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The Origin of Emotions


Book reviews > The Origin of Emotions


Devon, M. (2005). the origin of emotions, Devon


Title: The origin of emotions
Author: Mark Devon
ISBN: 1-4196-4727-X
LCCN: 2006901093

Comprising 61 chapters over 190 AQ-sized pages, this is a fascinating book that takes a different viewpoint from many conventional texts, offering many ideas and constructs that give the reader much to ponder.

Five types of emotions are identified: conceptions, sensations, reflexes, involuntary expressions and voluntary expressions. Within each of these, a range of emotions are identified. Curiously, some emotions identified in common models, such as disgust and surprise are not directly included. Emotions are further classified by the purpose of the individual, the group and genetic purpose.

Conceptions are 'positive or negative mental effects that are triggered by conclusions' and include various forms of love, grief and guilt, plus emotions such as pride and envy. Sensations-as-emotions (i.e. 'feelings') are an interesting component of Devon's model, and are derived from applied pressure to different parts of the body (unsurprisingly, these include various sexual pleasures). Reflexes help avoid harm and include the startle response and fear. Involuntary expressions direct how others behave and include horror, frowning and blushing. Voluntary expressions are triggered by habit and include anger and laughter.

Each emotion identified within these categories is then broken down in individual chapters, where a standard structure including conceptual triggers, mental effects, key features, voluntary expression and synonyms is supplemented by detail of the causes and effects of the emotion. These include numerous insightful descriptions and models that can help a wider and deeper understanding of the emotions.

Academics may be disappointed with the book as no references are given nor empirical evidence shown, yet the extent of new models and thinking makes this a useful resource, perhaps trigging further research and publication.

Emotions are at the core of what makes us human, and any work that explores them from a new angle is a welcome addition to the literature. This book is an individual exploration that certainly got me thinking and has extended my perceptions and understanding and emotions. And that has made me very happy.


Buy Me

Mark Devon, The Origin of Emotions, 2006

  A fascinating exploration of emotions, full of original insights and assertions. no academic reference or evidence, yet a splendid source of thought to challenge your understanding of this subject.



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