**Department of Psychology
Originally written in Hebrew by the author and assistance of associates
Copyright and responsibility - I. Shalif
Submitted by I. Shalif
file=diserta1.htm Abstract I Introduction 1 The theoretical background 5 What kinds of phenomena are included in the emotional domain ? 7 What is the subjective feeling of emotion 7 The discrimination among the emotional phenomena 8 On the methodology of basic research the emotional domain 9 The theory 12 The hypothesis 24 The mapping sentence 24 File = diserta2.htm The method 25 The subjects 25 The materials 25 The procedure 26 Contacting the subjects 26 Data collecting procedure 26 The computation of subjects' dimensional scores 29 Results 32 The subjects 32 The items' scores 32 Validity and reliability of items and their scores 33 The direction of the basic emotions in their multidimensional scaling space 45 File = diserta3.htm The subjects dimensional scores for the ten dimensional analysis 48 The corr. between the dimensions and the items of basic emotions 49 The correlations between the 10 dimensions and the 148 words 50 The correlations between the dimensions and the 9 subgroups of basic emotions 51 The direction of the emotions in the space of the S.S.S.A-I 54 The content of the ten dimensions of the 48 unmanipulated emotional mixtures 61 The dimensions of discrimination among the 96 words of emotion 67 On the relations between the dimensions of the words and faces 75 File = diserta4.htm Discussion 78 Appendices 90 References 94
The major divergence between the two approaches concerns the substance of the main primary emotional variables which combine in various forms to produce subjective experience and the broad spectrum of emotional phenomena.
Those theories who can be related to the genetic approach usually proceed from a common evolutionary point of departure which is the `serviceable associated habits' principle of the theory of Darwin (1872) on human and animal emotions. The primary emotional variables, according to this approach, are basic emotions - each of them having a concrete content and a unique facial expression.
Many of the proponents of those theories claim that every one of these variables is involved in each emotional phenomenon. In their view, this also holds even in circumstances where the relative weight of some of these variables is small or almost negligible.
According to Ekman et al. (1982), previous research results indicate that there are at least 7 such variables, namely: happiness, interest, surprise, fear, anger, sorrow, disgust.
The theorists of the second approach cannot be characterized by a common point of departure. In general, they do not put forward a specific theory for the field of emotion. What is common to these theorists is the attempt to deduce from various superior thought processes, dimensions for distinction which will enable us to achieve a better conceptualization for the emotional system.
In this paper, a theory is presented dealing with basic emotional variables having a concrete content and with emotional variables having an abstract content. The theory is intended to reconcile the contradictions and unify the findings with regard to the two types of variables into a single theoretic framework.
In a study carried out at the end-of-academic-year examinations period (1986-7), 202 subjects (101 male and 101 female resident students) participated. The subjects were asked to judge/ assess/ evaluate to what extent their emotional state of the time of the testing matched/ fitted/ suited the emotions expressed in 105 photographed facial expressions and 148 words.
The photographs included 48 facial expressions of mixed emotions in daily life (without intentional external manipulation), 33 artificial expressions of basic emotions (2-4 items for each of 9 emotions) and 24 artificial expressions of combinations of basic emotions.
The words consisted of a wide variety of 96 words of emotion and 52 words for control of response sets and a few other processes encountered in previous studies.
The procedure of judging the facial expressions was carried out twice: Once by means of structured scaling - each expression separately - on a fixed scale of 6 grades.
The first hypothesis was that in the task of judging the facial expressions of mixed emotions from daily life, there would be a convergence between the content of the main dimensions of discrimination and the content of the seven concrete emotional variables from Ekman et al.'s list.
The second hypothesis was that in the task of judgment of the emotional words, the content of the main dimensions of discrimination would correlate/converge with the content of the 3 emotional variables/ dimensions of abstract content which were found/ encountered in previous studies.
