Roseman’s Cognitive Structural Theory
- There are 14 emotions and 5 ways of appraising events
1. Situational state: are events encountered in a particular situation consistent or
inconsistent with one‟s motives?
a. Consistency leads to positive emotions
b. Inconsistency leads to negative emotions
c. I feel good when situation is beneficial but it depends on my needs
2. Probability: how certain are you about a certain outcome occurring?
a. Certainty -> joy, sadness or disgust
b. Uncertainty -> fear or hope
3. Agency: who is responsible for events in a situation?
a. Self caused -> guilt
b. Other caused -> anger
c. Circumstances beyond one’s control -> sadness
4. Motivational state: do events one encounter involve obtaining a reward or avoiding
punishment? (Appetitive vs. Aversive motivation)
a. Obtain reward -> joy
b. Avoid punishment -> relief
c. Neurological model of extrovert and introvert: introvert reaction and inhibition
builds up slowly and goes down fast. Extrovert reaction and inhibition builds up
fast and goes down slow
d. Behavioural: extrovert respond do reward, introvert respond to fear of
5. Power: perceive oneself as weak or strong in situation?
a. Weak -> fear
b. Strong -> frustration/anger
The Social Constructionist Perspective – Jim Averill
- Emotions are “products” of cultures. The ways that emotions are embodied in a culture‟s
social practices, including its language, participates in and partially constitutes the moral
order of the culture and serves to maintain it.
- Averill sees emotions as a special kind of “social role”.
- Emotions are a “socially constructed syndrome” that includes an individual‟s appraisal of
the situation which is interpreted as a passion rather than as an action.
o We should think of emotions as actions because we perform them. In other words, we
play a role in emotional episodes. E.g. there can be a performance aspect (aside from
spontaneous aspect) of emotion like when a kid throws a temper tantrum when parents
do not buy candy for them.
- Emotions are seen as good or evil in the world in the beginning; then in 1500s, personal
- Then came the social construction – I construct my world and I make choices in my world.
- Certain cultures will overemphasize emotions, others will underemphasize emotions
- Different cultures can have diff emotional understandings of the world
- Communities “control” us by determining what the norm is. When you do things differently,
you might feel guilt. These “guilt seeds” maintain our unity - Society needs to maintain social order thru language and certain values. When we
internalize these values, emotions are sort of connected to these values as well. E.g. when
you deviate from the norm, you feel guilt
- Averill says that emotion is experienced as an action because we play an active role in
creating situations that are then experienced emotionally.
- He also says that emotion is experienced as a passion because when we experience
emotions we often ignore our active role in having created them and feel overwhelmed and
taken over by them. We feel like we have lost control.
- Syndrome: set of events that occur together in systematic fashion
- Components that tend to occur together to create emotional experience:
o A. Subjective experiences: particular feeling qualities associated with emotion
o B. Expressive reactions: facial expressions and bodily postures that accompany an
o C. Patterns of physiological response: autonomic nervous system and other changes
o D. Coping reactions: behaviour we engage in while we are emotional
o The more you show it in your face, the less you‟ll burn inside
1. Not every emotion is associated with all components
a. E.g. Fear = yes, Hope = no (fear has bodily and cognitive component, hope
only has cognitive)
2. Not every instance of a particular emotion need include all components
a. E.g. anger with or without facial expression like a scowl
b. There‟s no single response or subset of responses which is essential to an
c. Emotional syndromes are “polythetic” or not definable in terms of limited # of
- Emotions are “transitory social roles”
o A role is a socially prescribed set of responses to be followed by a person in a given
o Emotions as social roles: temp. enactment of prescribed set or responses in which a
person may be seen as following a set of rules that tell him or her the “proper” way to
appraise a situation, how to behave in response to the appraisal, how to interpret his or
her bodily reactions to the appraisal and so on.
- The rules of emotions are learned
o We learn from our society the sets of rules that implicitly govern our emotional
o This approach emerges from the social constructionist perspective of the 1970s which
focused more on the social self than the personal self.
o Emotions are associated with attitudes, beliefs, judgments, and desires reflecting the
cultural values of particular communities.
o So appraisals are not seen as innate responses to evolutionarily significant events.
o Emotions reflect moral judgments about events in the world
- Emotions used to be referred to as “passions”, word that implies experience of passivity as
if emotions were alien forces which overcome and possess and individual. E.g. “gripped”
by fear, “seized” by anger
- According to Frijda, the experience of passivity is part of what it means to be emotional in
- But Averill‟s approach to emotion is primarily metaphorical. He sees emotions as
ACTIONS rather than passions. - Emotional behaviour is engaged in to realize particular social and individual goals.
- Emotions don‟t just happen to us but they are things we do willfully and take responsibility
- The experience of emotions as passive passions is an interpretation or attribution we make
about our own behaviour. We thereby disclaim responsibility for what we do when we are
- Social functions of emotions:
o Fear can be seen as one of the means by which social norms are maintained in the
regulation of social behaviour.
o We can compare the emotional lexicons of different cultures to get a sense for which
emotions are important in that culture. (e.g., absence of fear in a warrior culture)
o The acquisition of a culturally appropriate lexicon by children is central to the
socialization of emotion and is a major determinant of changes in children‟s
experiences of emotion
Reaction model of emotion
- Cannon assumed that the cerebral cortex constantly inhibits emotional expressions that are
integrated in the thalamus. Perception of an emotion evoking situation produces cortical
disinhibition and frees the thalamic centres from their normal restraint.
- When disinhibition occurs, the emotional expression automatically appears. Incoming
sensory impulses from the viscera and skeletal muscles arrive at the thalamus and are
relayed to the c