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Are emotional expressions intentional?: A self-organizational approach

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This paper discusses the debate over whether emotional expressions are spontaneous or intentional actions. We describe a variety of empirical evidence supporting these two possibilities. But we argue that the spontaneous-intentional distinction fails to explain the psychological dynamics of emotional expressions. We claim that a complex systems perspective on intentions, as self-organized critical states, may yield a unified view of emotional expressions as a consequence of situated action. This account simultaneously acknowledges the embodied status of environment, evolution, culture and mind in theories of emotion.
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Keywords: embodiment; emotional expressions; intentions; self-organized behaviors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of California, Santa Cruz 2: Arizona State University

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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