The Handbook of Emotions is a stimulating and informative
resource. As a comprehensive and authoritative guide to the study of emotions,
it is in a league without peers.
Running to 720 pages, with 43 contributed chapters, this weighty tome
crams in a well-balanced selection of summaries covering some of the most
influential theories in emotion research. Introductory synopses are on offer
from the fields of philosophy, history, psychology, aesthetics,
neuroscience, anthropology, sociology, linguistics, developmental
psychology, psychophysiology, and more. Most of the contributions
come from eminent figures in each field, who deftly manage to combine
comprehensiveness with comprehensibility, introducing their specialist topics
to non-specialists before reporting on some of the latest findings. No other
book on emotion covers so much breadth with such authority.
This second edition, emerging initially in hardback in 2000, is an
extensive revision of the 1993 first edition. Each contribution has been
amended to reflect recent developments in their respective fields. There are
many new chapters by new authors, retitled updated chapters by retained authors,
and new authors for retained chapters with new titles. It's virtually a new
book in its own right.
Lewis & Haviland-Jones had to make some tough editorial choices this
time around, and they chose sagely. For example, papers from the illustrious
psychologists Paul MacLean and Robert Zajonc have been dropped to make way for
recent advances and hot topics. The new developments are authoritatively
documented by the chief pioneers or foremost researchers. For example, Salovey,
Mayer et al. are the best people to outline the nature of emotional
intelligence, a construct they invented in 1990; evolutionary psychology
is introduced by Cosmides & Tooby; Paul Rozin explains the character and
purpose of disgust; and psychoneuroimmunology is covered by Booth
The book begins with an introductory section of accessible synopses from
its major contributing disciplines - philosophy, history, linguistics,
sociology, theoretical psychology, clinical psychology, biology
and aesthetics. Together these confer a sense of interdisciplinary
harmony while providing a broad pedagogical base for the rest of the book.
It is notable that the first four papers gesture towards social
constructivism. The focus on the influence of culture and society suggests that
emotions are highly programmable and socially configured. This view contrasts
with the biologically-inspired papers that follow soon after. Yet the contrast
is enriching and rewarding; there is no dogmatic squabbling between paradigms.
Thankfully the contributors have—unusually for a work in this area—refrained
from banging a drum or attacking rival projects.
Significantly, the second edition reflects changing trends in the years
since the first edition. It includes new sections on Developmental Changes,
Cognitive Factors, and Health and Emotions.
There are few obvious omissions in this comprehensive and ambitious book.
From a healthcare perspective, the greatest surprise is the neglect of
therapeutic theories or practices. Psychoanalytic theory is not discussed in
much detail (though Freud is cited frequently in vague support of other
arguments), and no effort is made to relate the outlines of cognitive theories
to the therapeutic literature. There is hardly any mention of life skills or
strategies for improving emotional competencies, and as a result the book
conveys an uncomfortably fatalistic impression of emotional destiny.
One might have anticipated a more detailed account of the existentialist
theory, with its emphasis on personal choice in emotional reactions, but oddly
even Solomon declines to elaborate his own brand here. There is also no sign of
the burgeoning subdiscipline of affective computing, which models
emotion processing in expert systems and agent architectures, and designs
interfaces to co-operate with users' emotions. These developments and
applications of emotion theory might be more consonant than some of the
eclectic choices in the present collection.
Each chapter is self-contained, complete with its own framework for
understanding emotion, and can be read in isolation. Inevitably there are
glosses that may rankle specialists, but in the main the loss of detail is
tolerable for the sake of brevity. As the theorists each set out their stalls,
there is frequent reiteration of arguments about biological functions and
evolutionary pressures, the role of cognitive appraisals, and the research bias
towards extreme or negative emotions. But this book is not intended to be read
like a novel. Some degree of repetition is unavoidable.
The scientific nature of this collection gives it a strongly reductionist
theme which could have been balanced by the inclusion of more holistic views.
For example, contributors might have explored the contemporary concept of
emotional "closure" with reference to, for example, cycles of
experience in Gestalt psychology, or the notion of spiritual harmony in
Some of the technical reports of empirical studies seem a little out of
place in a handbook, much as they would in a textbook or encyclopedia. One
would expect them to be published in an empirical journal and summarized with a
The book is well indexed, with separate author and subject indices. An
individual bibliography is included at the end of each chapter. There has also been
a welcome improvement in typescript. The first edition used an antiquated font
that made the text appear decades out of date. The modern appearance of this
version is more in tune with its contemporary content.
