Chapter

Emotions as Inferences

Philip N. Johnson-Laird

in How We Reason

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780199551330
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191701580 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199551330.003.0006
Emotions as Inferences

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This chapter reviews emotions as inferences. The process of understanding principles is tractable, whereas the work of following them is not. It also suggests a solution as to why emotions are puzzling. In addition, it illustrates how emotions and reasoning influence one another. The plan is to follow the course of emotions in human minds. They are created by cognitive evaluations, which can be rudimentary and unconscious or complex and conscious. It is noted that emotions are a primitive sort of unconscious reasoning that issues, not in conclusions, but signals. The communicative theory postulates that emotions assure that decisions are made rather than get lost in a maze of reasoning. The traffic between reasoning and emotions moves in both directions. Inferences evoke emotions; emotions evoke inferences.

Keywords: emotions; inferences; reasoning; human; minds; communicative theory

Chapter.  6755 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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