Researchers have wondered how the brain creates emotions since the early days of psychological science. With a surge of studies in affective neuroscience in recent decades, scientists are poised to answer this question. In this target article, we present a meta-analytic summary of the neuroimaging literature on human emotion. We compare the locationist approach (i.e., the hypothesis that discrete emotion categories consistently and specifically correspond to distinct brain regions) with the psychological constructionist approach (i.e., the hypothesis that discrete emotion categories (...) are constructed of more general brain networks not specific to those categories) to better understand the brain basis of emotion. We review both locationist and psychological constructionist hypotheses of brain–emotion correspondence and report meta-analytic findings bearing on these hypotheses. Overall, we found little evidence that discrete emotion categories can be consistently and specifically localized to distinct brain regions. Instead, we found evidence that is consistent with a psychological constructionist approach to the mind: A set of interacting brain regions commonly involved in basic psychological operations of both an emotional and non-emotional nature are active during emotion experience and perception across a range of discrete emotion categories. (shrink)
Psychological construction constitutes a different paradigm for the scientific study of emotion when compared to the current paradigm that is inspired by faculty psychology. This new paradigm is more consistent with the post-Darwinian conceptual framework in biology that includes a focus on (a) population thinking (vs. typologies), (b) domain-general core systems (vs. physical essences), and (c) constructive analysis (vs. reductionism). Three psychological construction approaches (the OCC model, the iterative reprocessing model, and the conceptual act theory) are discussed with respect to (...) these ideas. (shrink)
Emotion regulation has the odd distinction of being a wildly popular construct whose scientific existence is in considerable doubt. In this article, we discuss the confusion about whether emotion generation and emotion regulation can and should be distinguished from one another. We describe a continuum of perspectives on emotion, and highlight how different (often mutually incompatible) perspectives on emotion lead to different views about whether emotion generation and emotion regulation can be usefully distinguished. We argue that making differences in perspective (...) explicit serves the function of allowing researchers with different theoretical commitments to collaborate productively despite seemingly insurmountable differences in terminology and methods. (shrink)
Experiences of emotion are content-rich events that emerge at the level of psychological description, but must be causally constituted by neurobiological processes. This chapter outlines an emerging scientific agenda for understanding what these experiences feel like and how they arise. We review the available answers to what is felt (i.e., the content that makes up an experience of emotion) and how neurobiological processes instantiate these properties of experience. These answers are then integrated into a broad framework that describes, in psychological (...) terms, how the experience of emotion emerges from more basic processes. We then discuss the role of such experiences in the economy of the mind and behavior. (shrink)
Within the discipline of psychology, the conventional history outlines the development of two fundamental approaches to the scientific study of emotion—“basic emotion” and “appraisal” traditions. In this article, we outline the development of a third approach to emotion that exists in the psychological literature—the “psychological constructionist” tradition. In the process, we discuss a number of works that have virtually disappeared from the citation trail in psychological discussions of emotion. We also correct some misconceptions about early sources, such as work by (...) Darwin and James. Taken together, these three contributions make for a fuller and more accurate account of ideas about emotion during the century stretching from 1855 to just before 1960. (shrink)
According to models of objectification, viewing someone as a body induces de-mentalization, stripping away their psychological traits. Here evidence is presented for an alternative account, where a body focus does not diminish the attribution of all mental capacities but, instead, leads perceivers to infer a different kind of mind. Drawing on the distinction in mind perception between agency and experience, it is found that focusing on someone's body reduces perceptions of agency but increases perceptions of experience. These effects were found (...) when comparing targets represented by both revealing versus nonrevealing pictures or by simply directing attention toward physical characteristics. The effect of a body focus on mind perception also influenced moral intuitions, with those represented as a body seen to be less morally responsible but more sensitive to harm. These effects suggest that a body focus does not cause objectification per se but, instead, leads to a redistribution of perceived mind. (shrink)
In various guises (usually referred to as the “basic emotion” or “discrete emotion” approach), scientists and philosophers have long argued that certain categories of emotion are natural kinds. In a recent paper, Colombetti (2009) proposed yet another natural kind account, and in so doing, characterized and critiqued psychological constructionist approaches to emotion, including our own Conceptual Act Model. In this commentary, we briefly address three topics raised by Columbetti. First, we correct several common misperceptions about the discrete emotion approach to (...) emotion. Second, we discuss misconceptions of our Conceptual Act Model. Finally, we briefly comment on Columbetti's Dynamical Discrete Emotion model. (shrink)
According to Buddhist philosophies, recognizing the self as impermanent, changing, and interdependent is at the root of virtue. With this realization, desires shift away from inward self-cherishing and toward outward self-transcending. This altruistic outlook underlies virtuous action and flourishing. Our primary research question asks: 1) to what extent do people experience self-transcending and self-cherishing desires in everyday life, and 2) to what extent do these different desires predict behaviors and body physiology that underlie virtue and well-being. As highlighted by the (...) SMV project, one challenge involves measuring both intention and action. To overcome this challenge, we propose a multimethodological study that will integrate firstperson experiences of desires, secondperson reports from close others, and thirdperson laboratory measures of prosocial behavior and body physiology that underlie virtue and flourishing in the context of social relationships. We will use an “experience sampling” method delivered via a smartphone app to capture psychological desires in daily life. In the laboratory, we will examine if desires in daily life are related to prosocial behavior and physiological synchrony during face-to-face social interactions with a romantic partner. Theoretically, we anticipate that integration of Buddhist philosophy into Western psychology research will encourage more emphasis on the deep psychological desires that appear to continually drive behavior. Empirically, we predict that frequent self-transcending desires in daily life will be related to prosocial behavior and physiological synchrony during interactions with romantic partners. Going forward, this project will provide the foundation for future work examining how the moral self can be shaped through contemplative practice in everyday life. (shrink)
We propose that learning has a top-down component, but not in the propositional terms described by Mitchell et al. Specifically, we propose that a host of learning processes, including associative learning, serve to imbue the representation of the conditioned stimulus (CS) with affective meaning.
In our response, we clarify important theoretical differences between basic emotion and psychological construction approaches. We evaluate the empirical status of the basic emotion approach, addressing whether it requires brain localization, whether localization can be observed with better analytic tools, and whether evidence for basic emotions exists in other types of measures. We then revisit the issue of whether the key hypotheses of psychological construction are supported by our meta-analytic findings. We close by elaborating on commentator suggestions for future research.
In this commentary, we review evidence that production-based (perceiver-independent) measures reveal few consistent sex differences in emotion. Further, sex differences in perceiver-based measures can be attributed to retrospective or dispositional biases. We end by discussing an alternative view that women might appear to be more emotional because they are more facile with emotion language.
We agree that conceptualisation is key in understanding the brain basis of emotion. We argue that by conflating facial emotion recognition with subjective emotion experience, Lindquist et al. understate the importance of biological predisposition in emotion. We use examples from the anxiety disorders to illustrate the distinction between these two phenomena, emphasising the importance of both emotional hardware and contextual learning.
Lindquist et al. convincingly argue that the brain implements psychological operations that are constitutive of emotion rather than modules subserving discrete emotions. However, the nature of such psychological operations is open to debate. I argue that considering appraisal theories may provide alternative interpretations of the neuroimaging data with respect to the psychological operations involved.