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Differentiation in cognitive and emotional meanings: an evolutionary analysis
BARNARD, P.J., Duke, D.J., Byrne, R.W. & Davidson, I.
Cognition and Emotion, 21(6), 1155-1183
Year of publication:
It is often argued that human emotions, and the cognitions that accompany them, involve refinements of, and extensions to, more basic functionality shared with other species. Such refinements may rely on common or on distinct processes and representations. Multi-level theories of cognition and affect make distinctions between qualitatively different types of representations often dealing with bodily, affective and cognitive attributes of self-related meanings. This paper will adopt a particular multilevel perspective on mental architecture and show how a mechanism of subsystem differentiation could have allowed an evolutionarily "old" role for emotion in the control of action to have altered into one more closely coupled to meaning systems. We conclude by outlining some illustrative consequences of our analysis that might usefully be addressed in research in comparative psychology, cognitive archaeology, and in laboratory research on memory for emotional material.