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Nature of emotions 12 2 09

Nature of emotions 12 2 09 - • Third person thoughts...

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Nature of emotions 12 2 09 No need for mindreading o Emotional contagion is triggered by superficial cues, not by ascription of mental states to others o Pain → your pain → helping Mindreading account of prosocial behavior o Consider accounts that assume that prosocial behavior depends on the ascription of mental states of others Simulation/perspective taking o Putting yourself in other’s shoes → prosocial motivation Goldman o Empathy → simulation o Simulated situation → simulated pain Nichols’ explanation of prosocial behavior o A minimal amount of mindreading Motivation to act prosocially requires some amount of mindreading (vs. the emotional contagion-based account) But it does not require the ascription of complex mental states such as beliefs and desires Only the ascription of a state of pain “he is in pain” → prosocial motivation Goldman vs. Nichols o Goldman Simulation Complex First-person thoughts o Nichols Ascription of pain Simple
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Unformatted text preview: • Third person thoughts “he is in pain” → concern mechanism → affect → “I want to help relieve poverty and hunger” → decision to act • Nature of the affect in the concern mechanism o Sympathy or 2 nd order contagious distress o Sympathy does not need to be congruent with emotion being felt for person • 3 ways to react to emotion o Contagion Attention directed to self, motivation self-oriented o Distress Attention directed to self, motivation self-oriented o Concern Attention directed to other people • Concern o Suffering not congruent with prosocial behavior • Comparison of 2 hypotheses o Early prosocial behavior Children help others very early on But their mindreading capacity is incomplete before their fifth year o The false belief task Person puts object on table, person leaves, someone moves it to basket Children think first person should know it’s on the table...
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