`There is much that is fascinating here. Long-established experiments and conclusions are rubbished and reinterpreted, long-established assumptions and beliefs about emotions are soundly trounced, and generally a good going-over is delivered to the whole field... it is such a blockbuster that one can only reel backwards and tell anyone studying the subject that they would be crazy not to get it' - Self & Society This fascinating book overviews the psychology of the emotions in its broadest sense, tracing historical, social, cultural and biological themes and analyses. The contributors - some of the leading figures in the field - produce a new theoretical synthesis by drawing together these strands.
Chapter 1: Overview
The study of the emotions has a special fascination. Not only are the emotions central features of human life, but they are exemplary of the ways in which contemporary psychology faces an irreducible complexity. Emotions are at once bodily responses and expressions of judgements, at once somatic and cognitive. They seem to have deep evolutionary roots, yet they are, among human phenomena, notably culturally variable in many of their aspects. Even the somatic aspect of emotions is complex. There are emotion displays and there are, in some cultures, emotion feelings, and neither is immune from cultural influence. Some displays seem a general feature of human ethology, being established over great numbers of generations by Darwinian selection, whereas others are acquired as habits, ...