Emotion: A Very Short Introduction

Emotion: A Very Short Introduction

Dylan Evans

Language: English

Pages: 156

ISBN: 0192804618

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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selection. This analysis has been challenged by the economist Robert Frank. Frank argues that it is actually advantageous to have the capacity for guilt, because people who are known to have a conscience are more likely to be trusted by others. He tells the following story to illustrate his point. Consider two people, Smith and Jones, who wish to start a restaurant. Smith is a talented cook and Jones is a shrewd manager, so together they can launch a successful joint venture that pays each of

Emotional intelligence involves striking a balance between emotion and reason in which neither is completely in control. Emotionally intelligent people know when it is right to control their emotions and when it is right to be controlled by them. Emotional intelligence also involves the ability to read other people’s emotions correctly. Guessing other people’s emotional state is easy when they are in fits of tears, but the signs are not always so obvious. We often try to mask our emotions, making

more equitably among all layers of society, he accused his opponents of preaching ‘the politics of envy’. The implicit reasoning is clear: envy is an emotion, and not a very nice one at that, so any policy motivated by it must be similarly bad. But envy is not all bad. In fact, it may prove to be crucial for our sense of justice and for motivating us to build a fairer society; ‘envy is the basis of democracy,’ wrote Bertrand Russell. It may well have evolved precisely for such purposes, as it was

Victorians with a smug sense of superiority. ‘Emotional literacy’ is held in high esteem. People who cannot talk openly about their feelings are regarded as psychologically immature, relics of a bygone age when repression reigned supreme. However, psychologists are increasingly realizing that the hydraulic theory of emotion is too simplistic. It may well be very good on some occasions to indulge in the spontaneous expression of emotion. On other occasions, however, it can be positively harmful.

these pieces together. Needless to say, a short book like this cannot hope to cover all aspects of such a complex area. I have had to leave some very interesting areas of emotion research to one side. The reader will not find, for example, a discussion of how emotions develop in children, although this too is a burgeoning area of study. Nor is there any mention of the growing literature on individual differences in emotional experience. My choice of topics reflects my own idiosyncratic interests

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