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What is Expression of Emotions

Handbook of Research on Synthetic Emotions and Sociable Robotics: New Applications in Affective Computing and Artificial Intelligence
Expression seems tightly related to the operation of emotions and has always occupied a large part of the researches conducted about them. Control and suppression of expression is indeed related to the inhibition of the feeling itself, as if it were an integral part of the emotional process. In the theory, this phenomenon is explained by the fact that expression is the very mean by which emotions play their part in commitments management. This rests on the principle that commitments are located in the partners’ brains, and can only be modified through interactions and acts of communication between them.
Published in Chapter:
Unfolding Commitments Management: A Systemic View of Emotions
Michel Aubé (Université de Sherbrooke, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-354-8.ch012
Abstract
The Commitment Theory of Emotions is issued from a careful scrutiny of emotional behavior in humans and animals, as reported in the literature on Evolutionary Biology, Neurosciences and the Psychology of emotions. Emotions are viewed as a special layer of processes, wired upon needs and instincts, and dealing mainly with nurturance, social bonding and cooperative behavior, especially between kin and relatives. As every other motivational system, they operate so as to manage resources critical for survival and reproduction. The peculiar resources emotions do manage are commitments, understood as the predispositions of a given individual to help others and collaborate with them in a reciprocal manner. This view clarifies considerably the interactions emotions entertain with a variety of modules involved in their operation, from the detection of antecedents in perceptual or memory systems, to the elicitation of the appropriate emotion, to the execution of the corresponding script, to the expression of emotions as the typical outcome of emotional episodes. The flow of processing is continuously modulated by affective states of the organisms and by other motivational systems. The chapter expounds the operation of each module as well as their interactions with each other. It concludes that successful implementation of emotions in artificial systems will have to rest upon the specifications of complex and realistic models of the kind presented.
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