Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 56
Emotion System/psychological theories/Reisenzein/Weber: the emotion system seems to consist at its core of a mechanism that
(1) monitors the relevance of cognized events for the person’s desires or motives, and
(2) communicates detected motive-relevant changes to other personality sub-systems and simultaneously proposes particular action goals (Frijda 1994(1); Reisenzein 2009(2)). A person can to a considerable degree decide to heed versus ignore the ‘suggestions’ made by her emotions, as well as control or regulate the emotions themselves. As Frijda (1986(3) put it, ‘people not only have emotions, they also handle them’.
Corr I 60/61
it is widely accepted today that emotions have adaptive effects, which were the reason why the emotion system (at least its core) emerged in evolution. This raises the question of whether individual differences in emotionality (e.g., fearfulness or irascibility) are likewise, at least in part, the product of natural selection. Although there is now strong evidence for the partial heritability of the Big Five (e.g., Bouchard (2004)(4) and hence for the heritability of basic inter-individual differences in emotionality, this does not imply that these heritable inter-individual differences are adaptive. adaptive. On the contrary, it has been argued that the very existence of heritable variation in a trait signals a lack of adaptive significance (Tooby and Cosmides 1990)(5). See >emotion system/Tooby, >emotion system/Cosmides.


1. Frijda, N. H. 1994. Emotions are functional, most of the time, in P. Ekman and R. J. Davidson (eds.), The nature of emotion, pp. 112–36. Oxford University Press
2. Reisenzein, R. 2009. Emotions as metarepresentational states of mind: naturalizing the belief-desire theory of emotion, Cognitive Systems Research 10: 6–20
3. Frijda, N. H. 1986. The emotions. Cambridge University Press, p. 401
4. Bouchard, T. J. Jr. 2004. Genetic influence on human psychological traits, Current Directions in Psychological Science 13: 148–51
5. Tooby, J. and Cosmides, L. 1990. On the universality of human nature and the uniqueness of the individual: the role of genetics and adaptation, Journal of Personality 58: 17–67


Rainer Reisenzein & Hannelore Weber, “Personality and emotion”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Psychological Theories
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2020-08-11
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