Therefore, when used with care, it is your best weapon for emergencies. Anger can serve to cloak some other emotions of yours if they are less appropriate. It does not mean you are feeling either scared or aggressive towards a threat; rather often, it means you are both afraid and aggressive. Anger is an extremely powerful emotion—as compared before, alike to a thunderstorm—and it is not recommended, if not dangerous, to suppress or ignore it. If a person suppresses his or her anger, it can still manifest itself in a number of dysfunctional behaviors, such as substance abuse, vandalism, and so on.
Anger signalizes that your inner boundaries are being violated, and stimulates you to act accordingly; it can help you temporarily deal with other emotions that are less effective or appropriate in a certain situation; and anyways, if you do not express it, sooner or later it will manifest itself in a form of rage, dysfunctional behaviors, or in other harmful ways. So, do not ignore your anger: face it, accept it, and learn how to deal with it.
Remember Me. What is your profession? Student Teacher Writer Other. Username or Email. Academic Assignments Writing an Essay. Writing a Research Paper. Writing a Review.
Writing Guides for Students Writing a Memoir 2. This view has been integrated by the psychodynamic theory of motivational systems that attribute a double role to anger: on the one hand, this affect works as an inwardly directed signal concerning a pressure to overcome an obstacle or an aversive situation; on the other hand, anger is also an outwardly directed communicative signal establishing differentiation and conflict within interpersonal relationships and affective bonds.
Of course, human peculiar mental functioning requires the appraisal of such signals by higher cortical functions and, there is little doubt that the meaning that orientates individual behaviors is, eventually, construed on a social and cultural level. At the same time, everyday life experiences as well as clinical insights into psychopathic, narcissistic and borderline personality pathology clearly illustrate the necessity to correctly interpret and give answers to the basic questions raised around the topic of anger as a basic emotion.
As widely discussed by the Editors of this volume, the basic emotions theory BET has undergone a series of important criticisms that question their prominent role in human affective experience. In this paper, it will be argued that the new framework of motivational systems allows to acknowledge some aspects of the criticisms to BET, while bolstering its role in the understanding of personality building and psychological functioning.
The general arguments in support of BET as a core aspect of motivational processes will be further illustrated through the presentation of some clinical phenomena in which the alterations of the mental processing of anger as a basic emotional signal play a pivotal role. As a beginning, the criticisms of the notion of BET could be summarized into the four following points.
The description of everyday human mental life shows that the variety of affective experience can hardly be reduced to the activation of the single units of analysis described by BET. Emotional experiences seem more nuanced, fluid, cognitively sophisticated and not so discontinuously compartmentalized as BET seems to presuppose Stern, BET falls short in explaining the role of experiences of learning and sociocultural influences on shaping the modes of expression, variety of meanings and possible functions of affective experiences.
The contents of such emotions are more easily understood as a product of cultural conceptions concerning the notions of identity, guilt, property, sexual and sentimental interactions. Research as well as anecdotic evidence highlighted the diverse intensity and diffusion of such emotions between different social contexts, thus confirming the influence played by culture in generating such mental experiences Rosado, While BET is founded upon the phylogenetic roots of basic emotions namely, cross-species analogies of the emotional manifestations , some authors have recently questioned the fact that the cross-species schemes of activation commonly referred to as basic emotions can be labeled as emotions at all.
For instance, LeDoux argues that these primary systems of response do not enter the domain of emotional experience until they are secondarily represented by higher cognitive systems. In this sense, the specific content of emotional experience cannot be directly regarded as the simple product of the activation of the basic schemes of response.
Furthermore, the real survival meaning of basic emotions is highly reduced in an environment in which external threats are decreased and adaptation is more and more dependent upon group interactions and highly sophisticated cognitive operations. Human emotional experience is pervasive and not limited to moments of external changes, but most often it originates from inner contents such as fantasies, imagination, memories.
Contrary to what required by BET, developmental as well as psychophysiological research data do not support the view of the existence of neatly distinguishable categorical expressions and manifestations of emotions. Some emotions such as fear are undoubtedly evident from the first year of life, but this is not the case for other emotional categories, such as, for instance, shame, or anger Sroufe, ; Ekman, Individual differences in the expression of emotions show how some people hardly exhibit the entire gamut of categorical emotions considered by BET.
For instance, children exhibiting very cautious and coy attitude do not engage in episodes of rage at their peers or parents Natsuaki et al. Moreover, some of the basic emotions more easily detectable in the early phases of development cannot be observed in later stages of life.
