Emotion Essay

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Emotion Dr. C. George Boeree So far, our theory is rather cold and mechanical. What about feelings? Well, they're there, to some degree, in every interaction. Imagine this: In the middle of the night, you get a bad case of the munchies. So you leave your bed and head for the fridge. It's very dark, but you know your apartment like the back of your hand, so you don't bother with the lights. The coffee table is in the middle of the room and you anticipate its presence and maneuver around it. Perhaps you reach out your hand to touch the edge to confirm your anticipation. You're almost there - five more feet to the fridge - when WHAM! you walk into a solid six foot...something: The unanticipated! What do you feel at that moment? Perhaps fear, surprise, perhaps sheer terror. Whatever it is, it is rather unpleasant. Let's call it distress. You are, at the same time, busy "generating anticipations" -- making guesses about the nature of the beast, taking actions that might alleviate some of your fears, dashing for the light switch. The lights come on... you're expecting a sex-crazed psycho-killer.... And lo and behold, it's the fridge. You cleaned behind it for the first time in 30 years and left it pulled out. Now how do you feel? Perhaps you feel relief, a sensation of pleasant resolution. You heave a great sigh, perhaps laugh. Things make sense again. Life is on the right path again. Let's call it delight. (Note that you might still feel some negative emotion as well, as soon as the initial relief is behind you - like annoyance at your own stupidity. That problem has yet to be resolved!) Another example: Notice the people coming off one of the "sooper-dooper" roller coasters. Notice their frozen smiles. That's their way of saying "yes! I am alive!" Let's be more precise: When interaction is problematic, we feel distress. For example, (1) when we fail to

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