Psychother. Solomon, R. (1980). The first is that, though the correct second-order construal of the emotion is repressed, another, incorrect, construal can be constructed that offers an explanation of sorts for the given experiences. She need not, in other words, be reflectively conscious of her emotion. On this account, consciousness is essential to emotion. It is, rather, what Roberts calls a feeling of construed condition, that is, of taking oneself “to be in a certain condition” or “to have a certain property” (p. 185). Thus, to be angry with a person is to see that person in terms of “a demeaning offence against me or mine” – that is, according to my definition, to experience or respond to the person in a particular way, where that way is appropriately described in terms of the given evaluation. Hence emotion can be unconscious when taken in the broader sense, though is necessarily conscious when taken in the narrower sense. In this model they postulate three levels of “belief,” corresponding to an unconscious self-schema (the lowest level), automatic conscious thoughts (the middle level), and high-level prior beliefs (the highest level). Prosser, A., Friston, K. J., Bakker, N., and Parr, T. (2018). This nicely illustrates the pathological effects that the attenuation of precision can have on an agent. Such physiological changes may include changes in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, metabolism, release of hormones, and so on. 13 XVII, ed. doi: 10.1080/1047840x.2017.1255492. doi: 10.1080/15294145.2018.1544851, Michael, M. T. (2019a). Front. Home Yes, they are. This entire organismic response is, I believe, what constitutes the construal that defines emotion, since the response as a whole (and not just some part of it) can be taken as the construed aspect8. and the emotion regulation difficulties characteristic of alexithymia have been hypothesized to play a mediating role in these (ibid.). Freud, S. (1933/1957). The other part of what constitutes an emotion, on Roberts’ account, is concern. Let me pause here to explore how these ideas might translate into terms more familiar to neuroscientists. The theory is Bayesian because the processes by which predictions are generated correspond to those of Bayesian inference, in which the probability of a hypothesis is updated in light of evidence according to a formula involving the probability of the hypothesis prior to the given evidence – the “prior” – and the probability of the evidence given this hypothesis. On my interpretation of construal, this is the same as claiming that one construes the snake as dangerous, where this construal is in virtue of a perception of bodily changes4. I agree, but nevertheless it will be helpful to adopt at least a working definition. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-8315.2010.00306.x, Hopkins, J. Copyright © 2020 Michael. As Lane et al. A good way of understanding this is via Richard Lazarus’s influential appraisal theory of emotion. The experience that constitutes the emotion, itself an integration of various experiences of bodily change (and possibly of non-bodily changes), is construed as an instance of a particular kind of experience or response. – that is, just the kind of pattern we might expect in relation to a second-order construal that integrates the self with representations of one’s emotional state. Neuropsychoanalysis 20, 87–98. It is beyond the scope of the present paper to give anything other than a cursory review, but I will mention a couple of relevant developments within the recent history of the philosophy of emotions. Do unconscious emotions involve unconscious feelings? How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain. The nature of an emotion cannot simply be read off the affective feelings it generates – indeed there may be no accurate mapping from quality of affective feeling to emotion (Barrett, 2017, p. 112). The feelings are, in the main, ones of valenced (i.e., pleasant or unpleasant) arousal (Barrett, 2017, p. 72), though the combination of effects generated by the stimulus may have numerous distinctive features7. It, moreover, complements my Freudian version of the Bayesian account of hysteria, for it is precisely due to the repression of the consciousness of an emotion that hysterics are left with the unexplained affect – hence prediction error – that leads to the formation of symptoms. Freud, S. (1919/1957). In order to motivate this I turn to Connolly’s (2018) suggestion about how we can understand Freud’s “signal” theory of the triggering of repression from a free-energy perspective. For, it may be argued, the agent would surely need to interpret those experiences in some way. Scientists and philosophers, however, soon observed that there were a number of problems faced by such theories. In this paper, I will focus on a particular construal account that has been influential in the philosophical literature on emotion and provides a relatively simple yet plausible account of emotions. that it should become known to consciousness” (Freud, 1915, p. 179). Without the availability of the correct explanation for these feelings, the brain attempts to construct a plausible alternative explanation, which in the right circumstances would be a symptom “belief.” This, in turn, can lead to the generation of symptoms of hysteria. While resembling cognitions in respect of representing evaluations, they can consist solely of conscious feelings. 