Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Disputed term/author/ism Author
Emotions Psychological Theories Corr I 54
Emotions/personality psychology/psychological theories/Reisenzein/Weber: there is widespread agreement among emotion researchers that the objects of their inquiry are, centrally, the transitory states of persons denoted by ordinary language words
Corr I 55
such as ‘happiness’, ‘sadness’, ‘fear’, ‘anger’, ‘pity’, ‘pride’, ‘guilt’, and so forth. >Lexical hypothesis, >Lexical studies, >Personality traits, >Personality, >States of mind.
There is also agreement that emotion episodes normally occur as reactions to the perception or imagination of ‘objects’ (typically events or states of affairs), and that they have both subjective and objective (intersubjectively observable) manifestations. Subjectively, emotions manifest themselves as pleasant or unpleasant feelings that seem to be directed at the eliciting, see Reisenzein 1994(1); Russell 2003(2)).
>Intersubjectivity, >Other minds.
Objectively, emotions manifest themselves, at least at times, in particular actions. Most classical and many contemporary emotion theorists, following common-sense psychology, identify emotions with the mentioned subjective experiences. However, some theorists (e.g., Lazarus 1991(3); Scherer 1984(4)) define emotions more broadly as response syndromes that include not only mental but also bodily components, such as facial expressions and physiological arousal.
ReisenseinVsScherer/ReisenzeinVsLazarus: This definition of emotions is problematic, however, because the correlations between the mental and bodily components of emotion syndromes are typically low (Reisenzein 2007)(5).
Today, the dominant theory of emotion generation is the cognitive or appraisal theory of emotion (e.g., Lazarus 1991(3); Ortony, Clore and Collins 1988(6); Scherer 2001(7); see Scherer, Schorr and Johnstone 2001(8), for an overview). Appraisal theory assumes that emotions arise if an event is appraised in a motive-relevant manner, that is, as representing an actual or potential fulfilment or frustration of a motive (= desire, wish).
>Appraisal theory/psychological theories.
(…) apart from cognitions in the narrow sense (i.e., beliefs), emotions also presuppose motives (Lazarus 1991(3); Roseman 1979(9); see Reisenzein 2006(10), for further discussion).

1. Reisenzein, R. 1994. Pleasure-arousal theory and the intensity of emotions, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 67: 525–39
2. Russell, J. A. 2003. Core affect and the psychological construction of emotion, Psychological Review 110: 145–72
3. Lazarus, R. S. 1991. Emotion and adaptation. New York: Oxford University Press
4. Scherer, K. R. 1984. On the nature and function of emotion: a component process approach, in K. R. Scherer and P. Ekman (eds.), Approaches to emotion, pp. 293–317. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum
5. Reisenzein, R. 2007. What is a definition of emotion? And are emotions mental-behavioural processes?, Social Science Information 46: 424–8
6. Ortony, A., Clore, G. L. and Collins, A. 1988. The cognitive structure of emotions. New York: Cambridge University Press
7. Scherer, K. R. 2001. Appraisal considered as a process of multilevel sequential checking, in K. R. Scherer, A. Schorr and T. Johnstone (eds.), Appraisal processes in emotion: theory, methods, research, pp. 92–120. Oxford University Press
8. Scherer, K. R., Schorr, A. and Johnstone, T. 2001. Appraisal processes in emotion: theory, methods, research. Oxford University Press
9. Roseman, I. J. 1979. Cognitive aspects of emotions and emotional behaviour. Paper presented at the 87th Annual Convention of the APA, New York City, September 1979
10. Reisenzein, R. 2006. Arnold’s theory of emotion in historical perspective, Cognition and Emotion 20: 920–51

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.

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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