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The Emotional Control of Behavior

  • Jack W. Brehm
  • Beverly H. Brummett
Part of the The Springer Series in Social Clinical Psychology book series (SSSC)

Abstract

While preparing a lecture for your class two weeks hence, you are distracted by a fly buzzing around your head and you look around for some way to get rid of the fly even though this interrupts your train of thought regarding the lecture. In contrast, if you are desperately trying to meet a deadline for a grant proposal that is due the next day, the fly is hardly noticed. However, if what is buzzing around your head is not a fly but rather a wasp, and you know from past experience that you are allergic to being stung, you interrupt your train of thought on the grant proposal in order to do something about the wasp. Your focus of attention is controlled by whatever is most important to you, and even if you are trying to deal with two or more possible events at the same time, your focus of attention at any moment tends to be on one or the other, not on both. Furthermore, even though the fly is nothing compared to the lecture, and even though the chance of being stung by the wasp is extremely slight, one’s focus of attention is greatly influenced by the momentary importance of events. But what is the process whereby important events influence behavior?

Keywords

Motivational State Goal Attainment Quadratic Effect Emotional Control Average Importance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jack W. Brehm
    • 1
  • Beverly H. Brummett
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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