Emotion experience reflects some of the outcomes of the mostly nonconscious processes that compose emotions. In my view, the major processes are appraisal, affect, action readiness, and autonomic arousal. The phenomenology of emotion experience varies according to mode of consciousness (nonreflective or reflective consciousness), and to direction and mode of attention. As a result, emotion experience may be either ineffable or articulate with respect to any or all of the underlying processes. In addition, emotion experience reflects the degree to which (...) the emotion processes control perception, thought, action and bodily arousal. (shrink)
This article sets out to replace the concept of basic emotions with the notion of “ur-emotions,” the functionally central underlying processes of action readiness, which are not emotions at all. We propose that what is basic and universal in emotions are not multicomponential syndromes, but states of action readiness, themselves variants of motive states to relate or not relate with the world and with oneself. Unlike emotions, ur-emotions can be held to be universal and biologically based.
This comment argues that appraisals result from the almost incessant predictive activity of the awake brain, using its incoming and stored information. It explores how appraisal operates when it does. It argues that the analysis of the processes that lead to appraisals currently is still at an early stage.
Bob Solomon claimed that we are not passion’s slaves. I examine whether or not we are, considering universal determinism. I argue that we indeed are free, or at least that we can be, and try to understand this. Free will resides in the presence of alternative action options, in our ability to freely search for, detect, or create them, in our ability to use them, and in our ability to, in some measure, free ourselves from the automatic impact of external (...) and internal determinants. (shrink)
Bob Solomon used to inveigh against William James’ theory of emotions, but he eventually arrived at a rapprochement with James and James’s recent successors. In particular, James suggested that emotions are initiated by the “automatic, instinctive” appraisals that register important information in the body and are recorded by body-mapping brain areas. In recent work Solomon describes the judgments he thinks constitute emotions as felt bodily appraisals in similar fashion.
A functional interpretation of facial expressions of pain is welcome. Facial expressions of pain may be useful not only for communication, such as inviting help. They may also be of direct use, as parts of writhing pain behavior patterns, serving to get rid of pain stimuli and/or to suppress pain sensations by something akin to hyperstimulation analgesia.
The proposed dynamic systems model of emotion generation indeed appears considerably more plausible and descriptively adequate than traditional linear models. It also comes much closer to the complex interactions observed in neurobiological research. The proposals regarding self-organization in emerging appraisal-emotion interactions are thought-provoking and attractive. Yet, at this point they are more in the nature of promises than findings, and are clearly in need of corroborating psychological evidence or demonstrated theoretical desirability.