Research data often failed to evidence the existence of specific patterns of psychophysiological modifications supposedly underlying BET Scarpa and Raine, ; Scarpa et al. In this paper, it will be argued that, although correct, some of the criticisms aimed at BET can be overcome by reframing the evolutionary meaning of BET within the broader notion of motivational systems. In particular, the convergence of developmental, psychodynamic and neuroscientific view of emotion and motivation affords a new perspective in which not only the notion of basic emotions results scientifically viable, but it also shows its central function for the understanding of human emotional life.
In their original interpretation, etholigists understood the maintenance of some basic schemes of automatic response named emotions as a way to increase survival by facilitating the communication between co-specifics Ekman, For instance, the display of teeth originally precedes an attack, but its ritualized version contained in smile, in fact, indicates the freezing of an aggressive intent and, therefore, the manifestation of a friendly overture Lorenz, In a following theoretical interpretation of the survival functions of basic emotions, the stress was placed on their preparatory role within instinctive schemes of response highly necessary for quick adjustment to an unpredictable and quickly modifying environment.
The activation of the behavioral and psychophysiological modifications observed during emotional experiences was considered as a part of an automatic response selectively elicited by specific environmental cues prompting and preparing the whole organism to the most suitable adaptive behavior. The need to promptly react to threats to survival or sudden environmental changes was, of course, not limited to inferior species, but it was considered a fundamental adaptive prerequisite also for superior mammalians, of which brains would be capable of much subtler analyses of the stimuli.
This justifies the persistence of such rough level of response in our species and its complex interactions with the most recently evolved and more sophisticated information processing modes of our brain. Such view of emotions as parts of wider schemes of automatic, unconscious, and fast adaptive systems of response is now spread to the whole psychological field as well as to current neuroscientific literature Gazzaniga, Despite this progressive modification of BET, many authors would consider the key critical points presented in the introduction still true for these new evolutionary views of human emotional life.
A general reconsideration of the meaning of basic emotions has been recently proposed within a motivational perspective drawing on contributions from the study of animal instinctive behavior and the psychodynamic perspective. The contributions coming from modern ethology was used to review the psychodynamic view of human development and placed basic emotions at the core of motivated behavior.
Modern ethology relied on cybernetics to reinterpret instincts in terms of goal corrected behavioral plans that flexibly unlike the fixed behavioral sequence previously meant to characterize instincts employ inborn or acquired motor patterns in order to achieve an expected outcome enhancing individual fitness Hinde, In its original formulation the notion of behavioral system helped reshaping the theory of human motivation, coherently with the Darwinian perspective on the inborn tendencies ruling intentional behaviors Rosenblatt and Thickstun, Bowlby fully drew on this new ethological framework to propose the existence of an innate goal for human infants as well as other primates to establish and maintain optimal proximity to the caregiver, which is, the attachment behavioral system Bowlby, A more recent proposal deriving from ethological and developmental literature was introduced within the psychodynamic perspective by Lichtenberg Lichtenberg proposed to modify the construct of behavioral systems into the notion of motivational systems.
Any motivational system, just like any behavioral system, is goal directed evidently any goal of each motivational system is fixed by evolution yielding some important gain for individual and species survival. More specifically, however, motivational systems are not meant to mechanically work as a plan of behavior unfolding through a constant perceptive feedback that matches the actual behavior with the set goal. Any motivational system is regulated by a single affect, the associated representations, memories and plans of behavior.
Lichtenberg argued that each motivational system originally possessed a specific affective signal that is able to orientate the human behaviors toward the set goal easily observable from the first months of life. It should be observed that in its original proposal Lichtenberg did non-explicitly referred to the basic emotions traditionally studied by the BET.
However, he included some of the classic basic emotions, such as fear and anger, among the ones regulating his five motivational systems.
An Essay on Anger | Scoop News
The specific affect is responsible for a the activation of the motivational system, b the retrieval of the relevant representations guiding the behavioral plan, c signaling the eventual achievement or failure of the expected outcome. Interestingly, the avoidance or maintenance of each specific affective state becomes the inherent goal of the motivational system. In order to achieve the affective goal of the motivational system, the set of stored representations concerning past experiences related to any specific affective state is activated, and current behavior is planned consistently with those representations.
In the course of development, interpersonal experiences, cognitive development and cultural meanings can intervene to modify the early interactive representations pertaining each motivational systems, but their affective core remains unchanged Lichtenberg et al. In this perspective, basic emotions are what, in fact, connect evolutionary set goals to individual motives leading behaviors and creating personal meanings in everyday lives. In this complex architecture of motivated behavior, basic emotions can easily account for the variety and plasticity of performances through which humans achieve their basic evolutionary goals.
