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Affective Processing Guides Behavior and Emotions Communicate Feelings: Towards a Guideline for the NeuroIS Community

Part of the Lecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation book series (LNISO,volume 25)

Abstract

Like most researchers from other disciplines the NeuroIS community too faces the problem of interchangeable terminology regarding emotion-related aspects of their work. This article aims at solving this issue by clearly distinguishing between emotion, feeling and affective processing and by offering clear definitions. Numerous prior attempts to agree on only an emotion definition alone have failed, even in the emotion research community itself. A further still widely neglected problem is that language as a cognitive cortical function has no access to subcortical affective processing, which forms the basis for both feelings and emotions. Thus, any survey question about anything emotional cannot be answered properly. This is why it is particularly important to complement self-report data with objective measures whenever emotion-related processes are of interest. While highlighting that cognitive processing (e.g. language) is separate from affective processing, the present paper proposes a brain function model as a basis to understand that subcortical affective processing (i.e. neural activity) guides human behavior, while feelings are consciously felt bodily responses that can arise from suprathreshold affective processing and that are communicated to others via emotions (behavioral output). To provide an exemplary consequence, according to this model fear is not an emotion, but a feeling. The respective emotion is a scared face plus other behavioral responses that show an observer that one feels fear as a result of affective processing. A growing body of literature within and outside the NeuroIS community began to reveal that cognitive, explicit responses (self-report) to emotion stimuli often deviate from implicit affective neural activity that can only be accessed via objective technology. This paper has the potential to facilitate future NeuroIS research as well as to provide an innovative understanding of emotion for the entire science community.

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • Feeling
  • Affective processing
  • Conscious
  • Non-conscious
  • Behavior
  • Emotion model
  • Subjective
  • Objective
  • Implicit versus explicit

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Walla, P. (2018). Affective Processing Guides Behavior and Emotions Communicate Feelings: Towards a Guideline for the NeuroIS Community. In: Davis, F., Riedl, R., vom Brocke, J., Léger, PM., Randolph, A. (eds) Information Systems and Neuroscience. Lecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation, vol 25. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-67431-5_16

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