The first hypothesis was supported in the main: it was found that there was congruence/good fit between the first five dimensions (out of an analysis of 10 dimensions) and five of the seven basic emotions. But, the content of one of the seven - disgust - correlated only with the content of the tenth dimension of the analysis. Furthermore, the direction of the emotion happiness was found to be directly opposite to the direction of the emotion sorrow and not independent (as was expected). It was also found that the direction of the emotion interest was relatively ambiguous because of the insufficient content validity of its items
. The second hypothesis was clearly invalidated: in the analysis of two and three dimensions it was found that the dimensions had a concrete emotional content:
The first dimension was found to have the content of the contradiction between depression & distress, and serenity & content. Therefore it matches the bi-polar activity of the emotional structure "separation distress". The content of the second dimension was found to match the contradiction between alertness & boldness, and indifference & complacency. Thus it matches the activity of the emotional structure "interest/ wariness/ vigilance".
The content of the third dimension matches the contradiction between haughtiness & pride, and weariness & caution. Therefore it matches the content of the bi-polar emotional structure of shame versus pride. In the analysis of the 10 dimensions the seven remaining dimensions also have a concrete emotional content.
The support given to the first hypothesis and the invalidation of the second - refute our theoretical effort to settle the controversy between the two main approaches to emotion. This result is a significant contribution and an important support to the modern genetic theories of emotion. It refute in addition, the claim of the parsimonious-cognitive ones that their dimensions are also dimensions of subjective experience of emotion.
The main implications of this study:
a) An explanation - based on the methodological domain - of the contradictions between the genetics and the parsimonious-cognitivists becomes available. This explanation is more economical than the solution presented in the theory on which this study is based.
b) Sharpening the differences between the cognitive distinctions and evaluations, and the emotional ones.
c) A modern research paradigm for the multidimensional approach was adapted successfully to the emotional phenomena.
d) The reservations about using verbal communication in emotional research were to a great extent eliminated.
e) This study can be a kind of a model or a guide to the building of a multidimensional tool for measuring daily life emotional feelings and moods.
Results also revealed the bipolarity nature of the basic emotions and their subjective experience which is more in accord with Darwin's second principal than with the "fight or flight" bipolarity of basic emotions.
The aim of the theory was to reconcile the controversy between the two main approaches to emotion research - the evolutionary approach and the parsimonious-cognitive one. The major divergence between the two approaches lies in the substance of the main primary emotional variables which combine in various forms to produce the broad spectrum of emotional phenomena.
Those theories which can be associated with the evolutionary approach usually proceed from a common evolutionary point of departure namely, the theory and research of Darwin (1872) on human and animal emotions. According to the theorists of this approach, the subsystem of emotion is of great value to the survival of the human species.
They claim that this system consists mainly of a small number of primary emotions. Those emotions are inborn structures. Each of them has four main functions components: a) an expressive-communicative component which is based mostly on a unique facial expression; b) an organismic activation (or deactivation) pattern; c) an inborn perceptual component for perceiving the patterns of stimuli that are relevant for that emotion; d) a subjective experience.
The activities of these inborn structures, according to this approach, can be
found and identified in research as a group of variables which are commonly
called basic emotions which have a concrete content. Many of the proponents of
those theories claim that every one of these variables is involved in each
emotional phenomenon. In their view, this also holds good even under
circumstances where the relative weight of some of these variables is small or
almost negligible. According to Ekman et. al. (1982), results of previous
research indicate that there are at least 7 such variables, namely: happiness,
interest, surprise, fear, anger, disgust, sorrow.
Usually, they offer two or three-dimensional models consisting of more or less the same abstract content. The bi-dimensional models offer the dimensions: 1) "evaluation/ enjoyment" and 2) "Dynamism". The three dimensional models, frequently, split the "Dynamism" into 2) "potency" and 3) "activity".
Few of the publications of the second group deal with the gap between the small number of dimensions and the vast number of specific emotions encountered in daily life. Usually, they trace the source of the need-for-added-information, to the domain of cognitive processes.
There is a small minority among the theorists of the field of emotion who,
like Leventhal (1979), put forward a theory which contains the two kinds of
variables - the basic- inborn ones and the abstract-cognitive ones. But, no
publication is at present available which clarifies this point of view or
confirms these synthetic theories.
