Skip to main content

It's O.K. to be complicated. The case of emotion

Buy Article:

$25.94 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Since at least the time of Darwin, we have recognized that our human emotional life is very similar to the emotional life of other creatures. We all react in characteristic ways to emotionally valenced stimuli. Though other animals may not blush or cry, we all have prototypical ways of expressing anger, disgust, fear, sadness, happiness, and curiosity. In assuming that the neural circuits underlying these reactions are homologous or at least analogous across species, neurophysiologists and neuropsychologists have been able to construct impressive and substantial research programmes studying the neural correlates for emotion. They are to be applauded, for we now know quite a lot about where and how basic emotions are processed in the brain.

At the same time, there is a dangerous trend developing in the study of emotion in neurophysiology and neuropsychology, a trend toward oversimplifying and reducing emotional responses to the point of distortion. We all know that scientists must abstract away from much of what is going on in order to produce quantitative and unambiguous data. We also know that scientists operate using several basic methodological, technological, and theoretical assumptions. The question I wish to address here is whether, in the case of emotions, scientists haven't gone too far in their tendency to modularize brain processes and to reduce reactions down to their simplest components.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0126, USA.

Publication date: 1999-11-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
X
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more