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ERIC Number: ED242998
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Concept of Self in Emotion Theory.
Shields, Stephanie A.
Despite disagreement on other fundamental issues, most contemporary theories of emotion suggest that one consequence of emotional experience is some profound, if temporary, change in the way in which the self is experienced in the emotion-evoking situation. Both clinical and laboratory data have demonstrated the power of self-focused attention to determine the quality of experience. Self-focused attention, in turn, reflects the operation of a hypothesized cognitive structure (the self-schema) which directs the processing of information relevant to the self. The self-schema appears to play a powerful role in directing attention, retrieval, and other aspects of information processing. When the self-schema is activated, experience becomes intensified; when attention is directed away from the self, there is a corresponding attenuation in intensity of experience. If the operation of the self-schema is more closely examined, it should be possible to determine that in those situations in which self-focused attention occurs, experience has an emotional character. Emotional experience needs to be redefined in terms of self-awareness because the relationship between emotion as it is immediately experienced (felt emotion) and other emotional processes has not been spelled out adequately in either the theoretical or research literature. There is evidence implicating self-awareness as a crucial variable in determining felt emotion. There is insufficient evidence that any other construct can be as broadly or productively applied to a description of felt emotion. (JAC)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Emotion Theory; Self Awareness
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (91st, Anaheim, CA, August 26-30, 1983).