Emotions: A Brief History / Edition 1

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Emotions: A Brief History investigates the history of emotions across cultures as well as the evolutionary history of emotions and of emotional development across an individual's life span. In clear and accessible language, Keith Oatley examines key topics such as emotional intelligence, emotion and the brain, and emotional disorders. Throughout, he interweaves three themes: the changes that emotions have undergone from the past to the present, the extent to which we are able to control our emotions, and the ways in which emotions help us discern the deeper layers of ourselves and our relationships.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“In this wide-ranging collection of essays, Keith Oatleysynthesizes ancient and modern ideas about emotions, placing themin the context of history, development, and evolution. The author'slucid writing, sprinkled with examples drawn from an array ofdisciplines, will appeal to the specialist and general readeralike. Simply masterful!” W. Gerrod Parrott, GeorgetownUniversity

“Only Keith Oatley could have written a book of thistype—a scholarly treatise on emotions that reads like a novel.With erudition and verve he contextualizes the scientific study ofthe emotions both in linguistic history and in the social contextof life. The examples and literary case studies come fast andfurious, but the book never overwhelms. It is a fast read but theideas and themes linger to be savoured long after one isthrough.” Keith E. Stanovich, University of Torontoand author of The Robot's Rebellion: Finding Meaning in the Ageof Darwin

“In this short history, Keith Oatley captures the currentexcitement of the ongoing ‘Affect Revolution’ and itshistorical antecedents. As psychologists seek to decipher thefoundations of the many emotional values of animate existence, theyshould not forget the many historical roots from which the currentblossoming of research is emerging. This gem helps put the field inperspective.” Jaak Panksepp, Bowling Green StateUniversity and author of Affective Neuroscience

“There are dozens of books on emotions these days, butnone like Oatley's new work. This original, wide-ranging, erudite,yet accessible romp through the centuries of thought and feelingabout emotion as encountered in literature, philosophy, religion,politics, history and anthropology, is a tour de force. Aconsummate work by one of the leaders in the field of emotionsresearch, it is not only a scholarly work of tremendous breadth,but a literary achievement in its own right—Oatley is a master ofthe well-turned phrase and the work is rich in wry musings andpenetrating insight.” Carol Magai, Long Island University,Brooklyn Campus

“Oatley's beautifully written book comes out of his deepknowledge both of the history of thought and of the most up-to-dateresearch in the science of emotions… a masterly introductionto philosophical and scientific thinking about the emotions inpersonal and social life. It's all done with Oatley'scharacteristic lucidity, his light touch, and his novelist's giftfor vivid illustration. …this book will afford fresh insightsand original perspectives to delight even seasoned scholars.”Ronnie de Sousa, University of Toronto

"An extraordinarily erudite and well written book about allaspects of the emotions written by a leading cognitivepsychologist. It ranges through evolutionary origins, emotionaldevelopment (including EQ) and social aspects of emotions asreflected in both history and literature. References include theBrownings, Keats, Marcus Aurelius and Shakespeare while among thethemes treated are emotions and the brain, emotional disorders andpsychopharmacology. " The Scientific and MeidicalNetwork

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Keith Oatley is Professor of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Toronto. He is the author of more than 120 journal articles and chapters and five books, including Understanding Emotions (Blackwell, 1996).

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Table of Contents


1. Meaning and ambiguity.

Emotions: signals of what is vital.

2. Evolution, culture, and a necessary ambivalence.

Inherited repertoires of emotion built upon by culture andexperience.

3. Medicine for the soul.

From Epicureans and Stoics via the seven deadly sins tocognitive therapy.

4. Emotions and the brain.

Accidents, imaging technologies, the new psychopharmacology.

5. Social histories: emotions and relationships.

Social goals of aggression, attachment, affiliation, and theirmixtures.

6. Individual histories.

Emotional development from childhood to maturity.

7. Emotional disorders.

Excesses of sadness, anxiety, shame, and anger.

8. Emotional intelligence.

What is it to be emotionally intelligent? Are there skills tolearn?.




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