The Psychological Construction of Emotion

Edited by Lisa Feldman Barrett and James A. Russell
Afterword by Joseph E. LeDoux

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October 29, 2014
ISBN 9781462516971
Price: $70.00 $59.50
479 Pages
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November 10, 2014
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This volume presents cutting-edge theory and research on emotions as constructed events rather than fixed, essential entities. It provides a thorough introduction to the assumptions, hypotheses, and scientific methods that embody psychological constructionist approaches. Leading scholars examine the neurobiological, cognitive/perceptual, and social processes that give rise to the experiences Western cultures call sadness, anger, fear, and so on. The book explores such compelling questions as how the brain creates emotional experiences, whether the "ingredients" of emotions also give rise to other mental states, and how to define what is or is not an emotion. Introductory and concluding chapters by the editors identify key themes and controversies and compare psychological construction to other theories of emotion.

“The publication of this volume is sure to be regarded as a watershed event in the (post)modern study of emotions. Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals.”

Choice Reviews


“Barrett and Russell have assembled a star-studded cast of scholars. In contrast to faculty psychology accounts, which enumerate distinct psychological modules, psychological construction accounts are concerned with specifying how emotions are constituted from more basic mental processes. This volume’s well-coordinated chapters treat the reader to a fresh set of perspectives. Eschewing the search for 'essences,' the authors outline ambitious and exciting programs of process-oriented research. A 'must read' for anyone interested in emotion.”

—James J. Gross, PhD, Department of Psychology, Stanford University


“Research on emotion has long been dominated by the search for innate modules that unleash feelings. The Psychological Construction of Emotion presents an exciting and compelling alternative.”

—Joseph E. LeDoux, PhD, Center for Neural Science and Department of Psychology, New York University


“The science of psychology strikes back (against modularity of mind and biological reductionism). Read The Psychological Construction of Emotion and be dazzled: it reveals the neuroscience of emotion as deep phrenology; basic emotion theory as not basic enough (and certainly not hard-wired); faculty psychology as folk psychology. Read the book and be impressed by the philosophical puzzles of the mind-body problem and the problem of the one and the many when it comes to defining and understanding that mysterious thing called ‘the emotions.’”

—Richard A. Shweder, PhD, Harold Higgins Swift Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago


“This much-needed book nicely summarizes a new wave of neuroscientific and psychological constructionist accounts of emotion that oppose still very popular and easier-to-grasp essentialist views. Instead of conceiving emotions as hard-wired natural entities that rely on specific modules or networks in the brain selected by biological evolution, constructionist approaches take a more modern dynamical system approach. At a time when simplified one-to-one mappings between high-level psychological phenomena and their underlying biological bases still dominate public discussion, this rich and inspiring book is necessary, refreshing reading.”

—Tania Singer, PhD, Department of Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany

Table of Contents

1. An Introduction to Psychological Construction, Lisa Feldman Barrett and James A. Russell

I. Foundations

2. Mental Mechanisms and Psychological Construction, Mitchell Herschbach & William Bechtel

3. Ten Common Misconceptions about Psychological Construction Theories of Emotion, Lisa Feldman Barrett

II. Psychological Construction Theories

4. The Conceptual Act Theory: A Roadmap, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Christine D. Wilson-Mendenhall, & Lawrence W. Barsalou

5. The Neuroscience of Construction: What Neuroimaging Approaches Can Tell Us about How the Brain Creates the Mind, Suzanne Oosterwijk, Alexandra Touroutoglou, & Kristen A. Lindquist

6. Emotions as Semantic Pointers: Constructive Neural Mechanisms, Paul Thagard & Tobias Schröder

7. Affect Dynamics: Iterative Reprocessing in the Production of Emotional Responses, William A. Cunningham, Kristen Dunfield, & Paul Stillman

