What are emotional mechanisms?

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Salice, Alessandro
Salmela, Mikko
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Bristol University Press
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The article offers an account of emotional mechanisms (EMs). EMs are claimed to be personal, often unconscious, distinctively patterned, mental processes whereby an emotion of a given kind is transmuted into an emotion of a different kind. After preliminary considerations about emotions as felt evaluations, the article identifies three families of emotional mechanisms. These processes are set in motion when a given emotion (for example, envy, shame or anger) generates feelings of inferiority and/or impotence in the subject resulting in a negative sense of self. These feelings prompt an evaluative reappraisal of the emotionâ s intentional target. Based on the reappraisal, the subject comes to feel a different kind of emotion, which does not generate feelings of inferiority and/or impotence. Importantly, the second emotion entails a psychological disposition to be collectivised: the subject seeks confirmation of the revised evaluation by sharing the emotion with others. It is argued that these features set EMs apart from other emotion regulatory processes.
Affective intentionality , Emotion regulation , Emotional mechanism , Feelings of inferiority and impotence , Motions , Ressentiment
Salice, A. and Salmela, M. (2022) 'What are emotional mechanisms?', Emotions and Society, 4(1), pp. 49-68. doi: 10.1332/263169021X16369909628542
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© 2022, the Authors. Published by Bristol University Press. This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in Emotions and Society. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1332/263169021X16369909628542