interacting bodies and interacting minds. the case of emotions

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Interacting Bodies and Interacting Minds. The case of Emotions. Isabella Poggi Dipartimento di Scienze dell’Educazione Università Roma Tre Lyon – 15-18 June 2005. Outline. 1. Emotion and communication 2. Communication and Expression of emotions - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Interacting Bodies and Interacting Minds.The case of Emotions

    Isabella Poggi Dipartimento di Scienze dellEducazione Universit Roma Lyon 15-18 June 2005

  • Outline1. Emotion and communication

    2. Communication and Expression of emotions

    3. Emotions from mind to mind

    4. Contagion and Empathy

    5. Induction of emotions, persuasion, and deception

    6. Conclusion

  • 1. Emotion and communication

  • Research on multimodal communication has overviewed the multifaceted possibilities of our body to convey information about the world, our beliefs, goals, emotions, identity.

    But body behaviour shows many different levels of intentionality and consciousness.

    This work proposes a set of criteria to distinguish communication from non communication, to define different ways in which information passes from mind to mind.

    It focuses on a particular domain: the communication of emotions

  • 2.Communication and Expression of Emotions

  • 2.1. Communication: A general definition

    A has the Goal G to cause B to believe belief KIn order to this goal, A produces a signal s that A believes is linked to belief K, in both As and Bs minds, in terms of a Communication Siystem CSCONSCIOUSA is angry at B and tells him: I am angry at you

    UNCONSCIOUSA does not want to show he is angry at B but inadvertently pulls a long face while staying with B

    TACITA emphasizes the comment of his discourse with a higher vocal intensity

    BIOLOGICAL FUNCTIONThe sticklebacks reddened abdomen;Human blushing

    SOCIAL FUNCTIONThe nurses dresspiercing

    ARTIFACT FUNCTIONThe gasoline red lightInternal Goals External Goals

  • 2.2Communication of emotions: a strict and a broad definitionSTRICT

    A feels an emotion E

    A has the goal G1 that B know A feels E

    A has the goal G2 that B know A has the goal G1 that B know A feels E

    In order to goals G1 and G2, A produces a communicative signal CS of emotion E

    Prof. A, while seeing Prof.B, tells her: Im glad to see you.


    A feels an emotion E A has the goal G1 that B know A feels E

    In order to goals G1, A produces a communicative signal CS of emotion E

    Prof. A, while seeing Prof. B, spontaneously smiles at her.

  • 2.3Expression of emotions

    EgocentricEmotional expression is only aimed at giving vent to the emotion itself, at relieving A from too high an arousal, but not to let another Agent believe that A is feeling that emotion

    A is alone, she is very angry and to give vent to her feeling smashes a glass on the floor

    CommunicativeEmotional expression is precisely aimed at having someone else believe that A is feeling an Emotion

    A is very angry at B, and to express her anger she smashes a glass on the floorA feels an emotion E and, driven by the physiological correlates of emotion E, produces a behavior (e.g. smokes avidly) or exhibits a morphological trait (gets pale), that is, an Expressive Signal ESAnother Agent B, from this perceivable ES, can come to believe that A is feeling Emotion E

  • 2.4Communicative expressionA type of communication

    On the Agents mind

    Agent not necessarily conscious of delivering the Emotional Signal

    Communicative goal:Biological function, unconscious or tacit goalNo meta-goal of communicating the goal of communicating

    Different from egocentric expression

    Not about the external world

    Not a sentence but, typically, a voice pitch, a smile, a grimace, a beat gesture, an interjection

    A blush, a tic, a beat gesture

  • 3Emotions from mind to mind

  • 3.Emotions from mind to mindAn emotion is a subjective state: a pleasant or unpleasant state that we feel within our body, and that, by definition, cannot be felt by any other person exactly in the same way we do feel it.So, an emotion can, and sometimes does, remain in our mind, but often it can pass through to other minds. We can feel an emotion and not communicate it: we can communicate, but not emotions. Finally, people may know about our emotions they may even feel them also if we do not perform any communicative act.

