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Chapter 10

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University of Toronto Scarborough
G Cupchik

Emotion Chapter 10 Emotions and Cognition Without a functioning orbitofrontal cortex and the information than an array of social emotions provide people lack judgment We might say they become no longer rational They do not appreciate or abide by morals norms and conventions To be functioning members of society our emotions need to be in working order in relation to each other so that they may guide our reasoning and action wisely One of the most striking qualities of emotions is how they influence our reasoning o Jean Paul Sartre referred to this as magical transformation by the emotions of how we see the worldHistorical perspectives on the interplay between passion and reasonEpicureans and Stoics to lead to a good life emotions should be extirpated altogether David Hume Reason is and ought to be the slave of passion What do we mean when we ask whether emotions can be rational o A first meaning has to do with whether the emotions are based on substantive beliefs That is do the beliefs and appraisals supporting our emotions correspond to actual events in the world The literature on emotionrelated appraisal suggests that emotions are often the product of rather complex beliefs about real events in the worldo A second meaning of rationality concerns whether emotions help individuals function effectively in the social world We think of human beings as those who navigate their environment effectively Ex Delusional beliefs of persecution are irrational They make it hard for the individual to be effective functioning members of society A central assumption of this book is that emotions in many contexts are rational in that they help individuals respond adaptively to the environmentnot true all the timeo A third meaning is particularly relevant to this chapter Do emotions guide cognitive processes in principled organized and constructive ways Or do they interfere and disrupt cognitive processes Certainly extreme levels of emotion can get the better of our rational thought 25 yrs of research has suggested that emotions have principled systematic effects upon cognitive processes and that emotions lead to reasonable judgments of the world Emotions structure perception direct attention give preferential access to certain memories and bias judgment in ways that help the individual respond to the environment in ways that we recognize as valuable aspects of our humanityEmotions as prioritizers of thoughts goals and actions The notions that emotions guide cognitive processes in rational adaptive fashion emerged within a movement known as cognitive science which matured in the 1960s and included among its methods the construction of mindlike processes in computersSimon 1967 argued that emotions would be necessary in any intelligent being a human a Martian orif we ever able to create itan intelligent computer o Emotions are a solution to a general problem they set priorities among the many different goals that impinge upon individuals at any moment in time In very simple animals behavior is controlled by reflexeso Ex Female ticks When smell butyric acid lets go of branch bc tiny quantities of butyric acid are released into the air by mammals letting go the branch in response to this stimulus gives a fair probability of falling on to the back of a passing mammal If the tick lands on a mammals back another stimulus comes to control behavior warm temperature causes the tick to climb through the fur toward the warmth When reaches skin another stimulus triggers burrowing into it to such the blood which will be needed for laying her eggs In the ticks world there is no hint of emotionality Complex being o Ex God may be a perfect model of the universe and no limitations of resources Such a being could predict the results of its every action even in a complex universe Again there is no place for emotions Everything would be known everything anticipated We humans and other mammals are somewhere in between ticks and gods
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