Special Issue "Functional Perspectives on Emotion"

A special issue of Behavioral Sciences (ISSN 2076-328X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017).

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Heather C. Lench Website E-Mail
Department of Psychology, Texas A&M University, 4235 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-4235, USA
Interests: emotion; affect; optimism; affective forecasting; cognition
Guest Editor
Dr. Shane W. Bench Website E-Mail
Department of Psychology, Utah State University Eastern, Price, UT 84501, USA
Interests: emotion; optimism; altruism; decision-making

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Functional perspectives, based on the idea that certain mental states evolved to meet environmental demands, have the potential to unify our understanding of emotion and its effects on behavior and cognition. This Special Issue will explore theoretical approaches to emotion that take a functional perspective and the connections among emotion, behavior, and cognition based in functional accounts. Examples of topics appropriate for this Special Issue would include theoretical or empirical papers that address functional theories from a historical perspective, the impact of emotional states on behavior or cognition, or the influence of evolved or adaptive cognitive states on emotion. Papers that examine the emotion from a functional perspective within a particular subject area, such as attitudes, relationships, memory, or psychiatric disorders, would also be an excellent fit. This Special Issue aims to integrate functional accounts to better elucidate the causes and consequences of discrete emotional states.

Dr. Heather C. Lench
Dr. Shane W. Bench
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Behavioral Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • emotion
  • affect
  • cognition
  • behavior
  • functional theory
  • evolutionary theory

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Understanding the Role of Negative Emotions in Adult Learning and Achievement: A Social Functional Perspective
Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8020027 - 20 Feb 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The role of emotions in adult learning and achievement has received increasing attention in recent years. However, much of the emphasis has been on test anxiety, rather than the wider spectrum of negative emotions such as sadness, grief, boredom and anger. This paper [...] Read more.
The role of emotions in adult learning and achievement has received increasing attention in recent years. However, much of the emphasis has been on test anxiety, rather than the wider spectrum of negative emotions such as sadness, grief, boredom and anger. This paper reports findings of a qualitative study exploring the experience and functionality of negative emotions at university. Thirty-six academic staff and students from an Australian university were interviewed about emotional responses to a range of learning events. Data analysis was informed by a prototype approach to emotion research. Four categories of discrete negative emotions (anger, sadness, fear, boredom) were considered by teachers and students to be especially salient in learning, with self-conscious emotions (guilt, embarrassment, shame) mentioned by more students than staff. While negative emotions were frequently viewed as detrimental to motivation, performance and learning, they were also construed under some circumstances as beneficial. The findings are discussed in relation to the value of social functional approaches for a better understanding of the diverse roles of negative emotions in learning and achievement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion)
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Open AccessReview
A Comparison of the Social-Adaptive Perspective and Functionalist Perspective on Guilt and Shame
Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs7040083 - 11 Dec 2017
Cited by 2
Abstract
Within the field of guilt and shame two competing perspectives have been advanced. The first, the social-adaptive perspective, proposes that guilt is an inherently adaptive emotion and shame is an inherently maladaptive emotion. Thus, those interested in moral character development and psychopathology should [...] Read more.
Within the field of guilt and shame two competing perspectives have been advanced. The first, the social-adaptive perspective, proposes that guilt is an inherently adaptive emotion and shame is an inherently maladaptive emotion. Thus, those interested in moral character development and psychopathology should work to increase an individual’s guilt-proneness and decrease an individual’s shame-proneness. The functionalist perspective, in contrast, argues that both guilt and shame can serve a person adaptively or maladaptively—depending on the situational appropriateness, duration, intensity, and so forth. This paper reviews the research conducted supporting both positions; critiques some issues with the most widely used guilt- and shame-proneness measure in the social-adaptive research (the TOSCA) and discusses the differences in results found when assessing guilt and shame at the state versus trait level. The conclusion drawn is that although there is broad support for the functionalist perspective across a wide variety of state and trait guilt/shame studies, the functionalist perspective does not yet have the wealth of data supporting it that has been generated by the social-adaptive perspective using the TOSCA. Thus, before a dominant perspective can be identified, researchers need to (1) do more research assessing how the social-adaptive perspective compares to the functionalist perspective at the state level and (2) do more trait research within the functionalist perspective to compare functionalist guilt- and shame-proneness measures with the TOSCA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion)
Open AccessReview
On the Importance of Both Dimensional and Discrete Models of Emotion
Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(4), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs7040066 - 29 Sep 2017
Cited by 8
Abstract
We review research on the structure and functions of emotions that has benefitted from a serious consideration of both discrete and dimensional perspectives on emotion. To illustrate this point, we review research that demonstrates: (1) how affective valence within discrete emotions differs as [...] Read more.
We review research on the structure and functions of emotions that has benefitted from a serious consideration of both discrete and dimensional perspectives on emotion. To illustrate this point, we review research that demonstrates: (1) how affective valence within discrete emotions differs as a function of individuals and situations, and how these differences relate to various functions; (2) that anger (and other emotional states) should be considered as a discrete emotion but there are dimensions around and within anger; (3) that similarities exist between approach-related positive and negative discrete emotions and they have unique motivational functions; (4) that discrete emotions and broad dimensions of emotions both have unique functions; and (5) evidence that a “new” discrete emotion with discrete functions exists within a broader emotion family. We hope that this consideration of both discrete and dimensional perspectives on emotion will assist in understanding the functions of emotions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Perspectives on Emotion)
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