Re: Hello everybody from Finn Tschudi!

(no name) ((no email))
Wed, 11 Jan 1995 09:10:02 -0500 (EST)

Hello to PCP network participants, especially to Stephen:

Very succinctly put -- Tompkins is quite uncogenial to constructivism!

Back in 1977, I spent an afternoon engaging in a very strenuous,
emotional, headache-producing discussion with Tompkins. The core of my
postion was that there is no basis for (1) believing that we are biologically
wired for PARTICULAR emotional responses, and (2) as a corollary, believing
that biological differnentiation of emotions is based on some kind of
built in circuitry. The position which I tried to advocate: Psychological
systems do generate, under conditions of failure to validate anticipatory
constructions, a general arousal state -- which we construe, on the basis
of the context in which the arousal is generated, as differntiatable
emotions. [Differentiatable biological concomitants could be explained by
thinking of varied physiological reactions that are set off by the
person's cognitive processes -- e. g., a rise in insulin when we imagine
a luscious chocolate cake.]
Sylvan Tompkins, of course, was a formidable advocate of his
position, but I managed to maintain my own constructions of emotion,
despite his skill at attempting to invalidate them!!!!

By the way, Finn, I would like to be sure to connect an addendum to
your quote of one of my statements -- in order to continue the thrust of
the discussion which you have initiated. Yes, I would continue to endorse
a statment something like, "Psychological processes are channelized by
anticipation." I would then need to elaborate the position suggested above,
noting that "emotion" is generated by failure to anticipate, and that
a person's system functions to generate anticipatory constructions which
will evoke validation.

So, I would say that people have not ignored Tompkins -- a
constructivist who has looked at his work might hedge at the idea that
there are some kind of biologically determined pre-given constructions of
particular kinds of inputs.

Best wishes to all.
Jim Mancuso