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The Cognitive Structure of Emotions
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It has long been clear that the way in which people interpret the world affects our emotional reactions. What has been less clear is exactly how such different interpretations lead to different emotions. This is the central question addressed by The Cognitive Structure of Emotions. Taking a cognitive science perspective, a systematic account is presented of the cognitive structures that underlie a wide range of different emotions. Detailed proposals about the factors that affect intensity are also offered. The authors propose three broad classes of emotions, each corresponding to a different attentional focus. One class consists of reactions to events, one of reactions to the actions of agents, and one of reactions to objects. By basing their analysis of the antecedents of emotions on an analysis of the perceived situational conditions that elicit them, the authors offer the prospect of accounting for variations in the emotions of different individuals, different cultures, and perhaps even different species.

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