It has long been clear that the way in which people interpret the world affects our emotional reactions. What has been less clear is exactly how such different interpretations lead to different emotions. This is the central question addressed by The Cognitive Structure of Emotions. Taking a cognitive science perspective, a systematic account is presented of the cognitive structures that underlie a wide range of different emotions. Detailed proposals about the factors that affect intensity are also offered. The authors propose three broad classes of emotions, each corresponding to a different attentional focus. One class consists of reactions to events, one of reactions to the actions of agents, and one of reactions to objects. By basing their analysis of the antecedents of emotions on an analysis of the perceived situational conditions that elicit them, the authors offer the prospect of accounting for variations in the emotions of different individuals, different cultures, and perhaps even different species.
1. Introduction; The study of emotion; Types of evidence for theories of emotion; Some goals for a cognitive theory of emotion; 2. Structure of the theory; The organisation of emotion types; Basic emotions; Some implications of the emotions-as-valenced-reactions claim; 3. The cognitive psychology of appraisal; The appraisal structure; Central intensity variables; 4. The intensity of emotions; Global variables; Local variables; Variable-values, variable-weights, and emotion thresholds; 5. Reactions to events: I. The well-being emotions; Loss emotions and fine-grained analyses; The fortunes-of-others emotions; Self-pity and related states; 6. Reactions to events: II. The prospect-based emotions; Shock and pleasant surprise; Some interrelationships between prospect-based emotions; Suspense, resignation, hopelessness, and other related states; 7. Reactions to agents; The attribution emotions; Gratitude, anger, and some other compound emotions; 8. Reactions to objects; The attraction emotions; Fine-grained analyses and emotion sequences; 9. The boundaries of the theory; Emotion words and cross-cultural issues; Emotion experiences and unconscious emotions; Coping and the function of emotions; Computational tractability.