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Thread: A Core Component Of Emotional Experience: A Conditioned Response Of The Affect Compon

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    Default A Core Component Of Emotional Experience: A Conditioned Response Of The Affect Compon

    Based on the assumption that emotion is acquired, this article examines and analyzes the mental contents and neural basis of emotional experience and sensory feeling(e.g. pain, hunger,taste,smell and so on ) by referencing the existing theoretical viewpoints and experimental results. It is argued that emotional experience and sensory feeling are all the compound feelings that consist of cognitive representation (referring to all kinds of discriminative sensations and all kinds of mental representations based on them)and affect representation (only two conscious qualities, pleasure and displeasure that respectively carry the mental states of likes and dislikes,), and the affect representation is the core components of emotional experience. And then it is assumed that the core component of emotional experience,at the level of neural activity,originates from the conditioned response of the affect component of sensory feeling, based on the separability of cognitive representation and affect representation in emotional experience and sensory feeling as well as the homology in neural basis between the affect representations in emotional experience and in sensory feeling. And some specific performances of cognitive representation, affect representation in emotional experience, and related mental phenomena are discussed, from here it infers that objectification of affect (projects conscious qualities and liking or disliking states of affect onto the perception of body or outside object) is an important mental mechanism in emotional experience.

    INTRODUCTION: For a long time, most psychologists believe that human is born with a few basic emotions(usually fear, anger, sadness, happiness, disgust, and interest),each basic emotion is a set of particular global response(including body arousal, subjective experience and behavior or action potential)generated by innately set independent brain devices that is genetically determined products of evolution(but is influenced also by experience), while some more complex emotions such as shame,pride and guilty may be the combinations of several basic emotions(e.g., Colombetti, 2009; Damasio, 1994; Damasio, 1999; Ekman,1980; Ekman, 2003; Izard & Malatesta, 1987; LeDoux, 1998; Tomkins, 1962). This view is, after all, just a theoretical assumptions, and some meta-analyses do not support that there are the specific brain structures that correspond to the*different basic emotions(Murphy, Nimmo-Smith, & Lawrence, 2003;Phan, Wager, Taylor, & Liberzon, 2002). In the last decade, emotion psychologists Russell and Barrett have questioned the basic emotion view from the aspects of neuroscience,phenomenology,linguistics and so on(Barrett, 2006; Barrett, 2006b; Barrett, Mesquita, Ochsner, & Gross, 2007; Russell, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2009; Russell & Barrett, 1999). They argue that the set of particular response of each typical emotion may be a stable pattern formed postnatally by some related responses that generate by different mechanisms, and believe that the progress in the science of emotion has been blocked by the basic emotion assumptions. They suggest that the core affect that consists of valence(pleasure-displeasure)and arousal constitutes the most basic building block of emotional life,and they are basic and primitive, while the emotion is produced from the attribution or conceptualization of core affect when the core affect change in the reaction to a event. And they argue that the task of emotion science is to make empirical researches and interpretations on the each component of emotion as well as the relationship between them.

    I agree with Russell and Barrett's basic view that emotions arise from acquired mechanism and their opinion about the task of emotion science. However, I think they interpret the core affect as basic and primitive building block of emotion which may pay too much attention to the correlation between valence and arousal, while ignoring that they may also arise from different mechanisms. .In the first two chapters,this article examines and analyzes the mental content and neural basis of emotional experience and sensory feeling, and argue that they are both the compound feelings that consist of separable cognitive and affect representation which come from different sources (the "affect " in this article refers only to valence or hedonic tone ; more explanation will be given later), believing that the affect representation is the core element of the emotional experience, and it and arousal arise from different mechanisms. The third chapter discusses the manifestation and the relevant mental phenomenon of cognitive representation and affect representation in the emotional experience , thinking the affect objectification is an important mechanism of emotional experience. Finally, based on the separability of cognitive representation and affect representation in emotional experience and sensory feeling, and based on the fact that a lot of researches show the homology of these two kinds of affect(in emotional experience and in sensory feeling) in the brain substrate, the article analyzes the possibility that the affect component in emotional experience derive from the conditioned response of the affect component in sensory feeling.

    ( to be continued )


    Research in Applied Psychology, No. 55, Fall 2012, 215-250 應用心理研究, 第 55 期, 2012 秋, 215-250 頁
    Last edited by Fujing; 12-13-2013 at 06:01 AM.

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    Emotion experience is a multi-component compound feeling

    It is generally accepted that emotion is a multi-component process, including at least subjective experiences, expression behavior and physiological arousal(e.g., Izard,1991;Gross,& Levenson,1993). The experience of emotion is an important part of the emotion process,so in-depth look at it is certainly an important way to understand emotion. First, this chapter lists some representative views about emotion experience by category,then analyses them respectively based on the existing experimental evidences and objective phenomena,and put forward a comprehensive conclusion.

