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Carl B. Frankel Organizational Measurement and Engineering San Francisco, CA
Rebecca D. Ray Stanford University Stanford, CA
Antecedent to any emotions (Lazarus. In this paper. worst harms first. when introduced to psychology by the birth of computers. information processing and cognition are often treated synonymously. Given any standard for competence. continually improvising a sufficiently ordered—an adequately competent—relationship to the unpredictability and confusion of their changing circumstances? An information processing approach. information processing was conceived in terms of information as any detectable useful difference and processing as any computable transformation of differences. 1991). but also peoples’ views of their present circumstances are incomplete and prone to many kinds of errors. an amoeba moving in a temperature gradient from a region less favorable to one more favorable for its vegetative and reproductive processes can be understood to be using self-regulatory information processing to adhere to a standard. people must behave in ways that are both adequately correct in content and also adequately timely in execution. cognitive and otherwise. emotions are governing computations in the self-regulatory processing that produces adequate competence. much like a hedonistic sunbather moving to stay out of the shade and in the sun. Not only is the future uncertain. Despite uncertainties and inaccuracies. cognition/processing are widely presumed to appraise circumstances and to produce competence. This notion of processing illuminates the role of self-regulating architectures in competence. From such a coolly framed notion of competence. adequate competence is achieved by adequately avoiding harms with respect to the standard. Five complementary. unified levels in an information processing analysis. For example. After all. confronting people with the demands and pressures of unpredictably changing circumstances. How do people get along in the world. it may seem jarring to model competence with an information processing theory in which emotions govern self-regulation. However.The world is a dynamic place. The emotion . and pursuing benefits.
for conscious systems. an information processing analysis of competence and emotion uses five complementary. including both the self-reported. an actuarial analysis considers how an architecture performs against the standard for adaptive competence. subjective units of introspection. functional. for naturally selected systems. empirically grounded case can be made that emotions are control signals. A functional analysis considers what capabilities (functionalities) result when appraisals are deployed in the service of competence. social signaling/discourse and evolutionary. Social signals are but one kind of control signal. Much broader than Fridlund’s (1991) notion of a social signal. functional and architectural analyses to understand a set of transformations of data. that enough individuals survive and reproduce. unifying levels of analysis. Finally. by means of which activities are synchronized among multiple social agents. Using these complementary levels of information processing analysis. Information processing descriptions employ computational. By contrast. In addition. a control signal is a necessary causal factor in determining what processing occurs and when it occurs: Without control signals. what they accomplish and how they are fit together to accomplish what gets accomplished. in an information processing system. and their biological hardware substrate. a credible. processing is chaotic. a phenomenological analysis considers how functionality will typically be parsed into recognizable units of experience. ineffective and incompetent. An architectural analysis considers what information processing design (architecture) produces the functionality that accomplishes competence. Emotions are control signals. Control . A computational analysis considers the appraisals (evaluative computations) that occur to promote competence. structural.literature is fragmented into frequently competing levels of analysis—biological. whatever standard of competence an individual uses. central to the production of adequately competent behavior in changing circumstances. and also the units of behavior recognized by observers.
signals also operate internally. socially referenced or acculturated standards—for competence both of outcomes and of timeliness of outcomes. education and acculturation. The fact of onset of an emotion indicates circumstances’ deviation from standards. phenomenology of motivation. and that represents these parameters hedonically. Finally. most emotional computations can be inferred from behavior. external signaling function. 2. both for unattainable benefits and inevitable harms. internal control function. represented by where an emotion falls in the space of “basic types” of emotions. determining for the individual what processing occurs. 1. In seven stepsanalyses of computation. and their biological substrate is now being documented by affective neuroscience. An emotional expectancy process appraises the limits of practicability. Internal control function: Emotional appraisals are internal signals that organize processing and behavior toward production of a hedonically favorable state. in producing the individual’s behavior. based on experience. self-regulatory architecture. Emotional appraisal processes characterize circumstances’ urgency. actuarial fitness and phenomenology of meaningan argument is made for emotional control signaling in the governance of competently responding to circumstances. an emotional appraisal process characterizes harms and benefits. in real-time. and by proxy toward . In emotions’ negative and positive valence. Computation: Emotion is an appraisal process that computes. in the intensity and rate of onset of emotion. realized by circumstances and expected from response options. As Frankel (1999) argues in detail from the empirical literature. as also classify circumstances. on a spectrum from confidence to anxiety. when and in what order. parameters of circumstances critical to competence. With respect to any standards being applied by an individual—personal. an emotional appraisal process characterizes. emotional appraisal processes compute several useful parameters. the individual’s certainty that she or he can respond effectively to circumstances.
