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Dimensions of Filipino Negative Social Emotions

Dimensions of Filipino Negative Social Emotions



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Published by Carlo Magno
the study invetsigated 15 Filipino negative emotions using multidimensional scaling. It was found that emotions were clustered on dimensions of intensity and direction from person to event. The dimensions were confirmed using a focus group discussion and the empitons were describe dinterms of their focal event, appraisal, action tendencies, regulation, and selfhood.
the study invetsigated 15 Filipino negative emotions using multidimensional scaling. It was found that emotions were clustered on dimensions of intensity and direction from person to event. The dimensions were confirmed using a focus group discussion and the empitons were describe dinterms of their focal event, appraisal, action tendencies, regulation, and selfhood.

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Published by: Carlo Magno on Nov 07, 2008
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 Negative Social Emotions 1DRAFT COPY
Dimensions of Filipino Negative Social Emotions
Presented byDr. Madelene Sta. Maria Dr. Carlo MagnoDepartment of Psychology Counseling and Educational PsychologyCollege of Liberal Arts DepartmentDe La Salle University-Manila College of EducationDe La Salle University-ManilaAt the7
Conference of the Asian Association of Social PsychologyJuly 25-28, 2007 in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
When negative social emotions, such as anger, are studied from the cultural perspective,researchers look into how the system of symbols, categories, and models generate meaningstructures to shape emotional experience, expression, and action. Emotional experience andexpression will thus be observed to exhibit variations according to how personhood and socialrelationships are defined within a group of individuals sharing the same culture. Lutz (1982)clearly states the role of culture in our study of emotion with the following statement:The distinctive nature of emotion as a phenomenon lies in the fact that it appearsto the individual to originate both in the self and in the world. Cultural variationexists in the extent to which either the former or the latter is emphasized. In either case, emotion words do not simply serve to bring private into the social realm.The cultural values and theories that inform the meanings of emotion words givethose words an important role in aiding individuals in the interpretation andunderstanding of their situated selves (p.126)Therefore, the cultural study of emotions aims to explore the particular ways cultural meaningand social structure are related to the characterizations about relationship problems andexistential dilemmas (Lutz & White, 1986). For example, whereas in Western cultures, emotionwords are used to label internal feeling states and are communicated as such in everydaylanguage, emotion words used among Oceanic peoples (e.g., the Samoans, the PintupiAborigines, and the A’ra speakers of the Solomon Islands) are seen to be more of representingthe relationships between the person and event involving another person (Lutz, 1982).The association between cultural meaning and characterizations of human problems can takedifferent modes. Culture can give emphasis to a particular aspect of the problem. The Japanese,according to Lutz & White (1986), would focus on the audience for errors, while the Ilongotyouth is more likely to focus on his inadequacy as a challenge to be overcome. The Americans,on the other hand, would focus on what the error says about one’s character. Lutz & White goon to point out that culture can also influence the nature of the problem as it is encountered in
 Negative Social Emotions 2everyday life. Cultural meaning systems are said to present social relationship problems andexistential dilemmas in a number of emotional idioms. Some of these problems and dilemmasinclude the other person’s violation of the ego’s expectations, the other’s or the ego’s ownviolation of the cultural codes, the awareness of danger to one’s physical and psychological self and significant others, or the actual or threatened loss of relationships that are significant to theego.The emotion of anger, like fear, can therefore no longer be considered a universal category of nature. This means that the equivalents of the English word “anger” in other languages do nothave the same meaning and do not share the same cognitive scenarios that are associated with theEnglish term anger (Wierzbicka, 1995). Wierzbicka (1993) points out, for example, thatanalyses on the Ilongot concept of 
, the Ifaluk concept of 
, the Pitjantjatjara concept of 
, and the Polish concept of 
