Oatley, K., Keltner, D. & Jenkins, J. M. (2006).
Understanding emotions (2
Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Chapter 1: Approaches to understanding emotions
1. Which approach to the study of emotions was favored by Darwin, James, and Freud?
Darwin: evolutionary approach; James: bodily approach; Freud: psychoanalytic approach
2. According to Darwin, why do human beings have emotional expressions?
Emotional expressions derive largely from habits that in our evolutionary or individual past had once been useful. They connect back
to the past of our species as well as to infancy.
3. What is an emotion in the opinion of James? Do you agree with him?
When we perceive the object of fear, a bear, or “the exciting fact,” then the emotion is the perception of changes of our body as we
react to that fact. The core of emotion is the pattern of bodily responses. Our experience of many emotions, from fear to joy, is the set
of changes of the ANS as well as changes from movements of muscles and joints were parts of the felt bodily changes.
4. What function do emotions serve, according to James?
Emotions give “color and warmth” to experience.
5. What is Freud's main argument about emotions?
They have such strong influence on our current lives because of how strongly they come about from crucial events in childhood. They
are at the core of many pathologies.
6. Which approach to the study of emotions was favored by Aristotle, Descartes, and Eliot?
Aristotle used the conceptual approach, Descartes used philosophical approach, Eliot used literary approach.
7. What was Aristotle’s position on the relationship between emotions and what we believe and do?
Emotions are connected with action. They depend on what we believe, that they are evaluations, so we are responsible for our
emotions because we are responsible for our beliefs and valuations of the world.
8. What three principles apply to making a persuasive argument?
First, a hearer is more likely to believe a good person than a bad one. Second, people are persuaded when what is said stirs their
emotions. Third, people are persuaded by arguments that seem truthful.
9. What is the meaning of katharsis?
It meant clarification – the clearing away of obstacles to understanding our emotions. By seeing universal predicaments of human
action at the theater (if one goes to the theater to rid oneself of toxic emotions) we may come to experience emotions of pity and fear
and understand consciously for ourselves their relation to the consequences of human action in a world that can be known only
10. Where are emotions located according to Descartes?
In the thinking aspect of ourselves that he called the soul.
11. What function do emotions serve according to Descartes?