Three main groups of studies can be found in the publications of the second approach: the most prominent one is the huge group of studies on the semantic differential of Osgood (1952). Another nearly homogeneous group is that of the "Circumplex" approach which strives to build bi-dimensional models for various aspects of human life (see Wiggins, 1982). The third group is not really a group with a common denominator but the result of the common use of factor analysis in any research (including the emotional domain) where the effect of simultaneous activity of various variables are suspected.
In most cases, as appropriate to the second approach, the papers which relate to dimensions of distinction between emotions indicate the existence of 2 or 3 variables (such as Russell, 1980; and Osgood, 1952) with the same abstract content, which appear repeatedly in many studies. sometimes there appear 1) "evaluation/ enjoyment" and 2) "Dynamism". Even more frequently, the "Dynamism" splits into 2) "potency" and 3) "activity". (Seldom, as in Schachter, 1964, only one dimension of emotion is found.)
Other variables with an abstract and a concrete content were to be found only in some of the studies and in these cases, it is not clear whether the same variables are referred to in all the studies.
The findings which are the base for the two or three-dimensional models are actually in contradiction to all the evolutionary theories of emotion. It is so because, if the basic emotions are what they are supposed to be - relatively independent of each other - then the dimensions of discrimination among emotion must approximate those basic emotions.
Though Ekman, et al. (1982) suggest that there is enough empirical evidence of emotional domain/space having more than three dimensions, a theory that can reconcile the contradiction between the two main contending approaches to emotion has not yet been presented.
In this paper, a theory is presented dealing with basic emotional variables having a concrete content and with emotional variables having an abstract content. The theory is intended to reconcile the contradictions and unify the findings with regard to the above two types of variables and processes into a single theoretical framework.
The main material used for this unification is the observation that the two kinds of variables are usually identified in two different kinds of research. The concrete variables are mainly encountered in research involving facial expression of emotions. The few abstract variables are mainly encountered in research involving verbal items of emotion.
The core of the theoretical solution is that different kinds of input activate different kind of structures i.e. the facial expressions activate the inborn structures of the concrete basic-emotions and the verbal communication of emotion activates the structures with the abstract content.
Descartes (1649) defined emotions as the passions of the soul. He claimed that there are six such simple ones namely: wonder, love, hatred, desire, joy, and sadness. In his view, other emotions are composed of combinations of some of these six. He might be regarded as one of the first modern proponents of the basic-emotion-approach of the evolutionary theories.
Spinoza (1677) presented a more economical theory with only three variables namely: desire, joy and sadness. He may be regarded as one of the first of the modern proponents of abstract-three-dimensional approaches.
Darwin (1872), who is the founder of the evolutionary approach to emotion, pointed to the importance of the emotional system for the survival of the human species. He treated emotions as mainly communications or means for that purpose.
Osgood (1952), who is the founder of the "Semantic Differential" technique, led the research of the three abstract dimensions of emotion which he preferred to call "Connotative Meaning". He was aware (Osgood, 1959b) that there are more than three such variables and warned (Osgood, 1969) blind followers from depending too much on the trinity of evaluation, activity and potency.
Tomkins (1962/3, 1982), Plutchik (1962, 1980, 1982) and Izard (1971, 1977, 1984), developed similar versions of evolutionary theories of emotions. They claimed that emotions are a group of similar processes of certain brain structures and that each of these has a unique concrete emotional content.
It is hard to find in the writings of the evolutionists any detailed explanation for the specific mechanisms - physiological or of information processing - of the emotional system. It is also hard to find in them a detailed explanation on the development of the emotional system during the various stages of life. The version of the evolutionary theory that is presented in the following chapter uses Bowlby (1969-81) - somewhat more detailed explanations on this matter.
The cognitivists too refrain from detailed specifications of the work of the cognitive (abstract emotional) variables. Osgood (1952, 1964, 1969) suggested that the connotative meaning is crystallized (each time and in each specific case) as a point on each of the bipolar experiential continua i.e. on the evaluation, potency and activity continua.
The small integrative trend which is represented here by Leventhal (1979, 1982) usually treats the emotional system as a subsystem of the cognitive (information procession) functions of the brain. Various publications with this approach give detailed explanation only to scattered parts of this subsystem.