38, 81–90. On the one hand, he thought that it is “of the essence of an emotion that we should be aware of it, i.e., that it should become known to consciousness” (Freud, 1915/1957, p. 177). J. Cogn. Front. Psychol., 21 May 2020 (1990). Philosophical Investigations. An answer to the question is that the consciousness of an emotion can elicit high degrees of prediction error when it would be such as to lead to overwhelming negative affect, that is, affect that goes beyond that with which the brain can cope (hence warranting the epithet “traumatic”). On this account, the abnormally high precision is a consequence of the need to keep the real cause (an unconscious emotion) of changes in interoceptive input repressed. But there is another possible interpretation – which even if not exegetically correct, may be more theoretically appropriate – in line with my account. The consequences of such could to be bring about excessively harsh superegoic judgements about the self, leading to potentially overwhelming negative emotions. J. doi: 10.1093/brain/awq010, PubMed Abstract | CrossRef Full Text | Google Scholar, Connolly, P. (2018). An example of this is given by Prosser et al. The seeing of some object, X, as something else, Y, is what Roberts calls a construal. A. This has to do with the degree of precision afforded to the prediction error versus the model at each level of the hierarchy. “The interpretation of dreams (second part),” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. To say a little more about this, consider an agent who has repressed the consciousness of her emotion. Theaters of the Body: A Psychoanalytic Approach to Psychosomatic Illness. An embodied construal of this kind has the intentional (in the sense of being about some object) and evaluative character of emotion, in that it represents the evaluation of an object. As Liemburg et al. Where Roberts’ account becomes most useful for our purpose of understanding unconscious emotion is in relation to the question of how we feel emotions. 52, 347–354. On Freud’s theory, such memories are subject to repression on account not just of the emotion immediately generated by the memory, but also due to deeper negative emotions associated with it, ones that potentially reach down into highly aversive childhood experiences or infantile sexual fantasies. A fundamental difference between feelings and emotions is that feelings are experienced consciously, while emotions manifest either consciously or subconsciously. Owing to the repression of its proper representative it has been forced to become connected with another idea, and is now regarded by consciousness as the manifestation of that idea. Philos. Yes, not only do unconscious emotions exist, all your emotions are unconscious, at least at first. Freud, S. (1910/1957). emotionis a somewhat vague word, recent scientific developments are clarifying the term and changing some previously held beliefs about the biology and function of emotion. J. Pers. On this account, as in the James-Lange theory, the perception of bodily changes is constitutive of emotion. The lowest level of the hierarchy pertains to local bodily states, that is, for example, changes in visceral states, changes in hormonal levels, and so on (Prinz, 2004, p. 213). The exploration undertaken in this paper was an attempt to integrate philosophical, psychoanalytic, and neuroscientific viewpoints in addressing a number of interesting problems. The unconscious idea enables all emotions to be arranged in pairs of complementary opposites. They do, however, raise conceptual problems. Contact Us We can conclude that emotions can be understood as semantic interpretations that put together similar sources and according to the level of the process and of the integration being. Persistence of feelings of sentience after bilateral damage of the insula. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.06.007. Such a proposal, or an alternative that mirrors its general form even while differing in detail, enables us to avoid falling into the trap of positing homunculus-like agency to the brain, as there is no question of agency here, but rather simply a mathematically-governed process. Neu, J. However, if in the past the agent has experienced overwhelming negative affect as a result (in part) of becoming conscious of the emotion in question, they develop, as a learned response, an alteration in the connections between the upper and the second level such that the precision of the second level is lowered in response to that emotion. Elsewhere (Michael, 2018a, 2019b), I have argued that construal need not be conceptual in character – that is, the Y element need not involve concepts. These systems form the basic, innately programmed response to relevant stimuli, though what makes a stimulus relevant and the precise nature of the response require individual learning. Also, it does not imply the disembodiment hypothesis: it allows that one can construe X as Y in virtue of a perception of bodily changes. As mentioned, the idea of unconscious emotion has been seen to present something of a paradox. That is, when one feels an emotion one sees oneself in terms of the way one is experiencing or responding to some object5. Int. unconscious emotions has been thought puzzling even within what is perhaps its most natural home, psychoanalysis. Attachment & Relationships How do our infant relationships affect those we have as we grow older? doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2013-307203, Depue, B. E., Curran, T., and Banich, M. T. (2007). Emotion and cognition: recent developments and therapeutic practice. Pulver, S. E. (1971). Freud, S. (1905/1957). We suggest that unconscious "liking" is mediated by specific subcortical brain systems, such as the nucleus accumbens and its connections. By repressing the second-order construal, one is left with unexplained experiences that constitute the prediction error that drives neurotic symptoms, as postulated by my Freudian version