The synopses on offer here are suitable for novices and specialists
alike. The Handbook of Emotions would be a worthwhile investment for any
psychologist. For professionals specializing in emotion it is equally useful as
an authoritative reference work, a foundation text for a graduate course, and a
source of inspiration for novel research projects.
I. Interdisciplinary Foundations
Philosophy of Emotions, Robert Solomon, (pp.3-15)
of Emotions: Issues of Change and Impact, Peter Stearns, (pp.16-29)
Emotional Meaning: Category, Metaphor, Schema, Discourse, Geoffrey White,
Models in the Explanation of Emotions, Theodore Kemper, (pp.45-58)
Psychologist's Point of View, Nico Frijda, (pp.59-74)
and Clinical Depression: An Environmental View, George Brown, (pp.75-90)
Psychology and the Emotions, Leda Cosmides and John Tooby, (pp.91-115)
Art, and the Humanities, Ed Tan, (pp.116-134)
II. Biological and Neurophysiological Approaches to Emotion
as Natural Kinds within the Mammalian Brain, Jaak Panksepp, (pp.137-156)
Networks in the Brain, Joseph LeDoux and Elizabeth Phelps, (pp.157-172)
Psychophysiology of Emotion, John T. Cacioppo, Gary G. Berntson, Jeff, T.
Larsen, Kirsten M. Poehlmann and Tiffany A. Ito, (pp.173-191)
and Behavior Genetics, Richard Rende, (pp.192-202)
Approaches to the Study of Infant Emotion, Nathan Fox and Susan Calkins,
Communication of Emotion, Tom Johnstone and Klaus Scherer, (pp.220-235)
Expression of Emotion, Dacher Keltner and Paul Ekman, (pp.236-249)
III. Developmental Changes
Organizational, and Regulatory Functions of Discrete Emotions, Carroll
Izard and Brian Ackerman, (pp.253-264)
Emergence of Human Emotions, Michael Lewis, (pp.265-280)
Understanding Emotion, Paul Harris, (pp.281-292)
and Identity, Jeannette Haviland-Jones and Patricia Kahlbaugh, (pp.293-305)
Social Context of Emotional Development, Carolyn Saarni, (pp.306-322)
IV. Social/Personality Issues
Emotional Well-Being, Ed Diener and Richard Lucas, (pp.325-337)
Emotion, and Expression, Leslie Brody and Judith Hall, (pp.338-349)
Effects of Mood on Social Judgment and Reasoning, Joseph Forgas and Patrick
Expression in Groups, Ursula Hess and Gilles Kirouac, (pp.368-381)
as an Emotion Construct: Theoretical and Practical Issues, John Bates,
Cultural Psychology of the Emotions: Ancient and New, Richard Shweder and
Jonathan Haidt, (pp.397-414)
V. Cognitive Factors
Affect and Decision Making, Alice Isen, (pp.417-435)
Goal Appraisal Theory of Emotional Understanding: Implications for Development
and Learning, Nancy Stein, Tom Trabasso and Maria Liwag, (pp.436-457)
and Social Construction in Emotion, Philip Johnson-Laird and Keith Oatley,
and Memory, W. Parrott and Matthew Spackman, (pp.476-490)
Concepts, James Russell and Ghyslaine Lemay, (pp.491-503)
Directions in Emotional Intelligence Research, Peter Salovey, Brian Bedell,
Jerusha Detweiler and John Mayer, (pp.504-520)
VI. Health and Emotions
and Physical Illness: Causes and Indicators of Vulnerability, Howard Leventhal
and Linda Patrick-Miller, (pp.523-537)
Seeing Is Feeling: A Cognitive-Emotional Approach to Coping with Health Stress,
Suzanne Miller and Robert Schnoll, (pp.538-557)
and Immunity, Roger Booth and James Pennebaker, (pp.558-570)
VII. Select Emotions
and Anxiety: Evolutionary, Cognitive, and Clinical Perspectives, Arne Öhman,
Development of Anger and Hostile Interactions, Elizabeth Lemerise and
Kenneth Dodge, (pp.594-606)
"Sadness"—Is There Such a Thing?, Carolyn Barr-Zisowitz,
Emotions: Embarrassment, Pride, Shame, and Guilt, Michael Lewis,
Paul Rozin, Jonathan Haidt and Clark McCauley, (pp.637-653)
and Attachment Processes, Elaine Hatfield and Richard Rapson, (pp.654-662)
James Averill and Thomas More, (pp.663-676)
and Sympathy, Nancy Eisenberg, (pp.677-691)
Whirlwind Tour of individual chapters
In the first chapter, The Philosophy of Emotion, Robert Solomon
traces a history of views on emotion from the ancient Greeks, via the Stoics
and the Enlightenment thinkers, to the cognitive and neuroscientific theories
of the modern era. His gentle introduction thankfully eschews his trademark cognitivist
rhetoric, providing a firm historical context for the contemporary theories
The second chapter swerves into an unconventional literature: history.