Leventhal (1979), uses cognitive concepts like schemata (without detailed explanations of their structure and function), and discriminates between three kinds namely:
a) primary structures - which are inborn and are parallel to the basic emotions of the evolutionists);
b) concrete structures - which are unique to this approach and are similar, in a way, to Bowlby's supra-emotional-plan, each of those, being a schema for the automated reconstruction of specific mixtures of primary emotions;
c) schemata of a
higher order - which are parallel to Osgood's (1964) bi-polar abstract
continua of emotional-connotative meaning.
Usually, authors define the emotional domain according to their theories - implicit or explicit. Many of these definitions exclude important parts of the emotional domain. Woodworth (1938) criticized those who excluded certain kinds of emotions having special names like moods and feelings etc. He argued that semantic reasons for the exclusion of phenomena from the emotional domain are not good enough . Weinrich (1980) argued, in the same widening trend, that even needs and drives are part of the emotional domain and are excluded due to linguistic curiosities.
According to the theory presented in this work, the definition of the emotional domain is based on the emotional processes themselves i.e. the emotional domain is supposed to include all the processes directly executed or activated by the various parts of the emotional subsystem (of the basic emotions).
Clore & Ortony (1984) claimed that the subjective experience follows emotional processes but is not part of them. Tomkins (1962/3) argued that the subjective feeling of emotion is the result of feedback from the facial muscles that are involved in the expression of emotion.
Izard (1984) claimed that the subjective quality of emotional experience is invariant throughout life.
The cognitivists usually refrain from involvement with concrete emotional phenomena. Those who do deal with this subject tend to regard the main processes that are related to the discrimination among those phenomena as those of labeling (like Schachter, 1964).
Our explanation for the subjective experience of emotion is part of the general presentation of the theory of emotion - internal signaling (or communication) system for the organization of life.
According to the evolutionary theories the problem has not yet been completely clarified. It is stated by some that each emotion includes a perceptual component, but it is not stated which emotional occurrences are fit to be discerned by those components. It was even said by Izard (1971) that multidimensional methodology is not appropriate for the research of this problem.
Many studies of the past revealed that subjects can discriminate among emotional items (mostly verbal ones) along the abstract emotional continua. Other studies revealed that subjects can discriminate between intense basic (concrete) emotions, with relative ease, when items are facial expressions of emotion. However, sometimes the discrimination among verbal items revealed (as in Osgood et. al., 1957) dimensions of discrimination which had concrete content and sometimes the discrimination among facial expressions of emotion followed an abstract continua.
The theory that was tested by this study was supposed to advance a theoretical solution to this question.
Another common paradigm is the application of factor analysis to any collection of items. As data usually consists of unknown sampling coverage of the emotional domain it is never clear what is the relevance of the findings to the problem of extracting the entire collection of emotion basic variables. An old methodology of direct scaling of items is still in use (as in Russell, 1980). This methodology is very cumbersome where the number of items is big and as Hirschberg (1980) demonstrated subjects can discriminate between items along dimensions that are irrelevant to emotion.
Criticism of all previous research on the structure of the emotional domain can be found in Ekman, et al. (1982).
It is nearly impossible to include all the relevant dimensions of discrimination of the said domain in one research when one uses the usual methodologies. There are three main obstacles: a) the problem of the items; b) the problem of the scales; c) the problem of the research manipulation.
When, as in the emotional domain, the full collection of dimensions of discrimination is not yet known there is only one good solution: i.e. to include all of them - or to find another field for research. The problem of the rating scales is the most difficult to solve in the usual methodology.
A collection is always biased by the one who selects the items and their scales. Always unknown parts of the domain of research are lacking. The only verified solution to this problem is the "facet analysis" approach of Guttman (1968). This methodology can let the subjects use all the relevant dimensions of discrimination concerned. (A more didactic explanation for this methodology is adduced in the following chapters.)
Since the verbal communication channel in emotional research has been found wanting (see Plutchik, 1980), two parallel sets of items - verbal and non verbal i.e. facial expressions of emotions - should be included as a sound precaution.
