Investigating Emotions as Functional States Distinct From Feelings

Emotion Review 10 (3):191-201 (2018)
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We defend a functionalist approach to emotion that begins by focusing on emotions as central states with causal connections to behavior and to other cognitive states. The approach brackets the conscious experience of emotion, lists plausible features that emotions exhibit, and argues that alternative schemes are unpromising candidates. We conclude with the benefits of our approach: one can study emotions in animals; one can look in the brain for the implementation of specific features; and one ends up with an architecture of the mind in which emotions are fully accommodated through their relations to the rest of cognition. Our article focuses on arguing for this general approach; as such, it is an essay in the philosophy of emotion rather than in the psychology or neuroscience of emotion.

Author Profiles

Ralph Adolphs
California Institute of Technology


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