Peter Stearn emphasises how records of emotions have changed over time: perhaps
reflecting differences in their social significance, their role in personal
identity and even their subjective experience. It is often assumed that the
nature of emotions is timeless and only our ideas and theories change. But
without the sophisticated stimuli or complex social structures of today,
emotional life in preceding generations may have been vastly different. How
could our ancestors ever have imagined the spectacular dazzle of a cinematic
epic, or the complex media-obsessed trauma of modern teenage life? It is hard
to imagine. Yet modern audiences find emotional resonances in historical
literature, often based on the eternal themes of desire, loss, loyalty and
deception amongst others. So to what extent does the culture and the mood of
the times influence our emotions? It is a very interesting question. Stearns
reports on the early state of historical research and its connections to other
disciplines but he does not venture a conclusion.
Next up is Geoffrey White's comprehensive summary of theories in emotion
semantics and comparative linguistics. He touches on theories of
semantic structure—including categories, prototypes, metaphors, and
schemata—and examines the content of expressions in other cultures, such as the
Cheke Holo language from the Solomon Islands. The major researchers in
the area are all represented here. There is some overlap with the chapter on
emotions concepts by Russell & Lemay.
The sociologist Theodore Kemper examines the communicative function of
emotions, their relationship to status, the regulation of social order via
pride and shame, and the pressure to control and suppress in social situations.
In The Psychologist's Point of View, Nico Frijda (pronounced Freyda)
gives the most central account in the collection with a brief survey of
theories of emotion and related questions in psychology. He highlights the
widely acknowledged problem that a single universal research definition will be
forever elusive due to the multimodal aspects and multifunctional purposes of
emotions. In many respects his account echoes Solomon's earlier chapter,
revealing parallel and cross-pollinating trends in philosophy and psychology.
George Brown empirical reports some empirical findings on factors
influencing clinical depression, construed according to a standard
cognitive appraisal theory. The focus is firmly on etiology and risk factors
and there is no discussion of therapeutic interventions.
Next, Cosmides and Tooby set out their psychoevolutionary stall
with a comprehensive position paper on the functional modularity of emotions.
Very fine expositors they are too. This paper could serve as the main text for
a reading list on the psychoevolutionary view.
Rounding off the introductory section is a seemingly incongruent paper on
emotion and art, which examines the influence of emotions on the
creation and evaluation of artworks and how they are represented visually. This
is fascinating stuff but one wonders whether it tells us much but the nature of
and Neuropsychological Approaches to Emotion
Jaak Panksepp's superbly concise and cogent summary of his position in Affective
Neuroscience (1998) is a highly recommended overview of a book which many
readers find daunting in its scientific detail.
Joseph LeDoux's summary of his theory of fear conditioning is
similar to most of his papers on offer elsewhere, with slightly more detail on
the internal structure of the amygdala and the role of the hippocampus in
Five further papers in this section examine other biological variables such
as psychophysiological measurement, vocal inflection and facial
expression. Richard Rende has an intriguing perspective on behaviour
genetics, linking genetics with personality research.
The chapter by Izard and Ackerman is a concise summary of Izard's
multi-threaded functional analysis known as Differential Emotions Theory.
It is followed by papers discussing the emergence of emotional
capacities, the child's understanding of emotion and the role of
emotions in an individual's sense of personal and social identity. Each
contribution comes equipped with its own basic framework for understanding
The final paper comments on the social development of emotional norms and
patterns in various cultural groups, showing the influence of social context.
Diener & Lucas's chapter on Subjective Emotional Wellbeing
provides a welcome antidote to the typical academic focus on extreme, complex
or negative emotions. In general, people normally report a background of mild
and reasonably pleasant emotions on a day to day basis, but these are rarely
discussed; the authors aim to redress that imbalance.
