TWO ESSENTIAL COMPLEMENTARITIES (1) Forms of Knowledge: Objective Subjective Objective knowledge is supposedly about the external public world BUT it actually reflects internal learned conventions and standards. Subjective knowledge is supposedly about the internal private world BUT it is actually projected onto the imagined world out there.
BUT - LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE! You cannot have thoughts without feelings… You also cannot emotions without thoughts… The question then is this: What kind of thought processes go with what kind of feeling processes when it comes to ADAPTATION and EXPERIENCE? This is the central question addressed by the course! How do the mind and body interact to shape adaptation and experience or the search for meaning?
METHOD Examining episodes in everyday life… * Self as object * Self as process The search for process… Acts of Noticing as applied to everyday life… Apperception… in the world… being and acting in the world… in context… and aware of it!
TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE & TWO INTELLECTUAL TRADITIONS We have been talking about two images of people who emphasize either THINKING or FEELING. (1) Thinkers as problem solvers who face challenges and address needs. (2) Emotionally-oriented people who experience life in depth. Of course people reflect a balance between the two modes of being-in-the- world. But some people tend to express more of one style than the other.
This distinction can be traced back to two important intellectual traditions from the late 1700s. It is essential to realize that current ideas in psychology are reflections of ideas started 300 years ago!!! THE ENLIGHTENMENT ROOTS OF ACTION THEORY: “You’ve got to take action!” “There was great action in the game last night!” “He was a man of action.”
ENGLAND IN THE 1700s Transition from Feudal and Christian societies to modern secular society… The emerging modern society in 18th century Britain was based on free wage labour and capital, the ubiquity of commercial and contractual relationships, the principle of representative government, individual enterprise, and scientific rationality. This account of the privatization of action focused on the contingency between preferences and actions to maximize benefits that were available to males of the propertied classes. Determinism and Rationality were salient themes during the Newtonian period.
In emotion we find a transition from: PASSIONS as signs and symptoms of a disobedient fallen soul TO AFFECTIONS as enlightened movements of the rational will. A distinction was drawn between violent passions which affected a person directly through either internal or external sensation, and calm, cool, or gentle passions or interests which formed gradually through reflection on the outcomes of past actions. The reflection could be accompanied by the experience of pain or pleasure, indicators of relative success or failure of their actions. The transformation of passion into calm desires could serve as a motive to guide behaviour.
Calm desires follow “Natural Laws” and the good or evil consequent to action can be quantified and therefore subject to calculation. The will then provides a means for transferring these mental calculations into motor activity. Individuals were described as acting in a calculating manner based on cool desires and the resulting feelings of pain or pleasure provide feedback as to the success or failure of their efforts. Philosophers described people as agents who deliberate regarding the potential outcomes of actions which are performed for reasons.
John Locke addressed the problem of identity and the experience of a continuous self. The critical point is that individuals are described as acting in a calculating manner based on cool desires and the resulting feelings of pain or pleasure provide feedback as to the success or failure of their efforts.
INTRODUCING THE WORD “EMOTION” Samuel Johnson (1755) defined “emotion” as a “disturbance of mind; vehemence of passion, pleasing or painful”. The introduction of the word “emotion” into common use, replacing the word “passions,” can be understood as part of the process of secularization. The philosopher David Hume made frequent use of the new word emotion which had been derived from the word motion, describing social or physical agitation and, by analogy, mental agitation or excitement. The distinction between motive and an emotion became prominent and replaced the old contrast between reason and passions.
AESTHETIC REACTIONS (1) Disinterest - disregard utility of the object. (2) Unity-in-Diversity According to the British “Taste Theorists” (like Hutcheson) - The sense of taste was a function of a practiced eye and therefore experience could facilitate aesthetic judgment.
The Enlightenment stressed manipulating an audience’s imagination and emotions by selecting subject matter that represented universally shared natural and social worlds. No assumptions were made about the need for recipients to possess specialized knowledge in order to appreciate the work. Images should be guided by strict mimesis, the controlled “imitation of nature.”
The goal of art was to create an illusionist style of representation in which the natural world, governed by laws of causality, could be faithfully and immediately apprehended by the senses in a single glance. According to Richard Payne Knight (1786), theatre is a kind of passive response. French neoclassicism emphasized the importance of the “three unities” of time, place, and action in determining dramatic illusion and the evocative power of a play.
ROMANTICISM AND EMOTIONAL EXPRESSION - Leibniz and Continuity of Consciousness - From Apperception to Minute Perceptions. - The higher you go up the layers, the clearer your ideas. - The lower you go down the layers, the more vague your ideas. English emphasized vividness. Germans emphasized the mind is unified. It is both subject matter and structure.