The manipulation of emotion being found to be unreliable (Ekman et. al., 1982), the best way appears to be the building of a paradigm based on the natural occurrence of emotion in daily life.
These new computerized techniques enable the user to compute the subjects' dimensional scores (like subjects' factor scores), and then use these scores to find relations (via correlations, for instance) between these dimensions and other data of the study.
Since the building of artificial facial expressions of emotion is problematic - one can only rely on unmanipulated photographs of people with chronic facial expressions. (Tomkins, 1962/3, wrote about this phenomenon. He pointed out the facts and variables which are related to permanent or semipermanent expressions of emotion that can be found on certain peoples' faces.
In the next chapter we present the theory that was tested in this study and in the chapters on "methods" and "results", the new methodology of this study will be clarified.
The inborn structures whose function is regarded as emotion are a group of multi-nerve centers of this kind. Their integrations are for inputs from receptors of the same sense or modality that originate in different parts of the body, for inputs from different senses and modalities, and also for inputs from previous integrations (memories included) or inputs from non emotional centers of integration.
Many theoreticians (evolutionists) call a certain group of multi-nerve integrations (centers) "basic emotions" (analogous to the three basic colors - green, blue, yellow). This concept has several nearly synonymous versions and names used by various authors: i.e. "inborn emotional "structures", "emotional brain activation patterns", "inborn emotional schema" "primary activation plans of emotion", etc. All of them will be referred to as "basic emotions" in this paper.
According to most theorists who use these concepts, each of the basic emotions have five main components: a) a perceptual component; b) an intra organismic activation component, c) a behavioral component, d) a subjective experience component and e) an expressive component.
The wide spectrum of specific emotions (thousands according to Ekman, et al., 1982) is composed of different combinations of a small number of basic emotions. According to Tomkins, 1962/3, 1982; Izard, 1971, 1977, 1984; Plutchik (1962, 1980, 1982) the number of basic emotions is about eight to ten. According to Ekman et al. (1982), the review of 40 years research reveals seven basic emotions which have already been established. (Only one more then Descartes', 1649, six passions of the soul.) This list (of seven) has been adopted as the basic list for the empirical verification of this theory.
Those basic emotions are a kind of control-mechanisms that are on a higher level of evolutional-development then the I.R.M. (Inborn Releasing Mechanisms), though they act like the I.R.M. at the beginning of the life of the individual. The basic emotions are more adaptable and more flexible than the I.R.M. in the same ways (lines) that the I.R.M. are more adaptable and flexible than the inborn reflexes of the body.
Each of the basic emotions are, according to Leventhal (1982), both a control mechanism and a monitor for one of the main aspects of human life (such as security, belonging etc.). They act directly through the intra organismic, behavioral end expressive functions and indirectly by supplying input to other (none emotional) subsystems of the brain. For instance, "fear" monitors the state of the security or hazards to the existence, anger monitors the obstacles put out by others which hinder activities undertaken for the implementation of aims.
Usually it is hard to find a situation where the effect of one basic emotion is so dominant that the effect of the others is negligible. We can regard this kind of a rare situation as one of pure expression of a particular basic emotion.
Even in the first hours of life, one can see the difference between the patterns of stimuli which activate different basic emotions. For instance, sudden stimulations of high intensity (vision, sound, or touch) cause an increase in the activity of the basic emotion "fear"; while other patterns (restriction of movement, pricking of the skin, bad food) consistently cause the activation of other basic emotions.
At the beginning of life (and with the first appearance of each of the inborn emotions which need certain maturation in order to become effective), one can see the strong and direct connection between a small number of patterns of stimuli and the activity of each basic emotion. In this period, the "primary emotional plans" (in Bowlby, 1969-81, terminology) which control the multi-neuronal integrations, called here basic emotions, act constantly and almost the same as reflexes. Each basic emotion has its inborn primary plan.
