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Abstract: Two studies explore the frequently reported finding that affective forecasts are too extreme. In the first study, driving test candidates forecast the emotional consequences of failing. Test failers overestimated the duration of their disappointment. Greater previous experience of this emotional event did not lead to any greater accuracy of the forecasts, suggesting that learning about one's own emotions is difficult. Failers' self-assessed chances of passing were lower a week after the test than immediately prior to the test; this difference correlated with the magnitude of individual immediate disappointments, suggesting the presence of a cognitive strategy for recovering from disappointments. A second study investigated the theory that undue focus on the differences between present and future biases affective forecasts. “Defocusing” that induced low-level construals of the future reduced the extremeness of affective forecasts but a higher-level construal did not. We conclude that a focusing effect may bias affective forecasts
Abstract: The recent discovery of so-called “mirror-neurons” in monkeys and a corresponding mirroring “system” in humans has provoked wide endorsement of the claim that humans understand a variety of observed actions, somatic sensations, and emotions via a kind of direct representation of those actions, sensations, and emotions. Philosophical efforts to assess the import of such “mirrored understanding” have typically focused on how that understanding might be brought to bear on theories of mindreading (how we represent other creatures as having mental states), and usually in cases of action. By contrast, this paper assesses mirrored understanding in cases of emotion and its import for theories of empathy and especially empathy in ethical contexts. In particular, this paper argues that the mirrored understanding claim is ambiguous and ultimately misleading when applied to emotion, partly because mirroring proponents fail to appreciate the way in which empathy might serve a distinct normative function in our judgments of what other people feel. The paper thus concludes with a call to revise the mirrored understanding claim, whether in neuroscience, psychology, or philosophy
Ellis, Ralph D. (1999). Why isn't consciousness empirically observable? Emotion, self-organization, and nonreductive physicalism.Journal of Mind and Behavior 20 (4):391-402. (Google)
Abstract: I argue that it is possible literally to perceive the emotions of others. This account depends upon the possibility of perceiving a whole by perceiving one or more of its parts, and upon the view that emotions are complexes. After developing this account, I expound and reply to Rowland Stout's challenge to it. Stout is nevertheless sympathetic with the perceivability-of-emotions view. I thus scrutinize Stout's suggestion for a better defence of that view than I have provided, and offer a refinement of my own proposal that incorporates some of his insights
Abstract: I reply to the main criticisms and suggestions for further clarification made by the contributors to this symposium on my book, Self-Expression . These replies are organized into the following sections: (1) What's in the name?, (2) Showing, expressing and indicating, (3) Expressing and signaling, (4) Perceiving emotions, (5) Voluntary/involuntary, (6) Expression and handicaps, (7) Expression and aesthetics, and (8) Looking ahead
Abstract: Constitutivists about one's cognitive access to one's mental states often hold that for any rational subject S and mental state M falling into some specified range of types, necessarily, if S believes that she has M , then S has M . Some argue that such a principle applies to beliefs about all types of mental state. Others are more cautious, but offer no criterion by which the principle's range could be determined. In this paper I begin to develop such a criterion, arguing that although the principle applies when M is a belief, it does not apply when M is an emotion. I account for this asymmetry by focusing on differences in the commitments that belief and emotion conceptually involve, and briefly sketch out a psychological explanation of those differences. I conclude that one can reasonably split one's epistemological loyalties between constitutivism regarding meta-beliefs and non-constitutivism regarding beliefs about one's emotions
Abstract: The very idea of unconscious emotion has been thought puzzling. But in recent debate about emotions, comparatively little attention has been given explicitly to the question. I survey a number of recent attempts by philosophers to resolve the puzzle and provide some preliminary remarks about their viability. I identify and discuss three families of responses: unconscious emotions involve conscious feelings, unconscious emotions involve no feelings at all, and unconscious emotions involve unconscious feelings. The discussion is exploratory rather than decisive for three reasons. First, the aim is to provide a framework for the debate, and identify a number of key issues for further research. Second, a number of the positions depend for their plausibility upon theoretical commitments that can be made clear, but cannot be evaluated in detail, in a survey article. Third, I believe no fully satisfactory, comprehensive solution has yet been developed
Abstract: Empathy is a developmental process whereby individuals come to understand the emotional states of others. While the exact nature of this process remains unknown, PAM's utility is that it establishes empathy along a continuum of behavior ranging from emotional contagion to cognitive forms, a very useful distinction for understanding the phylogeny and ontogeny of this important process. The model will undoubtedly fuel future research, especially from comparative domains where data are most problematic
Abstract: This paper proposes that self-deception results from the emotional coherence of beliefs with subjective goals. We apply the HOTCO computational model of emotional coherence to simulate a rich case of self-deception from Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter.We argue that this model is more psychologically realistic than other available accounts of self-deception, and discuss related issues such as wishful thinking, intention, and the division of the self