Cognition & Emotion
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Highly divergent accounts exist of the nature of emotional feelings. Following Lambie and Marcel (2002), that divergence is
traced back to actual differences in experience that result from variations in the involvement and direction of attention
during emotions. The dimensions of variation include first versus second order experience, world- versus self-focus, appraisal
or action-readiness focus, and attention mode (synthetic-analytic, immersed-detached). It is argued that the most characteristic
form during actual emotional events consists of the more or less immersed and synthetic perception of an emotionally meaningful
world or of oneself as emotionally meaningful. Meaning consists of perceived qualities that represent appraisal and action
readiness. Although information from one's body is central for all emotion experience, it is not central in all emotion experience.
Feeling of the body in a particular state represents detached analytic self-focused awareness only. Emotion experience not
only represents a perspective on emotional reactions but also contributes to the constitution of those reactions, notably
with respect to attention shifts, action initiation and action guidance, and emotion regulation. It is a major factor in constituting
a representation of "self" and in establishing social coherence.
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