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On the irrationality of emotion and the rationality of awareness
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 13:24 authored by John A. Lambie
It is argued that one answer to the question of the rationality of emotion hinges on the different roles in action selection played by emotions when one is aware of them versus when one is not aware of them (awareness being indexed by the ability to report one’s emotion). When unaware of one’s emotions, they are: (a) not able to enter into one’s deliberations about what to do, and (b) more likely to be automatically acted out. This is a problem for rationality because (partly due to the logic of signal detection theory) emotional action urges are often “false positives”. In contrast, awareness of emotions crucially allows emotional responses to be inhibited: such inhibition is necessary for truly rational action selection. Furthermore, awareness enables Reflective Revision—the modification of one’s theories and action plans as a result of awareness of inconsistencies between theories and data, and action plans and goals.
Publication titleConsciousness and Cognition