When there is a relevant change in the perceptual processes of a basic emotion, the input supplied by it to the integration process of that basic emotion is changes as well. The integration process, which does not necessarily include cognitive appraisals (according to Panksep, 1986 p119) directly activates the intra-organismic, behavioral and expressive action of that basic emotion. All those processes feed input to the component of the subjective feelings of that basic emotion. (According to Fonberg, 1986, the brain-site in which reside these components of the basic emotions which convert the emotional processes to subjective experience is the Amigdala of the Limbic system.)
The subjective feeling component is in interactive relation with the equivalent components of the other basic emotions. But, as each of these components is relatively independent of the others, the specific subjective experience of an individual in a specific instant comprises the sum of the activities of the subjective-feeling-components of all the basic emotions. As the activity of each basic emotion is relatively independent, one can discern at any point on the continuum of time, the specific contribution of each basic emotion (according to Izard, 1971, 1977,1984).
The relative intensity of each basic emotion varies nearly incessantly and this is what creates the specific emotional quality of the moment. Sometimes the level of activity of one of the basic emotions becomes - for a short time - very intense. When this happens, it seems as if the individual experiences only one emotion. (According to Ekman, et al., 1982, it usually last no more then ten seconds. According to Scherer et al., 1986, it very seldom lasts more than an hour.)
Usually, the emotional excitements are milder and the activity of the three or four more active emotions can easily be discerned. However, the basic emotions are parts of the living organism, and each of them has a specific life area to monitor (and a specific brain structure - as pointed at by Fonberg, 1986, and Panksep, 1986). Therefore, they never cease their activation although, for various time spans, several of the basic emotions may act as a kind of background for others.
Throughout the years from birth onward, the central nervous system matures. Memories, experiences and knowledge are accumulated. Cognitive and emotional schemes (in the Piajetian meaning of this concept) are constructed and reconstructed. These schemes are of a wide spectrum and of various levels of abstraction. As a result of this development, the primary plans of the basic emotions become dominated by plans of a higher level.
These super-plans enable (or enforce), in certain situations, systematic deviations from the inborn patterns of the primary plans.
(According to Ekman & Friesen, 1975, the most prominent deviations are in the facial expressions of the expressive component of adults who are in specific social situations.)
Due to the activity of these super-plans (in Bowlby, 1969-81, terminology), the integrative processes can be fed and activated by perceptions, memories, and other cognitions which are very different from the original pattern of stimuli. Due to their activity, the ability of the original pattern of stimuli to activate the integrative processes of the basic emotions in a reflexive-like way diminish greatly. The connections between the integrative processes and the other three components (organismic activity, behavior, subjective experience) diminish to an even greater extent.
During his life, the individual acquires (learns) new components which integrate with the super-plans as additions, variations or substitutions for the original or other components of older versions. He acquires proficiency that enables him to activate the other three components of these plans - intentionally or unintentionally, with awareness or without it - in ways that are very different from those of the original patterns. Even without the aid of the integrative component.
However, these super-plans cannot abolish or suppress entirely the activity of the original primary plans even for very short durations of time. Ekman & Friesen (1975) point to the signs of the breakthrough of the results of the activity of those plans in spite of the masking of learned activation plans, for the artificial creation of facial expressions. Those leaks are important input (clues) for the perceptual activities of the abstract-verbal- sequential cognitive processes and to the intuitive-parallel-perceptual-processes of the basic emotions perceptual components.
During maturation of the individual, the automatic and reflex-like relations between the various parts of the emotional plans of the basic emotions, become weaker. In spite of the weakening which occurs in these strong relationships, there is still a strong tie between each of these components and the original pattern of the spontaneous facial expression of each basic emotion. The same holds true for the activity of the perceptual inborn component of each of the basic emotions. Izard (1984) argued that this is true even for the subjective feeling of each basic emotion.
Consequently, the adult retains those two functions very near to their original inborn state. As a result, facial expressions (of emotion) can act as a very rich inter-personal channel of communication. (The subjective experience of emotion acts like an intra-personal channel of communication.)
During maturation, the individual learns how to identify and consciously classify the main facial expressions of emotion and the verbal labels for part of these emotions. According to Izard (1971), most of the learning of the facial expressions occurs between the ages of 3 to 6 and that of the verbal labels between ages 7 to 11.