3. emotional processes partition access to memory. 1992). emotions both ready and drive an individual to action.. Self-regulatory architecture: Emotions are control signals within a self-regulatory processing architecture. harm-avoidant) outcome. arbitrating processing resources to favor circumstances’ most urgent contingency.e. The order of processing operations associated with emotional processes—(a) interrupt and prioritize. Self-regulation achieves a goal or standard despite stochastic variation of circumstances. As a signal of the limits of the practicable. accelerating the retrieval of a demand-appropriate palette of response options. eliminating options that would wastefully try to avoid inevitable negative emotions (harms) or to pursue unattainable positive emotions (benefits).competence. In response to circumstances. As a signal of urgency. and finally (c) settle—is a textbook example of adaptive (feedforward) control (Isermann. rank-ordering response options by the individual’s expectations for a hedonically favorable (i. As a classifying signal. emotional processes control salience. thereby modulating the compulsion to settle on selected responses. emotional expectancy processes bias the palette of response options. As a signal of confidence. As a signal of deviation from some given standards. a self-regulatory architecture that (a) experiences a disturbance. (b) retargets itself consistent with a global standard and then (c) settles on the new target. emotions are internal signals that facilitate an organized response to changing circumstances. local standards as circumstances change. As a signal of current and expected utility. Adaptive control thereby competently achieves a stable global standard by changing transient. emotional processes control allocation of processing resources to error-checking. Lachmann & Matko. (b) classify. emotional processes govern the decision making that selects responses. emotional processes interrupt current activities. making an internal bid to allocate processing resources to some changed contingency. bias options and select response. . As Frijda (1986) proposes and Frankel (1999) documents empirically in detail.
Since emotions supply the motive force to effect goals and intentions. 1999). people can cooperate to share both pains and joys. hedonically represented. harmavoidant standard: To avoid what is expected to produce negative emotions (harms). and is observed in others. in order to promote. people improvise a shared narrative that both governs and informs their relationships with each other. Emotional exchanges thereby govern the distributed processing in which multiple individuals coordinate a shared. harms and benefits over the pool of cooperating individuals. 1994).Within an adaptive control architecture. 5. in order to accomplish a global. Phenomenology of motivation: Emotions inform the individual of hedonic valuations and supply the motive force to realize favorable hedonic values. making emotion both an appraisal and a governance process (Frankel. hedonic motive force that drives accomplishment of an individual’s goals and intentions (Frankel & Ray. . Mumme. Kermoian & Campos. the avoidance of their worst emotions and the attainment of their preferred emotions. amortizing. and to attain what is expected to produce positive emotions (benefits). by proxy. improvised response to circumstances. and thus to regulate the behavior of others (Campos. External signaling function: Emotions signal and coordinate individuals’ intentions in an improvised. 4. as the discomfort-averse. In response to changing circumstances. People can also compete for status. at others’ expense. relational turning point by relational turning point. emotional appraisals are control signals used to govern self-regulation. Emotional event by emotional event. 2000). goals and intentions. shared narrative. response decision by response decision. worst emotions/harms first. the social function of outward emotional displays is to communicate heuristically an individual’s putative motives. the compelling force with which emotional control signals govern processing and behavior is experienced. emotionally governed adaptive control continuously selects and deploys local standards. In improvised narratives. As a causal factor in the control of processing.