8. My Psychological Construction Perspective, with a Focus on Conscious Affective Experience, James A. Russell

9. Emotions as Emergent Variables, James A. Coan & Marlen Z. Gonzalez

III. Core Affect

10. Brain Mechanisms of Pleasure: The Core Affect Component of Emotion, Morton L. Kringelbach & Kent C. Berridge

11. Mesolimbic Dopamine and Emotion: A Complex Contribution to a Complex Phenomenon, John D. Salamone, Mercè Correa, Patrick A. Randall, & Eric J. Nunes

12. An Approach to Mapping the Neurophysiological State of the Body to Affective Experience, Ian R. Kleckner and Karen S. Quigley

IV. Commentary and Consilience

13. Can an Appraisal Model Be Compatible with Psychological Constructionism?, Andrew Ortony & Gerald Clore

14. Basic Emotions, Psychological Construction, and the Problem of Variability, Andrea Scarantino

15. A Sociodynamic Perspective on the Construction of Emotion, Michael Boiger & Batja Mesquita

16. Evolutionary Constraints and Cognitive Mechanisms in the Construction of an Emotion: Insights from Human and Nonhuman Primates, Jennifer M. B. Fugate

V. Integration and Reflection

17. The Greater Constructionist Project for Emotion, James A. Russell

18. Construction as an Integrative Framework for the Science of the Emotion, Lisa Feldman Barrett

Afterword: Emotional Construction in the Brain, Joseph LeDoux

Index


About the Editors

Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, is University Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Director of the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory at Northeastern University, with research appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and is a faculty member at the MGH Center for Law, Brain and Behavior. Dr. Barrett’s research focuses on the nature of emotion from both psychological and neuroscience perspectives, and incorporates insights from anthropology, philosophy, linguistics, and the history of psychology. She is the recipient of a Pioneer Award from the National Institutes of Health, among numerous other awards, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Association for Psychological Science. She was a founding Editor-in-Chief of the journalEmotion Reviewand cofounder of the Society for Affective Science. Dr. Barrett has published more than 170 papers and book chapters.

James A. Russell, PhD, is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Emotion Development Lab at Boston College. His research centers on human emotion, with interests in how large-scale environments influence emotion, the nature of emotion, how emotions can be described and assessed, a circumplex model of core affect, cultural similarities and differences in emotion concepts, and the perception of emotion from facial expressions. Dr. Russell is an Editor-In-Chief of Emotion Review and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. He has published more than 100 articles in scientific journals.

Contributors

Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts

Lawrence W. Barsalou, PhD, Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

William Bechtel, PhD, Department of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Program in Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California

Kent C. Berridge, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Michael Boiger, PhD, Center for Social and Cultural Psychology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Gerald Clore, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

James A. Coan, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Mercè Correa, PhD, Division of Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

William A. Cunningham, PhD, Department of Psychology and Marketing, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Kristen Dunfield, PhD, Department of Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Jennifer M. B. Fugate, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dartmouth, Massachusetts

Marlen Z. Gonzalez, MA, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Mitchell Herschbach, PhD, Department of Philosophy, California State University, Northridge, Northridge, California

Ian R. Kleckner, PhD, Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts

Morten L. Kringelbach, DPhil, Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom, and Centre for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark

Joseph LeDoux, PhD, Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, New York

Kristen A. Lindquist, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Batja Mesquita, PhD, Center for Social and Cultural Psychology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Eric J. Nunes, PhD, Division of Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Suzanne Oosterwijk, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Andrew Ortony, PhD, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

Karen S. Quigley, PhD, Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts, and Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Hospital, Bedford, Massachusetts

Patrick A. Randall, PhD, Division of Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

James A. Russell, PhD, Department of Psychology, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

John D. Salamone, PhD, Division of Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut

Andrea Scarantino, PhD, Department of Philosophy and Neuroscience Institute, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia

Tobias Schröder, PhD, Institute for Urban Futures, Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, Potsdam, Germany

Paul E. Stillman, MA, Department of Psychology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Paul Thagard, PhD, Department of Philosophy, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Alexandra Touroutoglou, PhD, Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts

Christine D. Wilson-Mendenhall, PhD, Department of Psychology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts

Audience

Social and personality psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists, and other researchers and students interested in emotions.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.