STRESS THE UNIFIED SOUL... A HARMONY OF SUBJECT MATTER AND FORM. REDINTEGRATION… ONE PART OF A MEMORY ELICITS THE WHOLE...
AESTHETIC REACTIONS Johann Elias Schlegel (1719-1749) He was against any conception of drama which emphasized its ability to trick the spectator through the senses and emotion into believing that the event on the stage is real. Theatre reflects the social realities and historical traditions of its audience but at the same time can enhance social awareness. By selecting critical moments in life and expressing them in carefully fashioned dialogue, the playwright exposes the hidden workings of a character’s mind. The author can provide motives to account for actions as they unfold in a play to a greater degree than is available in daily life. The unity of action is more important than the unities of time and place. In short, by providing a meaningful context to account for action, the author brings coherence and meaningfulness to the audience’s experience.
August Wilhelm Schlegel ( 1767-1845) Schlegel described the ways that illusion is shaped by events on the theatrical stage. He countered the Neoclassical principle that powerful dramatic illusion was created by the unity of time, place, and action, treating it as a “waking dream, to which we voluntarily surrender ourselves.” Schlegel proposed the very modern idea that reality and illusion actually coexist. “The reality of the dramatic dialogue is that the text is written; the illusion is that dramatic dialogue is spoken spontaneously.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) Samuel Taylor Coleridge placed a greater emphasis on the role of will in adopting an aesthetic attitude. He described aesthetic illusion as the product of a “willing suspension of disbelief for the moment which constitutes poetic faith.” Coleridge objected to mechanistic models proposed by associationists like Knight because they treated the mind as passive. Instead, he emphasized the logic of the imagination rather than the reception of sensation. Imagination provides a basis for the fluid continuity of conscious experience. The antipathy that Romantic scholars felt toward mimesis was reflected in Coleridge’s treatment of the distinction between copy and imitation. While a “copy merely mirrors and reproduces, an imitation reveals the conscious artistry involved.”
The copy is a mere replica of the real, reflecting the accidents of the moment. In imitation, imagination creates an ideal, through a “combination of a certain degree of dissimilitude with a certain degree of similitude.” Thus, Shakespeare did not merely copy a character, but rather developed a character by “imitating the psychological veracities discovered through meditation.”
THE DEVELOPMENT OF ACTION THEORY THE PSYCHOLOGICAL SIDE OF ADAPTATION According to ACTION THEORY philosophers, people are agents who deliberate regarding potential outcomes of actions which are performed for reasons. According to ACTION THEORY, people have goals, needs and concerns which prompt them to initiate action, and emotion arises when the process is either completed or interrupted. Emotion is functional because it can facilitate the process of adaptation. BUT an excess of emotion can interfere with it.
THREE THEMES OF ACTION THEORY (1)Autonomous self as agent of action The role of will and choice (2) Central cortical (versus peripheral visceral) Determinants of emotional processes (3) Facilitative effects of emotional energy … on direction and execution of adaptive behaviour
THREE STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT (Roughly 100 years each) (1)Enlightenment [1720-1820] Emphasis on individuals as agents & purposive action (2) Nineteenth Century [1820-1920] The emergence of psychophysiology i.Darwin & adaptation to environmental challenges ii.Role of mental energy centred in the purposeful brain (3) Twentieth Century [1920-Present] Behavioural/Cognitive stage
19 TH CENTURY & THE EMERGENCE OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY (1820-1920) Involuntary versus Voluntary actions Concrete metaphor of mechanical action [INVOLUNTARY]… Philosopher Rene Descartes (1596-1650) Involuntary reflex action Scottish physiologist Robert Whytt (1768) “the sight, or even the recalled idea of grateful food causes the saliva to flow into the mouth of a hungry person; and the seeing of a lemon cut produces the same effect in many people”
[VOLUNTARY]… Mental Energy Metaphor of transforming heat into mechanical energy [INVOLUNTARY & VOLUNTARY]… EXCITATION versus INHIBITION…
1830s and 1840s – Rigid distinction between reflex functioning of the spinal cord and brain stem and a different mode of functioning assigned to the cerebral hemispheres as the seat of the mind. Mid-Century – Thomas Laycock and later William Carpenter applied the reflex function to higher mental activities. They stressed a unified nervous system which controlled all action and was governed by fundamental principles of reflex action.
THOMAS LAYCOCK (1855) “The fundamental principles of reflex action are these: That there is an apparatus so contrived as to place the individual in relation with the external world so they may receive impressions from it in such a way that, whatever in the world is good for the organism is sought after and secured, if possible; and whatever is injurious is avoided or repelled, if possible; secured or repelled automatically and mechanically without the intervention of any sensation, feeling, thought, volition, or act of conscious mind whatever.” Reflex Action: (1) Mediates between the organism & environment (2) Functions according to a principle of self-preservationAND IS (3) Automatic
HENRY MAUDSLEY (1834-1918) Specific action tendencies are part of human behaviour. “Acts of thought or of voluntary attention always involve a motor component, although that component might only be incipient.”
