Emotion, Consciousness, and Social Behavior

Piotr Winkielman, Kent C. Berridge and Shlomi Sher

in The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780195342161
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Emotion, Consciousness, and Social Behavior

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  • Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Social Psychology



This chapter focuses on the relation of emotion to consciousness and the implication of this relation for social behavior. The chapter is structured as follows. First, it briefly shows that the traditional perspectives on human emotions view them as necessarily conscious. Second, it shows evidence that emotions can be unconsciously triggered. Third, it shows that there are cases of truly “unconscious” or “unfelt” emotion. Fourth, it addresses some challenges to these ideas. Fifth, it addresses the relation between conscious and unconscious components of emotion. Reflecting the focus of this book, the chapter discusses neuroscience research that identifies structures and functions associated with conscious and unconscious aspects of emotions and considers their implications for social behavior.

Keywords: emotion; affect; consciousness; unconscious; subliminal stimuli; subjective experience; phenomenology; affective influence

Article.  12054 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Cognitive Neuroscience ; Social Psychology

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