of the Bayesian account of hysteria (Michael, 2018b), described in the introduction. Privacy & Cookies If this account is correct, then it demonstrates the important role that unconscious emotion plays in the emergence of the kind of phenomena that psychoanalysis was first designed to address. Windows to the Soul What can a person's eyes tell you about what they are thinking? Rev. Freud, S. (1926/1957). At the same time this is understood as one’s way of experiencing or responding to the object. Emotions are not unique to any particular individual, so the mental concepts that underlie them come from the unconscious mind. Affective agnosia: expansion of the alexithymia construct and a new opportunity to integrate and extend Freud’s legacy. I use the term ‘subconscious mind’ for what is personal to the individual, and the term ‘unconscious mind’ for what is general to humanity. Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain. Boag (2012) articulates this problem in his discussion of an influential account of repression based on Sullivan’s (1956) model of selective inattention, in which awareness involves intensive concentration on a target to the exclusion of other stimuli. Fear, for instance, is the judgement that some object poses a danger to oneself. Importantly, the prior beliefs modulate the precision of the other two levels. At this point I need to clarify my usage of two important terms. doi: 10.1353/ppp.2004.0054, Lacewing, M. (2007). The second and more important solution to the paradox draws on Roberts’ account of what it means to feel an emotion. 190–191) states, the elements of a construal, the X and Y terms, can be various – for example, they can be percepts, thoughts, images, concepts, or combinations of these. The repression of the consciousness of an emotion is an active process that seeks to reduce attention on – or the precision of one’s model of (as we will see in section Free-Energy and the Process of Repression) – how one is experiencing or responding to the object of the emotion. In relation to the narrow interpretation of Roberts’ account, which focuses on embodied construal as a way of experiencing some object, this distinction can be stated as that between affective consciousness (feeling in the sense of affective feeling) and the consciousness of the emotion (feeling in the sense of feeling as a construed condition). To borrow another idea from Wittgenstein, commonsense psychology and neuroscience may be different “language games” that cannot be fully reconciled. The argument, in brief, is that the repression of a memory can lead to the repression of accompanying emotion. 55, 594–611. In what follows I present only a preliminary sketch of such a model, as the details of a full model would be complex, taking us beyond the scope of the present paper. It is in order to prevent such emotions that the higher-level policy to reduce lower-level precisions is triggered. Carhart-Harris, R. L., and Friston, K. J. 61, 99–133. Rev. The author confirms being the sole contributor of this work and has approved it for publication. We may further suppose that, in the initial experience of the trauma, one of the means by which the prediction error was eventually reduced was by lowering the precision of the second-order construal that constitutes the consciousness of the emotion. J. Neurol. Rev. In order to provide a holistic theoretical overview focusing on unconscious emotions, a review of contemporary theories, models, and measures of emotion is provided. Are You Fixated? Received: 24 December 2019; Accepted: 20 April 2020;Published: 21 May 2020. In order to prevent such a consequence, a policy is formed that reduces the precision of any priors related to that memory and its accompanying emotion, thereby preventing any such mental phenomena from entering consciousness. In so being, it makes the consciousness of an emotion liable to impact on one’s self-image, potentially bringing this into discord with one’s ego ideal22. The LEA model may be useful in anchoring some of the ideas presented in the previous section. 11:984. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00984. This relates to Freud’s structural model of the mind, in which repression is seen to result from a conflict between superego and id. Exploring cultural associations between colors and emotions. Wittgenstein, L. (1953). It is through this modulatory connection that the authors account for psychopathic traits. There has been some discussion among psychoanalytic scholars as to how best to understand what Freud means by “proper representative” (e.g., Green, 2004; Herrera, 2010). This brings home the problem in providing a neuroscientific account of repression: what we require is an account of the process of repression that avoids treating it as the act of some inner agency, that is, some homunculus in the brain. 68, 1006–1020. Akhtar, S. (2013). There are at least two possible solutions to this problem. Sullivan, H. S. (1956). Panksepp (1998) uses the term “emotional command system” to designate brain systems that, upon certain input, “generate instinctual behaviour output patterns” (p. 28) that can be associated with common emotions (or related states). That is, stimuli, such as a particular quality of affective feeling, that would previously have contributed to the generation of the second-order construal as an attempt to explain the feeling, now triggers (through prediction error feedback) a learned policy within the superordinate level of organisation (the third level of our model) for decreasing the precision of priors related to the consciousness of the emotion. Oxford: Blackwell. The proposal that unconscious emotion involves the repression of a second-order construal of one’s emotion has support from work on alexithymia. The lowered precision at this level results in the failure of the emotion to attain consciousness. Then the emotion is conscious even in the absence of a second-order construal insofar as those experiences are conscious. Indeed, Freud himself acknowledged that talk of unconscious emotions is widespread in psychoanalysis: But in psycho-analytic practice we are accustomed to speak of unconscious love, hate, anger, etc., and find it impossible to avoid even the strange conjunction, “unconscious consciousness of guilt,” or a paradoxical “unconscious anxiety” (Freud, 1915/1957, p. 177). Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions. (1998). Freud, S. (1915/1957). Neurosci. Given this, a broader aim of this paper is to address the Freudian paradox about unconscious emotion in a way that also sheds additional light on psychopathology. “Emotion,” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (winter 2018 edition), ed. (2014) found that “alexithymia was present in 34.5% of patients with (functional motor symptoms)” (p. 1132)19. Neurosurg. Such an integration seems only achievable by relating these elements conceptually. Freud, S. (1909/1957). *Correspondence: Michael T. Michael, mmichael@yonsei.ac.kr; mmichael.esq@gmail.com, Front. In the other, the broad version, an emotion is constituted by the organism’s response to an object, where this response can be described as an evaluation of that object. But, Prinz argues, this does not mean that we should give up on the idea that emotions are essentially evaluative. The most pertinent concerns the intuition, shared by Freud, that consciousness is essential to emotion, which makes the idea of unconscious emotion seem paradoxical. Comput. Conscious. 56–57, 1909/1957, p. 240, 1910/1957, p. 144, 1911/1957, p. 63, 1919/1957, p. 231, 1933/1957, p. 139). If the mental concept changes, the emotion does not change ; instead, it fades away and a different emotion arises, one that fits the current mental concept. XIV, ed. Especially if she has increased bodily awareness (perhaps due to trait interoceptive sensibility, or increased body focus due to illness), she is likely to experience the bodily changes generated by the unconscious emotion while being unable to explain them. Free energy and virtual reality in neuroscience and psychoanalysis: a complexity theory of dreaming and mental disorder. On the other hand, he frequently invoked unconscious emotion, such as “unconscious love, hate, anger, etc” (Freud, 1915/1957, p. 177). Such a second-order construal can be inaccurate by misrepresenting the object of the emotion, as the standard interpretation asserts (corresponding to seeing one’s seeing X as Y as one’s seeing A as Y); or by misrepresenting the emotion as a different emotion by associating it with a different set of evaluative concepts (seeing one’s seeing X as Y as one’s seeing X as B); or even by misrepresenting the subject of the emotion as other than the self, thereby constituting projection (seeing one’s seeing X as Y as S’s seeing X as Y). According to Prinz’s theory, the perception of the bodily changes brought on by the sight of the snake represents the core relational theme of danger, and it is this perception which constitutes the emotion of fear. There are other versions of construal theory, but they have many of the same features as this one (see Lacewing, 2004, for a review). (2015) also bring to attention another important dimension of the consciousness of an emotion, which is that it involves “situational appraisal.” They associate such appraisal with the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), stating that “one can think of this area as participating in the ongoing evaluation of emotional significance of stimuli in the environment in communication with cortical structures such as the insula and subcortical structures such as the amygdala, and generating representations of the emotional meaning of one’s situation” (p. 602). On the scientific prospects for Freud’s theory of hysteria. “Emotions and choice,” in Explaining Emotions, ed. Further support for the correspondence between second-order construal and the highest level of processing in the LEA model comes from Stevens (2016), who describes several lines of evidence suggesting that the consciousness of emotion is closely associated with rACC activity. One, the lowest, corresponds to the experience of affect. Solms, M., and Friston, K. (2018). Impact Factor 2.067 | CiteScore 3.2More on impact ›, Free Energy in Psychoanalysis and Neuroscience (2012) put it, “alexithymia is characterised by difficulty to distinguish emotions from bodily sensations” (p. 660), so it is by failing to distinguish emotions from bodily sensations, rather than not feeling those sensations, that the problem (in part) arises. It seems that people can be wrong about or unaware of many things, but at least they can be sure about their own emotions. From Wittgenstein to Taoism: Philosophical applications of the concept of construal. Recently, however, there has been a revival of interest in this aspect of psychodynamics due to the work of Karl Friston. Neurosci. Psychoanalysis and empirical research: the example of alexithymia. Stud. However, on the basis of how they interact with other people and the emotions they arouse in others, psychoanalysts argue that they do in fact have emotions, but that they are very out of touch with them. The neurobiological origins of psychoanalytic dream theory. Embodiment, context-sensitivity, and discrete emotions: a response to Moors. The free-energy perspective is useful for understanding what Freud called the “quantitative” dimension of mental