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What role do the emotions play in cognition?: Towards a new alternative to cognitive theories of emotion

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This paper has two aims: (1) to point the way towards a novel alternative to cognitive theories of emotion, and (2) to delineate a number of different functions that the emotions play in cognition, functions that become visible from outside the framework of cognitive theories. First, I hold that the Higher Order Representational (HOR) theories of consciousness — as generally formulated — are inadequate insofar as they fail to account for selective attention. After posing this dilemma, I resolve it in such a manner that the following thesis arises: the emotions play a key role in shaping selective attention. This thesis is in accord with A. Damasio’s (1994) noteworthy neuroscientific work on emotion. I then begin to formulate an alternative to cognitive theories of emotion, and I show how this new account has implications for the following issues: face recognition, two brain disorders (Capgras’ and Fregoli syndrome), the frame problem in A. I., and the research program of affective computing.
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Keywords: cognition; cognitive theories of emotion; consciousness; emotion; face recognition; selective attention; the frame problem

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Louisiana State University

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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