Furthermore, the leading role of affects renders motivational processes open to learning, cognitive refinement and cultural contributions to individual biological adaptation. Notwithstanding some important theoretical differences, neuroscientific approaches are basically resonant with psychodynamic notion of motivational systems and provide further implications for the role of basic emotions in human behaviors. In the first place, current neuroscientific approaches evidenced that decision-making and motivated behaviors are supported by activation of neuroanatomical structures that are devoted to the detection of specific signals relevant for individual survival MacLean, ; Panksepp, Such sub-cortical structures are responsible for fast responses that have maintained an important adaptive role, despite the emergence in the evolutionary history of more refined ways of stimulus analysis and behavioral adaptation.
In particular, each neuroanatomical structure is held responsible for responses to conditions that involve organismic homeostatic needs and reproductive functions. Furthermore, in the course of evolution these systems of fast adjustment gradually included social behaviors that have a direct impact on survival through group interactions e.
A second important contribution from neuroscientific research evidenced that the neuroanatomical sites of basic emotions virtually coincide with the ones of the more ancient schemes of behavioral adaptation Panksepp, This evidence led many researchers to incorporate basic emotions into the so-called survival systems, basic behavioral response systems that guarantee the preservation of individual integrity in the face of sudden changes in the internal and external milieu of adaptation LeDoux, This view substantially equals the classic theory of basic emotions as systems prompting fast adaptive behavioral reactions.
How can I control my anger?
However, a more complex analysis of the survival systems of which basic emotions are now part, allows researchers to provide a more nuanced picture of the motivational processes underlying human behaviors. Indeed, a third important contribution coming from recent neuroscience of motivation sees basic emotions not only as a part of the innate quick responses to threat to survival. The evolution of more recent cortical brain structures created the opportunity to overcome and, possibly, improve the strategies of behavioral adaptation of the more ancient survival systems.
This improvement was pursued by evolution via the amelioration of the specificity of perceptive analysis of stimuli including symbolic and linguistic categorization , the comparison of present conditions with previous experiences new memory systems , the higher specialization and refinement of behavioral responses and, what is particularly true for human beings, the role of learning and cultural transmission LeDoux, Differently from what it may appears, however, the role of more basic systems of response is neither discarded nor diminished by this achieved complexity Panksepp and Biven, Although the presence of basic affective responses may be only a part of our subjective experience, the basic emotions linked to the survival systems are the raw material which the more sophisticated analyses carried out by superior centers of the brain are founded upon.
This motivational view goes actually beyond the traditional communicative and behavioral interpretation of basic emotions, stressing the evaluation and informational role basic emotions play in complex decision making processes. Of course, the interpretation of such signals is not carried out automatically and does not lead to a simple and self-evident translation of what is going on within our bodies. As both psychodynamic theory and neuroscientific approaches evidenced, the basic emotional responses are dynamically interwoven, fluidly change and, to some extent, may be employed by different motivational systems.
Furthermore, the interpretation of the bodily cues that we rely on to interpret the outside world much depends on the nature and modes of storing of previous experiences and, through development, is gradually influenced by interpersonal and cultural processes. In this sense, the old version of BET is correctly criticized for its reductionist approach to human affective experience seems totally shareable. However, it should be remembered that there would not be a conscious experience of oneself without the interpretation of the basic affective traces.
More importantly, the way evolution has allowed us to establish and maintain a strong connection between our mental functioning and our basic organismic and social needs is through the processing and elaboration of basic emotions. Similarly, it may be argued that even if the motor and autonomic components of basic emotions often represent the recognizable final pathway of expression our affective experience, our adaptation does not depend as much on these basic emotional responses as on more complex and more rational behavioral strategies, social interactions and cultural cooperation.
Anyway, it should be considered that our perception of the world as well as our behaviors would be meaningless without a constant and adequate work of interpretation of our basic emotional experience. Psychodynamic thinking has recently paid much attention to the bridge to be built between the instant raw metaphors created by the fragmented emobodied representations of the interpersonal world, and the imaginative interpretation, mediated by the symbolic processes, that confer a new and transformative meaning to such experiences Modell, This new perspective allowed to reframe the problem of abnormal personality development in terms of failures and collapses of the representational systems designated to elaborate emotional and motivational signals Fonagy et al.
The analysis of some clinical phenomena related to the activation of the experience of anger and failures in its interpretation will hopefully shed some more light as to the relevance of this new model of BET. Anger has always been included in the repertoire of basic emotions, mainly given its distinct and universally recognizable pattern of facial expression Ekman, Research has nonetheless evidenced some critical points that question the universal biological meaning of the emotion of anger and, therefore, the general relevance of BET in explaining the affective states possibly connected to this emotional state.
First of all, the data indicating a specific psychophysiological profile of activation for anger seem still controversial. Psychophysiological parameters of anger are common to other emotional conditions, such as, for instance, a general condition of stress or fear or predatory behaviors Scarpa et al. Researchers have found it difficult to find a specific place within the general categorization of positive and negative emotions Watson et al.