It was a response to a request circulated on 22 October 2007 by Michael Stocker requesting references on 'Intellectual Emotions'.
Thinking about what might be meant by that phrase led me to submit the following. I shall probably (as usual) modify and expand this when I find time.
Responses received with further references are appended.
From Aaron Sloman Tue Oct 23 22:09:59 BST 2007 To: ISRE-L Subject: Re: [ISRE-L] intellectual emotions Jim wrote: > I'm also not quite sure what you mean by intellectual emotions. > .... Nor I. Different people categorise affective states and processes in very different ways, e.g. in terms of
From the point of view of someone interested in understanding the variety of information-processing architectures that are possible in animal (normal or abnormal) or artificial brains, there are also ways of distinguishing states and processes in terms of which functionally distinct components of the architecture are involved and how they interact. E.g. even when the same components are involved, some interactions are immediate and transient, some grow and change over time then produce some behaviour then decay, others remain in control for a long time, some involve long term competition for control, where one enduring component is suppressed much of the time but may occasionally become dominant, (e.g. long term grief, jealousy, obsession, infatuation, ambition, patriotism, love of family...) The label 'intellectual' could be interpreted differently according to which of those categorisations one uses. One category that has always interested me goes back to my years as a mathematics undergraduate: the contents of some very strong motivational and emotional states had nothing to do with the environment or social relationships or bodily states, but just the intrinsic interest of certain problems and a desire to solve them -- which could sometimes become obsessive and last for days, or longer. It often did not matter that the problem had been solved long ago: I was not trying to be the first, or to beat someone else. I just wanted to do it, like someone wanting to climb a challenging mountain (which never attracted me). I see similar things with some academic colleagues, though with different intellectual contents. E.g. it could be a desire to redesign a computer program to make it more efficient, or more reliable, or even just more elegant, even if nobody is ever going to use the program. Rather different, but also intellectual is wanting to know how a story one is reading or hearing continues, or how a mystery was solved. Fury at missing the last instalment of a serial thriller has nothing to do with any practical implications. This is presumably closely related to desire to find out how things came about, what made something unusual happen, how things work, how some process started, all of which link up with scientific motivation and emotions. A quite different category of intellectual emotion would be one defined not in terms of the semantic content but in terms of the role of "intellectual" components of the architecture in the resulting processing. So obsessive ambition, or a desire for revenge, or desperately wanting to protect one's children from a threat (e.g. global warming) could focus very powerful problem-solving, deductive, and planning mechanisms, bringing to bear sophisticated scientific or technical know-how in the process. Those are intellectual in a different way. There are also retrospective emotions that refer to intellectual achievements or successes or failures e.g. pride at solving a problem, discovering a cure; and regret, irritation, or embarrassment at failing to notice something that would have solved a problem, and even wishing you had never got interested in something, etc. As for what the requester wanted, perhaps he should tell us? My fear is that with the steady and possibly irreversible growth of addiction to junk information, the role of intellectual motives and enjoyments may be dying for far too many people. Aaron http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/~axs/
- how they are labelled in colloquial language, Added: 27 Oct 2007 I could/should have included categorisations based on how people respond to questionnaires about types of emotions, etc.
- what sorts of perceived events and processes in the environment trigger them,
- which brain mechanisms are involved,
- the evolutionary significance or age of the brain mechanisms involved,
- which peripheral bodily changes occur (blood pressure, muscular tension, galvanic skin response, ..etc.)
- which overt bodily changes occur (e.g. facial expression, posture changes, etc.) Added: 24 Oct 2007 How the last two (peripheral and overt bodily changes) are represented and monitored centrally (e.g. William James, Damasio, et al.)
- which intentional actions occur,
- the semantic contents of cognitive states and processes involved,
- introspectible differences (e.g. how it feels),
- kind of social significance (shame, guilt, embarrassment, shyness, schadenfreude, ...),
- alternatives to being rational, Added: 24 Oct 2007 How the individual is evaluated by others (e.g. hysterical, steady, excited, disruptive, etc.) etc.
From: "Dr.Louise Sundararajan" Subject: Re: [ISRE-L] intellectual emotions Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2007 21:25:01 -0400 Hi Aaron, What you are talking about reminds me of the following reference: Kubovy, M. (1999). On the pleasures of the mind. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Foundations of hedonic psychology: Scientific perspectives on enjoyment and suffering (pp. 134-154). New York: Russell Sage. I found a web link to this here [AS] And a relevant theoretical framework for "pleasures of the mind" is the following reference: Frijda, N. H. & Sundararajan, L. (2007). Emotion refinement: a theory inspired by Chinese poetics. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2, 227-241. Best, Louise =================================================================== From: Ed Tan Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2007 13:58:23 +0200 Subject: Re: [ISRE-L] intellectual emotions Dear Aaron, Reminds me of interest and curiosity Darwin described the intellectual emotions ( wonder, curiosity, interest) in The descent of man and in The expression of the emotions in man and animal. Keltner, D., & Shiota, M. N. (2003). New displays and new emotions: A commentary on Rozin and Cohen. Emotion, 3, 86-91. use the term epistemic or epistemological emotions. That term is also used in philosophy. Silvia, P. (2006). Exploring the psychology of interest. Oxford: Oxford University Press. gives state of the art of research into interest. There is also work of high standard in educational psychology, e.g. Ainley, M., Hidi, S., & Berndorff, D. (2002). Interest, learning, and the psychological processes that mediate their relationship. Journal of Educational Psychology, 94(3), 545-561 Best regards, Ed Tan
School of Computer Science
The University of Birmingham