have stressed the importance of cultural meaning systemsin emotional experience and have challenged the basic dichotomy of reason vs. emotion, culturevs. personality, and public vs. private that predominate theoretical language on emotions (Lutz &White, 1986).Situating emotion in the world of cultural values and theories has become possible through theemphasis on the self in research on culture exemplified in the works of Michelle Rosaldo andClifford Geertz in the 1980s. Both Rosaldo and Geertz took emotion out of the psychobiologicalrealm and made it accessible for anthropological analysis (Lyon, 1995). Concepts of emotion began to be viewed as a form of language of the self, that is, as codes for statements about the person’s intentions, actions and social relations (Lutz & White, 1986). Emotions likewise playthe role of forming the person’s relations with the world, and are therefore used as codes for defining and negotiating social relations of the self within a moral order (Lutz & White, 1986). Now studied in terms of their implications to the construction of self in a particular culturalcontext, the interest in emotions took on a social constructionist frame (Lyon, 1995). Emotionsmay now be construed as part of psychological life both produced by culture and subject tocultural influence (Lyon, 1995).Another trend that led to the view of emotions as codes was the rise of cognition-dependenttheories in anthropology, psychology, and philosophy in the 1980s. These theories resulted tothe emphasis on cognitive processes in emotional experience, i.e., by defining them in terms of appraisals or judgments about social situations and as an aspect of cultural meaning (Goddard,1991; Leavitt, 1996). The view to emotion as cognition led to an increased recognition of therole of the sociocultural context (Goddard, 1991). According to Goddard, this theoreticaldevelopment in the study of emotions culminated in explanations which allowed the view toemotions as “socioculturally constructed.” Emotion concepts are thus studied as culture-specificconstructions that embody shared understandings of human nature and social interactions whichnow allow individuals to make sense of other’s actions.The present research seeks to explore the understandings of human nature and social interactionsembedded in the Filipino cultural representations of negative social emotions, such as anger.The exploration will involve determining the dimensions of these emotions through a clusteringtechnique, as well as investigating the patterns (i.e., focal events, appraisals, action tendencies
 Negative Social Emotions 3and regulation) that characterize the experience of the negative social emotions within eachdimension.
The Social Constructionist Approach to the Study of Emotion
Clifford Geertz’s claim that emotions, like ideas, are “cultural artifacts,” conveying socioculturalmessages, ushered in an approach that allowed the study of emotions from the cultural perspective (Goddard, 1991; Leavitt, 1996). Emotion concepts were seen as culture-specificconstructions of how people should interpret their actions and the actions of others within asocial context as these embody the understandings shared by a group about human nature andsocial interactions. According to Leavitt (1996), the social constructionist approach allowed for the interpretation of emotions as cultural categories, or as constituting another cultural domain.Interpretation was made possible by investigating emotional experience within the socialsituations which were expected to produce them. Emotions were then viewed as complex phenomena that are “socially and symbolically produced, expressed, and felt” (Leavitt, 1996, p.532). To justify their argument about social norms as determinants of emotion, socialconstructionists point to the differences in emotional expression in different cultures, as well asto the existence of normative rules in situations that involve feelings and emotions (Kemper,1981). Support for the social constructionist argument was also found in research that reportvariations in the reports of emotional experiences in some cultures (Kemper, 1981).Using the symbolic interactionist model as a starting point, social constructionists suggest thatemotional experience is preceded by the actor’s definition of a situation, and generally reject,with this position, the importance of the physiological bases for emotional experience andsuppose that emotions are largely determined by social norms (Kemper, 1981). Socialconstructionists also take the Vygotskian perspective by positing that emotions do not arise in private states but in contexts of social interaction (Myers, 1988). Emotions thus represent theforms of relationships between the person and the actions or events in his or her world. Myers(1988) points out that by taking the Vygotskian position, social constructionists gave emphasison the total construction of the self, thus avoiding the issue of universals.The assumptions held by social constructionists about the nature of emotions are not withouttheir limitations. To begin with, subsuming emotions under the culturally constructed concept of  person produces a kind of circularity and puts constraints in our ability to determine the bases of emotions (Lyon, 1995). Further, Leavitt (1996) contends that to lose the feeling side of the phenomenon and to reduce emotion as a kind of meaning will not permit a completeunderstanding of emotion because the experience and expression of emotion do not always take place in explicit categories (Leavitt cites the arguments of Crapanzano in 1992 and Levy in1984). The constructionist account has thus equated the social with the cognitive and theconceptual as opposed to the bodily and felt (Leavitt, 1996). The debate is largely about whether emotions have a physiological base that will allow cross-language and cross-culturalcomparisons or whether emotions are entirely socially constructed. Psychologists, who arguethat emotions serve a biological function and are therefore evolutionary inherited, tend to favor the first position (Bender, Spada, Seitz, Swoboda & Traber, 2007). Bender & her associates alsocontend that those who take this position argue that there are universally identifiable emotionalexpressions and are interested in determining the links that appears between action and

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