Today my latest article was published at Frontiers in Psychology. The name of the article is Social Regulation of Emotion: Messy Layers Frontiers is an open access journal so the article can be easily downloaded and shared.
My article deals with the relationship of emotions and regulation. I believe that emotions regulate our behavior and the behavior of others. We and others are motivated to affect our emotions in turn due to their intrinsic properties. For example to make them go away, to change them, to replace them, or to strengthen them. Thus, the notion of emotion without thinking about regulation does not make much sense. I have developed these arguments over the last few years in several chapters and articles.
Here is the abstract of the new article:
Emotions are evolved systems of intra- and interpersonal processes that are regulatory in nature, dealing mostly with issues of personal or social concern. They regulate social interaction and in extension, the social sphere. In turn, processes in the social sphere regulate emotions of individuals and groups. In other words, intrapersonal processes project in the interpersonal space, and inversely, interpersonal experiences deeply influence intrapersonal processes. Thus, I argue that the concepts of emotion generation and regulation should not be artificially separated. Similarly, interpersonal emotions should not be reduced to interacting systems of intraindividual processes. Instead, we can consider emotions at different social levels, ranging from dyads to large scale e-communities. The interaction between these levels is complex and does not only involve influences from one level to the next. In this sense the levels of emotion/regulation are messy and a challenge for empirical study. In this article, I discuss the concepts of emotions and regulation at different intra- and interpersonal levels. I extend the concept of auto-regulation of emotions (Kappas, 2008, 2011a,b) to social processes. Furthermore, I argue for the necessity of including mediated communication, particularly in cyberspace in contemporary models of emotion/regulation. Lastly, I suggest the use of concepts from systems dynamics and complex systems to tackle the challenge of the “messy layers.”
Arvid Kappas is Professor of Psychology at Jacobs University Bremen. He has been conducting research on emotions for over two decades in the US, Canada, and in several European countries.