Many factors hinder the learning of verbal labels for emotions. The main ones are: a) The variety of observed emotions is bigger than the variety of words which can be used to label them. b) It is difficult for the observer to diagnose the subjective experience of emotion of another.
Therefore, it is difficult to receive help in learning the names of the various emotions. c) As learning the precise names for the various emotional states is not considered very important in modern life, little is done to improve the precision of labels used by people.
Consequently, learning brings bout a relatively weak tie between any specific mixture of the basic emotions (of daily life) and its verbal label. Even the learning of the names of the basic emotions themselves is not perfect and many use them incorrectly. Approximately 20% - according to Izard, 1971.
Because of these problems, the publications of previous research in the emotional field which used verbal labels of emotion are inconsistent and at times may contradict each other. For this reason, Plutchik (1980b) criticized so much the practice by scientists of relying on verbal communication alone in their research into the domain of emotions.
In most areas of human life, the system of verbal conceptualization becomes dominant. This system (the second signal system of Pavlov and the system of abstract cognitive scheme of Piajet, 1965) subjugates the cognitive system of the early years of life (the first signal system of Pavlov and the system of concrete cognitive scheme of Piajet).
a) The ties between a verbal label and the its specific emotion are not strong because of learning problems, as previously mentioned. Therefore, the interaction between the two systems is not intensive, so the abstract-cognitive-processes often fail, in attempting to dominate the emotional subsystem - even where there is a label available for the said emotion.
b) One of the results of the limited number of emotional labels (whilst there are hundreds of labels available for the naming of tens of thousand of emotional mixtures - according to Ekman, et al., 1982) is that many common concrete emotions (mixtures of basic emotions) have no verbal label. In those cases it is even harder to subjugate the emotional subsystem to the abstract cognitive subsystem.
c) Every culture has emotional areas or subjects that are not a legitimate topic for conversation. Therefore, the higher cognitive processes of individuals of a specific culture are especially handicapped in the implementation of controls on those emotions.
d) The parallel processing of all the components of the all the basic emotions (especially the perception and integration components) are usually at an advantage compared to the higher cognitive processes which are mainly sequential and need concentration and attention. This advantage is most prominent in the following situations:
1) During the intensive input of information conveyed by spontaneous facial expressions and voice intonations.
2) when one observes another and needs to rely on information that is near the threshold of perception.
3) When one needs to screen out the intentional and the non intentional distortions in the emotional communications of others.
e) The ability of the emotional subsystem to act in a reflexive-like mode in an emergency is vital to the survival of the human individual.
g) Fluent bi directional emotional communication is vital for the orderly continuity of satisfying interpersonal relations. This communication cannot rely solely on verbal communication of emotion as its tendency to occur in daily life is not frequent and, when it does occur, is generally very cumbersome.
For the above mentioned reasons (and others not mentioned here), in most waking hours, the basic emotions are the most dominant group of active emotional processes. They act simultaneously and concurrently to other ongoing cognitive processes in the moment to moment stream of an adult's life.
Parallel to the above subsystem, however, the abstract emotional processes subsystem is also active. In certain circumstances - to be detailed and explained later - these abstract variables are used as the main dimensions of discrimination among incoming input (information). Russell's(1980) findings about the bi-dimensional conceptualization of emotion is one of many examples to be found in the relevant publications.
In many hundreds of studies which are related to the emotional domain, the same two or three variables are encountered - the "abstract emotional dimensions". They were usually found when Osgood's semantic differential technique was implemented. Those studies were carried out in a variety of contexts and cultures (see Snider & Osgood, 1969). Thus, one can generalize from these to all mankind and to all emotional states.
These dimensions are the expressions of relative highly abstract integrations typical of the verbal domain. These dimensions are in congruence with Leventhal's (1979) abstract emotional supra-scheme and Osgood's (1964) bipolar experiential continuum along which the connotative (abstract emotional) meaning is crystallized.