    Three types of views about emotion experience

    1. Emotion experience is a body perception.
    James: emotional states have specific and unique patterns of somatovisceral changes, and the perception of them constitutes an emotion experience (James, 1890). Tomkins: each discrete emotion is a set of motor and glandular responses(mainly located in the face)which is triggered by different subcortical affect programs,and emotion experience is the awareness of this facial feedback(Tomkins, 1962). Izard:“A specific emotion is a specific facial expression, and our awareness of that facial expression is the ... Subjective experience of emotion” (Izard,1977;p. 58).

    2. Emotion experience is the compound feeling that consists of body perception and other perceptions
    Maranon: an event evokes emotion, which leads to perception, which leads to sympathetic arousal, of which the person may become aware. The true emotion will only be experienced when the perceived arousal is joined with the initial perception(Maranon, 1924). Mandler: emotion experience is a unified construction that combines a nonspecific arousal structure and an evaluative structure (i.e., cognitive interpretation of the situation). The awareness of arousal provides the intensity of the emotion experience,and the awareness of evaluative provides the particular content and quality of emotion experience(Mandler, 1984). Damasio: the integrated experience or feeling of emotion consists of bodily image and a visual image or an auditory image of what caused the emotion, in the form of combination or superposition(Damasio, 1994; pp. 145–146).

    3.Emotion experience is the compound feeling of the awareness of hedonic tone(pleasure-displeasure, otherwise called as valence, positive or negative feeling) and other perceptions.
    Leventhal: first of all,the individual has a feeling caused by external information, and this feeling is simply positive or negative rather than representing more precise categories of emotion experience. Later, more specific emotional discriminations occur and involve feedback from the expressive and autonomic systems(Leventhal, 1982). Frijda: emotion experience is usually made up of the awareness of action tendency,of a autonomic arousal, of a hedonic feeling of pleasure or pain, of an appraised situation, and awareness of the emotion’s significance(Frijda, 1986). Johnston:the shared element and remarkable attribute of all feelings—emotions and sensory feelings—are hedonic tone(positive and negative).“...the presence of hedonic tone—pleasantness or unpleasantness—defines feelings and distinguishes them from all other types of conscious subjective experiences, like thoughts and sensations.”(Johnston, 1999;p. 62). Russell: at the heart of emotion, mood, and any other emotionally charged event are core affect. Core affect is a primitive feeling that consists of valence(pleasure-displeasure)and arousal, and it can be experienced in relation to no known stimulus— in a free-floating form—as seen in moods,and can be experienced as a emotion by attributing it to an object or event. Barrett: the emotions such as anger, sadness, happiness and so on people will experience when core affective feeling, perceptions of meaning in the world, and conceptual knowledge about emotion are bound together at a moment in time to form a single unified percept, much like color, depth, and shape are experienced together in object perception(Barrett, 2006b).
    Last edited by Fujing; 12-19-2013 at 12:08 PM.

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    Default An analysis and integration of the above three types of views

    With regard to the first type of view, it is acknowledged that the emotion process is usually accompanied with body changes and our perception of them, and there is really a high stability of the connections between different emotions and the different forms of visceral changes and facial expressions, and so it allows body perception to be an important differentiating factor to different emotion experiences(Scherer & Wallbott,1994)。However, while affirming the importance of the body perception in emotion experiences,it is open to doubt the adequacy of the body perception as emotion experience. A simple counter example is that, as Kalat and Shiota(2007) have pointed out, many non-emotional factors can also influence sympathetic nervous system activities. For example, when you walk up a flight of stairs, you also feel polypnea and heart pounding. Clearly, the body perception at that moment has no quality of emotion. This shows that the body perception is not sufficient for emotion experience. James once said: “Without the bodily states following on the perception, the latter would be purely cognitive in form, pale, colourless, destitute of emotional warmth ”(p. 248).However, from the perspective that the perception of faster heartbeat, faster breathing and tense muscles that result from somebody doing physical exercises has no the property of emotion,the body perception itself is also pale and colourless,destitute of emotional warmth, and possess cognitive quality,in the absence of something.

    Furthermore, in the studies of the people with spinal cord injuries who lost the ability of response and sensation of body in different degrees,most patients reported that their emotion experiences were as strong as before, especially fear and sadness (Chwalisz et al.,1988;Cobos et al.,2002). And the patients with Moebius syndrome, congenital loss of facial movement, have no apparent deficit in emotion experience,and their ability to recognize the facial expressions remains intact(Calder et al.,2000;Bogart & Matsumoto, 2010). Even some patients with locked-in syndrome(people lose almost all output from the brain to the muscles and the autonomic nervous system except a few clusters of neurons control eye muscles), reported(dictated by blinks of one eyelid) that they could feel a series of emotions from sadness to happiness(Damasio,1999).

    These are sufficient to show that although body perception is important to emotion experience, it is not sufficient,and even is perhaps not necessary. Obviously, in addition to the body perception, there are other more important mental contents in emotion experience.
    Last edited by Fujing; 12-19-2013 at 02:37 PM.

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