experienced changes of state. The model takes the form of three concentric (...) circles. The 'periphery' is analogous to Fodor's [(1983), The modularity of mind. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA] input systems. The 'core' contains copies of peripheral representations, and between these representations there is executive competition. At the 'nucleus', operations are performed on the core representations of, at least, negation and recursion. I argue that this provides a fruitful way in which to conceptualise why theory-of-mind tasks challenge pre-school children, how some degree of first-person authority is mental state attribution is possible, and how executive inhibition is achieved. (shrink)
On the assumption that shame is a universal emotion, cross-cultural research on shame relies on translations assumed to be equivalent in meaning. Our studies here questioned that assumption. In three studies,shamewas compared to its translations in Spanish and in Malayalam. American English speakers usedshamefor the emotional reaction to moral failures and its use correlated positively withguilt, whereasvergüenzaandnanakeduwere used less for moral stories and their use correlated less with the guilt words. In comparison with Spanish and Malayalam speakers’ ratings of their (...) translations, American English speakers ratedshameandguiltto be more similar to each other. (shrink)
Comment on an article by Peter Zachar An account of emotion must include categories and dimensions. Categories because humans categorize reality, and a person's categorization of their own state influences aspects of that state. Dimensions because humans are always in some state of Core Affect, which varies by degree along dimensions of valence and activation . In Psychological Construction, Core Affect and a host of other "components" are separate on-going processes, always in some pattern. Occasionally the pattern resembles a prototype (...) of a category of emotion sufficiently to count as an instance of that category. 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
Do different languages have a translation for the English word disgust that labels the same underlying concept? If not, the English word might label a culture-specific concept. Four studies compared disgust to its common translation in Hindi and in Malayalam by examining two components of the concept thought of as a script: causal antecedent and facial expression. The English word was used to refer to reactions to both unclean substances and moral violations; Hindi and Malayalam translations referred mainly to moral (...) violations. Speakers of all three languages associated different facial expressions to unclean substances and moral violations. Words for disgust in the three languages failed a test of translation equivalence. (shrink)