The communicative theory of emotions postulates that emotions are communications both within the brain and between individuals. Basic emotions owe their evolutionary origins to social mammals, and they enable human beings to use repertoires of mental resources appropriate to recurring and distinctive kinds of events. These emotions also enable them to cooperate with other individuals, to compete with them, and to disengage from them. The human system of emotions has also grafted onto basic emotions propositional contents about the cause of (...) the emotion, the self, and other matters. Complex emotions always contain such contents, whereas basic emotions can be experienced without them. This article explains the role of basic emotions in social relationships, their effects on reasoning, and their pathology in psychological illness, such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder. (shrink)
Counterfactual reasoning research typically demonstrates contrast effects—nearly winning evokes frustration, whereas nearly losing evokes exhilaration. The present work, however, describes conditions under which assimilative responses (i.e., when judgements are pulled towards a comparison standard) also occur. Participants solved analogies and learned that they had either nearly attained a target score or nearly failed to attain it. Participants in the no trajectory condition received this feedback in the absence of any prior feedback, whereas those in the trajectory condition received feedback after (...) having received prior feedback conforming to either an ascending or descending pattern. Participants then provided perceptions of their verbal intelligence. Assimilation effects were observed in the trajectory conditions but attenuated in the no trajectory conditions. Discussion focuses on the role of feedback dynamics in determining responses to close-call counterfactuals. (shrink)
Keith Hossack's thesis is that knowledge is a conceptually primitive and metaphysically fundamental relation between a mind and a fact. He argues that in terms of the simple relation of knowledge we can analyze central notions of epistemology, of semantics, of modality and a priori knowledge, of psychology, and of linguistics. He does so in a framework that includes a fairly rich faculty psychology and that stresses causation: knowledge can be caused by belief, but because knowledge is simple, it (...) is not any kind of belief. He regards his enterprise as metaphysics, and he proceeds in a rather grand manner. The beginning of his Preface might remind one of the opening paragraphs of Leibniz's The Monadology.If knowledge is a simple relation between minds and facts, then we want to know a bit about facts. Hossack takes facts to consist in universals being instantiated among things. He favours a view of universals as respects in which things resemble each other, but his theory is at least officially silent about which universals exist, leaving that as a matter for scientific inquiry. But he takes metaphysics to be a science. Here he is being coy, and it is worth making out how. Hossack uses multigrade relations; these are relations of no fixed polyadicity that for any natural number n may be instantiated by n things. Vectors are bearers of such relations. The relation among working men of uniting to form a union is a multigrade relation, and the founders of the International Workers of the World are a vector bearing this relation. (shrink)
Natural myside bias is the tendency to evaluate propositions from within one's own perspective when given no instructions or cues (such as within-participants conditions) to avoid doing so. We defined the participant's perspective as their previously existing status on four variables: their sex, whether they smoked, their alcohol consumption, and the strength of their religious beliefs. Participants then evaluated a contentious but ultimately factual proposition relevant to each of these demographic factors. Myside bias is defined between-participants as the mean difference (...) in the evaluation of the proposition between groups with differing prior status on the variable. Whether an individual difference variable (such as cognitive ability) is related to the magnitude of the myside bias is indicated by whether the individual difference variable interacts with the between-participants status variable. In two experiments involving a total of over 1400 university students ( n = 1484) and eight different comparisons, we found very little evidence that participants of higher cognitive ability displayed less natural myside bias. The degree of myside bias was also relatively independent of individual differences in thinking dispositions. We speculate that ideas from memetic theory and dual-process theory might help to explain why natural myside bias is quite dissociated from individual difference variables. (shrink)
Byrne (2005) assumes that counterfactual thinking requires a comparison of facts with an imagined alternative. In our view, however, this assumption is unnecessarily restrictive. We argue that individuals do not necessarily engage in counterfactual simulations exclusively to evaluate factual reality. Instead, comparative evaluation is often suspended in favor of experiencing the counterfactual simulation as if it were real.