WILLIAM CARPENTER (1852) Distinguished between: (1)An automatic level of reflex & sensorimotor functioning AND (2) A “self-determined” level of intelligent & voluntary action There can be automatic (i.e., involuntary) actions mediated at the cerebral level. According to this notion of ideomotor action; ideas can produce automatic movements.
ALEXANDER BAIN (1855 and 1859) A “store of nervous energy” transformed from nutrition into action. While the energy attributed by physiologists to the body was purely physical, mental activity could channel this energy into productive action.
CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882) One of the GREAT PARADIGM CHANGES: THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES (1859) - Contradicted the view of special creation Problem was becoming acute… geographical exploration multiplied the number of species… too many for Noah to have crowded a pair of each into the ark! “every living thing after his kind” - related to the biblical account of the creation of animal life and its preservation in Noah’s ark during the deluge.
GOETHE (1749-1832) German poet and scientist Argued for the “metamorphosis of parts” (1790) in plants… for example: double flower from a single flower. ERASMUS DARWIN (1721-1802) Charles Darwin’s grandfather Independently figured out the idea about transmutation of species… but he wrote rhymes about it which did not have scientific value. LAMARK (1744-1829) Lamarkians believe in inheritance of acquired characteristics: …the modification of animal form through effort and inheritance.
Darwin was directly influenced by: (1)Malthus’ theory of limitation of population by natural conditions (2)Lyell’s principles of geology… the past is interpreted in terms of orderly changes in the earth not cataclysmic changes which swept all life forms away and replaced them with improved versions.
Continuing with Charles Darwin… Evolutionary origin of the species through: (1)Inheritable variation = occurring spontaneously or by chance (2) Natural selection = a struggle for existence in which all animals engage His theory challenged the authority of Genesis regarding special creation… (1) inheriting his/her body from animal ancestors, but is there also (2) continuity with respect to the mind?
THE EXPRESSION OF EMOTION IN MAN & ANIMALS (1872) According to Knight Dunlap (1922), Darwin’s book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872) provided “the impetus to develop the theory of the emotions as organic processes” and “the hypothesis of reaction or response as the basis of all mental life.”
THE EXPRESSION OF EMOTION IN MAN & ANIMALS (1872) Darwin expressed many ideas current among the leading psycho- physiologists of the 19 th century: reflex action, automaticity of mental response, nervous energy, and so on… …BUT he added an evolutionary twist which rendered expressive behaviour almost accidental. This evolutionary perspective led scholars to frame the process of adaptation in evolutionary terms.
The combination of purpose, mental reflex action and nervous energy assume a prominent role in Darwin’s three main principles of emotion, which are generally associated with expressive behaviour.
(1) The principle of serviceable associated habits “Certain complex actions…under certain states of mind…relieve or gratify certain sensations, desires, etc.; and whenever the same state of mind is induced, however feebly, there is a tendency through the force of habit and association for the same movements to be performed, though they may not be of the least use. Today ethnologists call these “intention movement” (Tinbergen), which signal readiness to engage in more complex behaviour of which this is just a part. This principle is generally related to expressive actions which served a purpose in one context (e.g., cats pulling their ears back to avoid injury when in conflict), but serve merely as signs of impending action in another (e.g., ears pulled back as a preparatory act serving to signal impending danger to another cat which then chooses to back off.)
Facial expression of disgust originates from a child’s spitting up aversive food and is now associated with anything that is metaphorically disgusting. Darwin traced emotional expressions to underlying action patterns. He did not think they evolved to communicate emotions. The expressive quality is just an accident!! This relates to G. Allport & functional autonomy.
(2) The principle of antithesis “When a directly opposite state of mind is induced, there is a strong and involuntary tendency to the performance of movements of a directly opposite nature, though these are of no use.” This is a purely mechanical relationship. This principle anticipates the complementarities which where to become familiar 100 years later in relation to the sadomasochistic personality style and the manic-depressive disorder.
(3) The principle of direct action of the nervous system “When a sensorium is strongly excited, nerve force is generated in excess, and is transmitted in definite directions” and this “we recognize as expressive”. This explains bodily movements with little functional value such as trembling of muscles, cries of pain, screams of rage. These are “energy overflows” expended in intense sensation, active thought, violent movements and increased glandular activity. So relief we feel while weeping is related to the level of activity in the nervous system that we experience while suffering.
THE HOMEOSTATIC PRINCIPLE More intense agony leads to a more intense effort by the nervous system, and therefore the more relief we feel when the effort has subsided.