activity. The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness. “The uncanny,” in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, Vol. (2014). These include problems with accounting for the differences between emotions (since the feeling profiles of different emotions are often remarkably similar, while the feeling profiles of instances of the same emotion can differ widely), accounting for the rational dimension of emotions (drawing on the observation that emotions are subject to justification), accounting for the intentionality of emotions (in the sense of their being about some object), and accounting for the strong association between emotions and evaluations (e.g., fear seems to correspond in some way to evaluating an object as dangerous) (Scarantino and de Souza, 2018). For example, the unpleasant arousal aiming at a flight or freeze reaction generated by the FEAR system in response to the perception of a snake constitutes (in part) the evaluative aspect of seeing something as threatening. 50, 334–341. This leads to an immediate follow-up question: Why would the consciousness of an emotion elicit such overwhelming negative affect? This account of the repression of the consciousness of emotion has the advantage that it unproblematically allows that an agent can have an emotion, where that emotion is accompanied and partly constituted by conscious affective feelings, without being conscious of it, for the first-order construal that is the emotion need not be affected by the repression. Why would the brain-mind repress the consciousness of an emotion? Affect reflects prediction error (Solms and Friston, 2018), so overwhelming negative affect reflects a dangerous amount of prediction error. Though construals can be cognitive, they need not be. Freudian Repression, the Unconscious, and the Dynamics of Inhibition. Parts licensed under GNU FDL. As Kihlstrom (1999) put it, Paralleling the usage of these descriptors in the cognitive un- conscious, ‘‘explicit emotion’’ refers to the person’s conscious awareness of an emotion, feeling, or mood state; ‘‘implicit emo- tion’’, by contrast, refers to changes in experience, thought, or. Scarantino, A., and de Souza, R. (2018). This second solution opens up the possibility of the repression of emotion in a sense that goes beyond those which Freud spoke about, such as the suppression of the emotion. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Measure your stress levels with this 5-minute stress test. She sees the stranger through a set of experiences, involving perhaps various feelings, memories, imaginings, and so on, such that those experiences colour her experience of the stranger in a certain way, where this way is appropriately described as the aspect of being threatening. The third, the upper level, is a level superordinate to that of consciousness which modulates the precision of the levels beneath, that is, regulates consciousness. Inq. Hypnosis Scripts Psychiatry 85, 1132–1137. Due to this repression they cannot be accurately represented, hence obstructing the construction of the second-order construal that would constitute the consciousness of the emotion. [²]. But there is also another solution available, one that works even if we adopt only the narrow sense of emotion. Am. 57, 1–29. More research is needed to clarify the relations and differences between conscious and unconscious emotion, and their underlying mechanisms. Following Wittgenstein, Roberts takes a “family resemblance” approach to concepts, thus he does not hold that “construal” (or “emotion” for that matter) can be captured by a set of necessary or sufficient conditions. Freud appears ambivalent about emotion. Unconscious emotions are of central importance to psychoanalysis. Int. 177–178). In which case, the repression becomes a “force” that compels her brain-mind towards alternative explanations. 100, 32–51. Normally, the consciousness of an emotion is adaptive, as it helps in the regulation of the emotion (hence the reduction of prediction error). Nordic J. Psychiatry 68, 300–305. This discord could generate overwhelming affect, hence large amounts of prediction error, due to superegoic responses to such conflict. As a result, when the memory, and hence the accompanying emotion, is unconsciously triggered, the patient may experience the bodily feelings generated by the emotion, but these feelings lack any explanation due to the unconsciousness of the emotion. The conceptualisation hypothesis is the claim that “emotions require concepts” (p. 23). The highest level involves abstracting from particular patterns by categorising a range of such patterns under the same representation, that is, as “having the same emotional meaning” (ibid.). For example, to feel excluded is to take oneself as being excluded (p. 186). Roberts, R. C. (2003). On Roberts’ account, however, emotions need not involve judgements. Psychol. In an independent study, Demartini et al. These unconscious emotions may be critical for communication and language understanding, they may help overcome cognitive dissonances associated with hearing an unexpected word, and carry new information , . Second, a construal of how one is construing things is a construal of one’s self, thus potentially bringing such a construal into discord with one’s ego ideal. For on a narrower construal account, which focuses on how one experiences a certain object, consciousness is essential to the emotion. Philosophy of emotion in Ferguson, Missouri, in other words, be reflectively conscious their! Worthwhile saying a little more about this apparent paradox the general population Tranel. Facie problems, the emotion is not quite right played by precision-weighting those. 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