Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Author Item Summary Meta data
Corr I 428
Affect/control processes/feedback/Carver/Scheier: Affect pertains to one’s desires and whether they are being met (Clore 1994(1); Frijda 1988(2); Ortony, Clore and Collins 1988(3)). But what is the internal mechanism by which feelings arise? Answers range from neurobiological (e.g., Davidson 1992(4)) to cognitive (Ortony, Clore and Collins 1988(3)).
We (Carver and Scheier 1990(4), 1998(5)) (…) used feedback control (…) but now we suggest that feelings arise as a consequence of another feedback process that operates simultaneously with the behaviour-guiding process and in parallel to it. >Control processes/Carver/Scheier, >Feedback/Carver/Scheier.
Corr I 429
It operates automatically and without supervision. The easiest characterization of what this second process is doing is that it is checking on how well the first process is doing. The input for this second loop, thus, is the rate of progress in the action system over time.
As in other feedback loops, the comparison checks for deviation from the standard. If there is a discrepancy, the output function changes. We believe the error signal in this loop is manifest as affect, a positive or negative valence. A rate of progress below the criterion creates negative affect. >Criteria/Carver/Scheier.
Corr I 430
As have Higgins (e.g., 1987(6), 1996(7)) and his collaborators, we argue for two dimensions of affect, one concerning approach, the other concerning avoidance (Carver 2001(8); Carver and Scheier 1998(5)). Approach yields such positive affects as elation, eagerness and excitement, and such negative affects as frustration, anger and sadness (Carver 2004)(9). Avoidance yields such positive affects as relief, serenity and contentment and such negative affects as fear, guilt and anxiety.
This description implies a natural connection between affect and action; that is, if the input of the affect loop is a rate of progress in action, the output function of the affect loop must be a change in rate of that action. Thus, the affect loop has a direct influence on what occurs in the action loop.


1. Clore, G. C. 1994. Why emotions are felt, in P. Ekman and R. J. Davidson (eds.),The nature of emotion: fundamental questions, pp. 103–111. New York: Oxford University Press
2 Frijda, N. H. 1994. Emotions are functional, most of the time, in P. Ekman and R. J. Davidson (eds.), The nature of emotion: fundamental questions, pp. 112–26. New York: Oxford University Press
3. Ortony, A., Clore, G. L. and Collins, A. 1988. The cognitive structure of emotions. New York: Cambridge University Press
4. Carver, C. S. and Scheier, M. F. 1990. Origins and functions of positive and negative affect: a control-process view, Psychological Review97: 19–35
5. Carver, C. S. and Scheier, M. F. 1998. On the self-regulation of behaviour. New York: Cambridge University Press
6. Higgins, E. T. 1987. Self-discrepancy: a theory relating self and affect, Psychological Review94: 319–401
7. Higgins, E. T. 1996. Ideals, oughts, and regulatory focus: affect and motivation from distinct pains and pleasures, in P. M. Gollwitzer and J. A. Bargh (eds.), The psychology of action: linking cognition and motivation to behaviour, pp. 91–114. New York: Guilford Press
8. Carver, C. S. 2001. Affect and the functional bases of behaviour: on the dimensional structure of affective experience, Personality and Social Psychology Review 5:345–56
9. Carver, C. S. 2004. Negative affects deriving from the behavioural approach system, Emotion 4: 3–22


Charles S. Carver and Michael F. Scheier, “Self-regulation and controlling personality functioning” in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Scheier, Michael F.
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-08-22
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