Vol.29 No 4. Autumn 2008

 

The Two-Stage Model of Emotion and the Interpretive Structure of the Mind



Empirical evidence shows that non-conscious appraisal processes generate bodily responses to the environment. This finding is consistent with William James’s account of emotion, and it suggests that a general theory of emotion should follow James: a general theory should begin with the observation that physiological and behavioral responses precede our emotional experience. But I advance three arguments (empirical and conceptual arguments) showing that James’s further account of emotion as the experience of bodily responses is inadequate. I offer an alternative model, according to which responses (physical states) are perceived and interpreted by a separate cognitive process, one that assigns meaning to those responses. The non-conscious appraisal process and the interpretive process are distinct, hence a two-stage model of emotion. This model is related to Schachter and Singer’s two-factor theory. Their often-discussed experiment showed that interpretation can play a role in producing emotions. But they do not show that interpretation is necessary for producing emotions in general, outside of the experimental conditions that generated unexplained arousal in subjects. My two-stage model supports this stronger claim by situating the interpretive process in a comprehensive model of emotion.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Prof. Marc A. Cohen, Department of Management, Seattle University, 901 12th Avenue, Seattle, Washington 98122–1090. Email: cohenm@seattleu.edu

 

Notes on the Unconscious



An unconscious mental state, according to Searle, is a physical (brain) state that has the power to cause a state that is intrinsically intentional and aspectual — a power whose realization is more or less permanently blocked. Language, in Searle’s view, is not intrinsically intentional. I argue that language is an authentic way of representing reality under some aspect, and should, therefore, be regarded as a genuine mental phenomenon. An unconscious mental phenomenon should be defined as a physical state that can cause conscious experiences and speech acts, but is not doing so at present. While Freud believed that unconscious mental events were just like conscious ones (minus being conscious), he was also aware of the type of theory advocated by Searle. This theory, Freud thought, had problems with explaining gaps in mental life. But filling in gaps in sequences of conscious mental events with unconscious mental happenings of the same type, is unrealistic.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Fred Vollmer, Dr. philos, Institutt for samfunnspsykologi, Christies gate 12, 5015 Bergen, Norway.
Email: Fred.Vollmer@psyk.uib.no

 

A Reanalysis of Relational Disorders Using Wakefield’s Theory of Harmful Dysfunction



The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines disorders as occurring within an individual, but there is an effort to have relational disorders included in the manual. Wakefield (2006) supported this position by arguing that relational disorders are consistent with harmful dysfunction, which states that mental disorders exist when the failure of an evolved mental mechanism is judged to be harmful by a culture. However, an alternative assessment of relational disorders using harmful dysfunction is possible. Considering relational disorders to be harmful dysfunctions leads to the abandonment of mental mechanisms, contradicts the natural selection of functions, and allows conflict with society to be a mental disorder. Ultimately, the harmful dysfunction definition of mental disorder does not operate similarly for individual and relational disorders.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Guy A. Boysen, Ph.D., Psychology Department, W357 Thompson Hall, SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia, New York 14063.
Email: guy.boysen@fredonia.edu

 

Critical Notice

The Bounds of Cognition. Frederick Adams and Kenneth Aizawa. Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley–Blackwell, 2008, 216 pages, $74.95 hardcover. Reviewed by Justin C. Fisher, Southern Methodist University


Fred Adams and Kenneth Aizawa have long been the loyal opposition in the debate about extended cognition. Contemporary humans regularly use external devices to process information. Many of us store telephone numbers in our cell phones rather than our brains. Alzheimer’s patients use trusted notebooks to store all kinds of information (Clark and Chalmers, 1998). Expert Scrabble players continually reorganize their letters to more quickly see possible words they might play (Kirsh, 1995). Fans of extended cognition have held that the information processing performed partly within such external devices is enough like traditional cases of cognitive processing that it also deserves to be called “cognitive processing.”1 Adams and Aizawa have been two key figures to stand against this tide, arguing that we should instead view these as mere cases of external tool use, and that, at least for the time being, we should reserve the term “cognitive processing” for processes that occur inside creatures’ heads.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Professor Justin C. Fisher, Department of Philosophy, Hyer Hall 207, Southern Methodist University, P.O. Box 750142, Dallas, Texas 75275. Email: fisher@smu.edu

Book Reviews

Irreducible Mind: Toward a Psychology for the 21st Century. [With compact disk containing F.W.H. Myers’s classic two-volume Human Personality (1903) and selected contemporary reviews of Human Personality.] Edward F. Kelly, Emily Williams Kelly, Adam Crabtree, Alan Gauld, Michael Grosso, and Bruce Greyson. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007, 800 pages, $79.95 hardcover. Reviewed by Andreas Sommer, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London

 

Since the publication of Henri Ellenberger’s monumental The Discovery of the Unconscious (Ellenberger, 1970), academic interest in the work of the British Society for Psychical Research (SPR), the first scientific body to systematically investigate reported psychic (or “psi”) phenomena and altered states of consciousness, has grown slowly but steadily. Historians of science have recognized the importance of the Society’s early work, particularly that of Frederic Myers (1843–1901) and Edmund Gurney (1847–1888), on hypnosis, dissociative identity disorder and other psychological phenomena (Alvarado, 2002; Gauld, 1992; Koutstaal, 1992). Frederic Myers is to be regarded as an important early depth psychologist, and his influence on colleagues like William James, Pierre Janet, and Théodore Flournoy (Crabtree, 1993; Shamdasani, 1994; Taylor, 1983, 1996), and also Carl G. Jung (Shamdasani, 2003), has been documented as significant.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Andreas Sommer, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE, United Kingdom. Email: a.sommer@ucl.ac.uk

The Self-Evolving Cosmos: A Phenomenological Approach to Nature’s Unity-in- Diversity. Steven M. Rosen. Hackensack, New Jersey: World Scientific Publishing, 2008, 272 pages, $88.00 hardcover, $48.00 paperback. Reviewed by Walter Glickman, Long Island University

When the new Hadron Collider fires protons at each other at near light speeds, the collisions are expected to approach conditions that existed soon after the Big Bang and to give rise to particles never before “observed.” Physicists hope to “see” what some assume to be the basis of dark matter, cutely named sparticles — selectrons, squarks, and so forth. By “finding” still more exotic specks of matter, aptly named “particle physicists” anticipate great breakthroughs in their understanding of matter and cosmogony, and to get closer to unifying the basic forces of nature.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Wally Glickman, Ph.D., Department of Physics, Long Island University, 1 University Plaza, Brooklyn, New York 11201–5372. Email: walglick@aol.com