    Emotions can flow from one mind to another in many ways:

    Transmission Induction ExpressionCommunication Contagion EmpathyObstentatious expression, Faked expression Simulation Masking Concealment

  • 3.1The flowing of emotionsTransmission



  • 3.2Communication, Transmission, InductionAn emotion is communicated whenA produces an expressive signal ES in order to the goal that B believe A feels an emotion E

    An emotion is transmitted whenA feels an emotion Eand this causes that also B comes to feel emotion E

    ButTransmission necessarily requires that A (really) feels an emotionIn some cases, B comes to feel an emotion also if A does not

    An emotion is induced in B any time a belief about Agent A causes Agent B to feel an emotion E

  • The belief that induces an emotion in B may concern:an event that occurs to A

    a feature of A

    an action of A

    a communicative action

    an emotion of A

    A stumbles and falls down B is worrried

    A is beautiful B falls in love with her

    A suddenly comes after B B is scared; A does something funny B is amused

    A tell B che B won the contest B exults

    A tells B she is happy B is happy too3.3The induction of emotions

  • 3.4Induction as an effect,induction as a goal


    Communicative action



    A inadvertedly does something funny B is amused

    A tells B that C got married, while not knowing B loves C B becomes sad

    A has a sad face and he does not know that B is seeing him B becomes sadGOAL

    A hides Bs purse to make him angry

    A tells a joke to B, to make him amused

    A shows his anger to make B afraid

  • 3.5Bs and As emotionIdentical or Similar


    ComplementaryA communicates her joy to B to have B feel joy too.The teacher expresses her passion to a shooltopic, and the pupil start to feel interest in it

    A tells B that A likes B, in order to have B like A

    A tells B she is upset in order for B to feel pity of A;A tells B she feels proud to make B feel envious

  • 4Contagion and Empathy

  • 4.1Emotional contagion Emotional Contagion is the induction of a similar emotion in B caused by the expression of an emotion by A

    Contagion occurs whenThe production of an expressive signal ES by A causes B to feel an emotion that is similar or identical to As1.A feels E2.A produces a expressive signal SE of emotion E3.B perceives SE4.B produces SE5. B feels the same emotion as A or a similar one

  • 4.2Contagion as an effect or as a goalAn undeliberate effect

    A goalWhile waiting for the exam, A walks up and down nervously, and B becomes nervous too

    The political journalist expresses his indignation with passion to have readers indignated too

    A and B may be conscious or not of feeling the emotion and of producing the signal

    A is conscious of producing the signal, and may deceive: s/he may not really feel the emotion

  • 4.3EmpathyEmpathy is the induction in B of an emotion, due to Bs belief that A feels a similar or reciprocal emotion

    The belief that A feels an emotion E may come to B either from actual communication or expression or by inference (through reasoning or putting one in the others shoes)

  • 4.4Contagion vs. EmpathyNecessary vs. non-necessary emotion expression and emotion feeling

    Whose emotion, whose goal

    Contagion requires that A (whether sincerely or not) express an emotion Bs Empathy does not require - that A express his emotion- that A feels (or pretends to feel) an emotion If A is acold and B is warm, B might anyway empathise

    In contagion, As emotion is functional to As goals, while Bs emotion is functional to Bs goalsIn panic , As panic is aimed at saving A, Bs panic at saving BIn Empaty, Bs emotion is functional to As goals: If I am sad for my misfortune, when you empathize you are not sad for your but for my misfortune This is why Empathy may lead to Altruism

  • 5.The induction of Emotions,Persuasion,and Deception

  • 5.Emotion induction, persuasion, and deceptionWe often want to induce emotions in others because emotions have a strong motivating effect, that is, they induce to action.Social influence and persuasion often exploit emotion induction.When emotion induction is deliberately aimed at persuasion, and when it in its turn depends on our emotion display, we may need to display also emotions we dont feel, or not to let others know how much we want want to display our emotions.

    Moreover, to induce emotions more effectively, we must not show we want to induce emotions. Therefore, to induce an emotion in B while not letting B know about my emotion, sometimes A must pretend to feel emotions she does not feel or pretend she does not want to communicate her emotions

  • 5.1Deceptive emotion expressionObstentatious expression of an emotionA feels an emotion, wants B to know it, but does not want B to know A wants B to know this; so A pretends her expression to be spontaneous and not deliberate, but wants to be sure that B will perceive it

    Expression of a faked emotionA is not feeling an emotion, but pretends she is feeling it and expresses it through its typical expressive signalTo induce B to do something, A wants him to feel guilty: so A pretends she does not know B is seeing her, and she sile


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