Another aspect of bandwidth husbandry is minimizing error-checking done.e. that emotional valence supplies. which emotional confidence controls. cross-culturally universal features of behavioral morphology (e. i. individuals must efficiently access memory.g. for their own competence. when hedonic values are aligned with adaptive demands. To maintain a stable. a capability that depends on emotional interrupts. 1999). individuals require the regular appraisals of harm and benefit. which . Actuarial fitness: As an architecture. actuarially tenable position in an adaptive niche. individuals must allocate bandwidth to highest priority events. social status behavior is arguably characterized by an emotional variant of Game Theory.. which emotional classification supports. Moreover. Also for bandwidth husbandry. individuals’ patterns of response must be biased by stable expectancies for the practicable. because of the adaptive value of having stimuli decoupled from behavioral morphology (Scherer. The proposal for emotionally governed adaptive control is quite different from the many “just so” stories in evolutionary psychology that propose the genetic determination of putative. 2000)..competing. To perform effectively. realized and expected. by proxy. Buss. as individuals self-regulate to survive and propagate despite the stochastic variation of circumstances (Frankel. In the same way that individual decision making can be characterized by an emotionally based form of Prospect Theory (Zeelenberg. emotionally governed adaptive control is proposed to be a genetically determined morphology of processing. favored by natural selection exactly. which emotional urgency arbitrates. in part. adaptive control satisfies the actuarial selection pressures levied on individuals. 1999). To synchronize with circumstances. 6. 1994). emotionally governed adaptive control is favored by natural selection because. By contrast. To husband limited processing bandwidth. individuals must be able to change activities with changing events. harm avoidantly. emotional governance of self-regulation promotes adaptive competence.
urgency. adequate to their stochastically changing circumstances. experienced emotion imbues thought. hedonic valuation. individuals produce meaningful. to regulate future emotions. cognitive. Phenomenology of meaning. Some meanings and sense of meaningfulness are shared with others.emotional expectancies support. many meanings and much experience of meaningfulness are unique to the individual’s personal history and system of appraisal. within a systematic. this paper has attempted to place principles of emotions. emotions must adequately appraise harm. . self-regulatory use of current and expected emotions favorably to regulate future emotions also favorably regulates future competence by proxy. Using five complementary levels of information processing analysis. because emotion. ecological and social. category. it is credible that emotional governance is still favored by natural selection now. As with any form of appraisal. As Lazarus (1991) argues. 1990). physical. emotional or otherwise. established by Campos. both realized and expected—as must any form of appraisal. action and relationship with vital meaningfulness. harm avoidantly. information processing framework. By using realized and expected emotions favorably. Lazarus. competent—and adaptively competent—behavior. Adequate accuracy of emotions. however. emotional appraisals are proposed to operate as control signals that govern the focus of cognition and the production of behavior. motivation and successful adaptation are so tightly bound. as long as emotional appraisals of hedonic valuation are adequately accurate. In an adaptive control architecture. An emotionally governed adaptive control architecture. However. Frijda. 7. Not only is emotion an artifact of the evolutionary past (Tooby & Cosmides. as an effective means to improvise adaptively adequate responses. compulsion. practicability and uncertainty. Scherer and others. benefit. the effectiveness of emotions in promoting competence is predicated on accurate appraisal: To be effective with respect to any standard of competence.
Isermann. 93-106. In P.web. expected feedback and behavioral decision making. J. Monographs of the society for research in child development. R. Emotion. G.AISB00. Frankel. (2000).pdf Frankel.. New York: Prentice Hall. Available online at: http://www. M. Scherer. S. Biological psychology. J.Buss. The past explains the present: Emotional adaptations and the structure of ancestral environments. 12. Campos. (1999). Adaptive Control Systems. Mumme. B. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making. Emotion serves to decouple stimulus and response. D. R. . Such order from confusion sprung: Affect regulation and adaptive competence. R. J. Lazarus. 32. Palo Alto. (1999).pdf Frijda._H.Final.127_130). J. Anticipated regret. 375_424. D. Ethology_and_Sociobiology. B. J. The Nature of Emotions.com/cfrankel/FrankelRay. & Campos. L.paper. Doctoral dissertation. K. Kermoian. New York: Oxford U Press. AISB 2000. H. R.final_10. C. (1986). A. A functionalist perspective on the nature of emotion. (1991). & Matko. England: Cambridge U Press. (pp. intention and the architecture of adaptively competent information processing. In Proceedings. Available online at: http://www. Ekman and R. (2000). Birmingham.). Tooby. D. C. N.ome1. R. (1994). The dangerous passion. M. & Ray. Cambridge.ome1. The emotions. D. New York: Oxford U Press. 3-100. & Cosmides. and paralanguage. Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour. 59. (1992). social motive.. R. CA. New York: Free Press. (1994). Evolution and facial action in reflex. Davidson (Eds. Pacific Graduate School of Psychology. Fridlund. Lachmann.com/cfrankel/Dissertation. 284-303. L. 11. K.. Zeelenberg. England. Emotion and adaptation. (1991). (1990).
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