Osgood (1959) scrutinized in detail the difference between the abstract dimensions of the connotative meaning and the concrete dimensions of the "denotative" meaning. According to him, only the use of the denotative dimensions enable one to discriminate between concrete contents. One of the main claims of this present theory is that the basic emotions identified so far are (in the terminology of Osgood) the main denotative dimensions of the emotional domain.
This statement is in accord with Leventhal's (1979) claim that the inborn emotional structures (which he called - primary schemes) are active in an adult's life. It also accord with all the evolutionary theories that claim that the basic emotions are inborn, that their main importance is their contribution to smoother intra-group relations and to interpersonal communication.
Those two functions can be performed by the basic emotions as each of these structures include within them components which function both as the creators of the communication and as the perceivers of this kind of communication. The most common and rich channel of this kind of communication is the wide spectrum of spontaneous facial expressions.
We claim that the perceptual processes (which build the internal representations - in the terminology of cognitive theories) are activated mainly by the appropriate perceptual components of the basic emotions, without needing the participation of the abstract emotional processes. These processes might act in parallel and with levels of intensity to suit the circumstances.
Decisions about the interpersonal distance are made according to the difference between the internal representation of the other and the internal representation of oneself at that moment. The assessment is done by parallel information processing procedures that are not based on verbal thought processes.
These perceptual processes can usually be very successful in the task of deciphering the true emotional state of the other from his facial expression.
Therefore, in daily life, when one is receiving non verbal communications of emotion from another the main dimension of discrimination among them correlates to the main basic emotions. This holds true - even though more difficult - when the other tries to conceal them by means of systematic distortions that stem from his culture and personality.
Hirschberg, (1980) demonstrated the flexibility of the subjects in the use of different sets of dimensions of discrimination among facial expressions. Each time their task changed they concentrated on different variables and disregarded the irrelevant ones.
When information about the other is less suitable for the above perceptual processes, one relies more on the abstract emotional scheme and consequently, the main dimensions of discrimination correlate to the three well known abstract dimensions of the connotative meaning.
The main difference is not between the verbal communications and processes of perception (on one side) and information processing and the non verbal ones (on the other).
The main difference is rather between information that fits or does not fit being analyzed by the perceptual components of the basic emotions.
The opposite can occur with non verbal communications of information if it is not relevant enough to the basic emotions. This can be so when facial expressions are too obvious in content or too blurred. In the first case the perceiver acts with strongly learned habits which are heavily influenced by consciousness, in the second case only very generalized assessment can be made and abstract processes are more suitable.
In daily life, the individual experiences a complex mixture of basic emotions. Usually, a certain mood continues for hours or even for longer periods with small variations. During the evolving hours, deviations of short duration occur many times. Those deviations can reach high intensities and are then called emotions. According to Ekman, et al. (1982) those emotions last up to ten seconds. Afterwards, the general mood of the time is regained.
It seems that the subjective experience of emotions is a summons for attention. The strong and short emotions are emergency calls for attention. The more enduring moods are like notices on a signboard and are about what is on the agenda or what is important for longer durations of time. As moods are the sum of the subjective-experience-components of the basic emotions, the dimensions of discrimination among these daily moods must correlate with the activities of the basic emotions.
In daily life, people usually assess the measure in which the emotions and moods of the others differ from theirs, according to non verbal communications, mainly facial expressions. Therefore, the main dimensions of discrimination among the emotions and the moods of the others correlate with the content of the main basic emotions and especially so when the discrimination is based solely on facial expressions.
Subject N assesses the measure in which item I which is a facial expression of the basic emotion: happiness and surprise and |highly so | |highly.| | down | | down | | to | | to | |negligible| |neglig.| interest and fear and anger and sadness and disgust; |highly.| |highly.| |highly.| |highly.| |highly.| | down | | down | | down | | down | | down | | to | | to | | to | | to | | to | |neglig.| |neglig.| |neglig.| |neglig.| |neglig.| and item W which is a word of emotion with the content of The range evaluation and activity and potency as being of |very high| |positive| |activity | |strength| | down | | to | | to | | to | | to | |negative| |passivity| |weakness| |very low | similarity to his own present feelings or mood.
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