A summary chapter on gender differences in emotion follows,
relating some useful findings but saying little by way of surprise or
controversy. Further empirical chapters examine the higher level constructs of mood
and temperament. The paper on social expression suggests that our
emotions are more open to influence than we normally assume.
Surprisingly, Parrott & Spackman's chapter on emotion and memory
omits mention of the so-called "flashbulb memory" effect that is the
mainstay of most other summaries on the same topic. The focus instead is on mood
congruent and mood incongruent recall. They finish with a critical
tirade against associative network theories of memory, and reductive or
mechanistic models of the mind in general.
In Emotion Concepts, Russell & Lemay separate theories of the
nature of emotion from theories of the concepts of emotion, arguing that most theorists
conflate the two. Anyone attempting to understand emotion via conceptual
analysis would do well to take account of the complexities noted in this
Salovey, Mayer and their colleagues present a succinct overview of work
on emotional intelligence. They coined the expression in 1990, but were
disenchanted with its portrayal in the popular media. Here they attempt to
seize the construct back and restore it to its original scientific status,
providing a conceptual framework for it and explaining the techniques used to
V. Emotions and
While this new section is undoubtedly welcome, it is unfortunately scant
and incomplete. It consists of only 3 chapters, which scarcely touch on the
most obvious topics: clinical depression, the emotional bases of psychosomatic
or somatoform disorders, or psychotherapy and palliative care.
Levental & Patrick-Miller examine the relationship of emotions to disease,
partly as causes and outcomes, but mostly as indicators of physiological
resources. It is an interesting and unusual slant on the information functions
Miller & Scholl have developed a psychometric scale to measure the
effect of two different types of coping response. Here they apply it to the
diagnosis of cancer and explain, by means of a general cognitive-emotional
model, how the pathology of the disease is influenced by the way that people
construe their illness.
Booth & Pennebaker's chapter on the immune system constitutes
a handy primer for psychoneuroimmunology. If you'd like to understand what
happens to your cytokine and cortisol levels when you get stressed and why it
matters, this is a good starting point. The principle of teleological
coherence (harmony of purpose) states that emotions and the immune system
share the same ultimate goal - protecting the self - so it is not surprising
they are functionally intertwined. The authors cite a range of studies
indicating that emotional disclosure confers health benefits. Talking or
writing about trauma is good for you, and here's the proof.
The distinctive emotion types examined here include fear and anxiety,
anger, sadness, and happiness, and a discussion of how empathy extends our
capacities to respond.
Arne Öhman is principally known for his work on unconscious processes.
His chapter on fear and anxiety turns upon the idea that elicitation of
emotion is not a conscious step. A simple parallel information processing
architecture automatically mobilises resources and orients attention towards
the perceived or imagined stimulus, priming the agent for strategic thinking.
This occurs, he argues, even in the case of seemingly cognitive emotions.
Lemerise & Dodge explore different aspects of the development of anger
in infants, examining how individual differences correlate with performance
In "Sadness-Is there such a thing?", Carol Barr-Zisowitz notes
there has been little attention to the phenomenon of sadness in comparison to,
for instance, fear or depression. Surveying evidence from other cultures, particularly
Lutz's work with Ifaluk islanders, she too becomes a skeptic, convinced that
distress is the basic biological reality and "sadness" is a category
of convenience. Her argument is interesting, if philosophically weak.
In psychological circles, the basic emotion of disgust is strongly
associated with Paul Rozin, and he and his colleagues have plenty to say about
it here, covering just about every possible angle from its expressive
components, to its biological specificity and function, to interpersonal and
moral disgust, to cultural differences and neural underpinnings.
Hatfield & Rapson lift the lid on one of life's eternal mysteries: passionate
love. The rewards and costs of romance are laid bare, revealing the
underlying evolutionary rationale for attachment phenomena that may strike us
as absurdly irrational. This account helps to explain why needy people so often
become trapped in destructive relationships.
Averrill & More's overview of Happiness focuses on the Aristotlean
concept of eudaimonia, examining its biological, social and
psychological mechanisms, and relating it to personality factors. This chapter
adds substance to an often abstract and vague topic, and could be a solid
foundation for debates in philosophical counselling.
Eisenberg's discussion of empathy and sympathy touches on the
origins of the empathetic impulse and its biological basis, in a mostly
inconclusive discussion of empirical results padded out with observations and
© 2004 Sam Brown
Sam Brown is currently completing a PhD
on the cognitive science of emotion. He has an MA in Philosophy and an MPhil in