CHAP 10: emotions and cognition
-Without a functioning orbitofrontal cortex and the information that an array of social
emotions provide, people lack judgement. No longer rational. They do not abide by
morals, norms, and conventions.
Historical perspectives on the interplay between passion and reason
-In the western philosophical tradition there has tended to be a suspicion of emotions and
ethical philosophers- stoics, epicureans, was that to lead a good life, emotions should be
-Can emotion be rational? A first meaning has to do with whether the emotions are based
on substantive beliefs. A second meaning of rationality concerns whether emotions help
individuals function effectively in the social world. A third meaning – do emotion guide
cognitive processes like perception, attention, memory, and judgement in principled,
organised, constructive ways?
Emotions as prioritizers of thoughts, goals, and actions
-In very simple animals behaviour is controlled by reflexes. Humans and animals are in a
complex world, they act with purpose.
-The notion that emotions signal conflict, and redirect the individuals action was a focus of
classical Greek dramas, of some of Aristotle’s work, and much of Freud’s.
-Oatley and Johnson have proposed that emotions involve 2 different kinds of signalling in
the nervous system. One kind of signal that occurs automatically and derives from
primary appraisal. We can call it organizational (fight or flight) because it rather simply
sets the brain into a particular mode of organization, or readiness, along with an urge to
act in line with this readiness, specific to the particular basic emotion (happiness,
sadness, fear etc.)
-Such an emotion-related signal can have many sources both inside the body and outside in
the environment. It is quick, automatic.
-The second kind of signal derives from secondary appraisal. It is informational. The
information it carries enables us to make mental models of the events and their possible
causes and implications. On the basis of these 2 kinds of signal we act in accordance both
with how we feel and with what we know.