Re: Emotive Education

Anders Sandberg (
Sat, 15 Mar 1997 13:05:48 +0100 (MET)

On Thu, 13 Mar 1997, Kathryn Aegis wrote:

> Gregory Houston:
> >3. "REBT is based on the assumption that what we label our "emotional"
> >reactions are largely caused by our conscious and unconscious
> >evaluations, interpretations, and philosophies."
> Is this definition in keeping with the new neurobiological
> discoveries of hard-wired emotional systems (recently discussed on
> this list)? I'm all for learning to control these systems more
> effectively, but I sense an underlying assumption here that they
> don't even exist.

I think the situation is not entirely clear-cut. We certainly have
hardwired emotional systems, and some of them are very simple (note that
we may have preconditioned fear responses to certain animals or things;
most fobias are directed against insects or snakes, not cars or mousepads).

Essentially emotions seems to be based on level of arousal (purely
physiological), and a quality which determines what kind of emotion it is
(hate and love might be high-arousal emotions, but differ in quality).
Most likely the basic qualities are hard-wired (I don't know if there are
any humans with unique emotions, there are no evidence for them). This
quality can in turn be interpreted by the rest of the mind in a variety of
ways, creating a bewildering array of emotions: they can be mixed into
ambivalent states, they can be reappraised, various mental tricks are
regularly used by us to turn one emotion into another and emotions are
analysed cognitively. It is at this level where individual variation and
personality becomes truly important, and I think it can be reprogrammed
quite a bit.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y