Emotion Theory and Research: Highlights, Unanswered Questions, and Emerging Issues

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Abstract

Emotion feeling is a phase of neurobiological activity, the key component of emotions and emotion-cognition interactions. Emotion schemas, the most frequently occurring emotion experiences, are dynamic emotion-cognition interactions that may consist of momentary/situational responding or enduring traits of personality that emerge over developmental time. Emotions play a critical role in the evolution of consciousness and the operations of all mental processes. Types of emotion relate differentially to types or levels of consciousness. Unbridled imagination and the ability for sympathetic regulation of empathy may represent both potential gains and losses from the evolution and ontogeny of emotion processes and consciousness. Unresolved issues include psychology's neglect of levels of consciousness that are distinct from access or reflective consciousness and use of the term “unconscious mind” as a dumpster for all mental processes that are considered unreportable. The relation of memes and the mirror neuron system to empathy, sympathy, and cultural influences on the development of socioemotional skills are unresolved issues destined to attract future research.

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