chapter  8
28 Pages

Prototype and Script Analyses of Laypeople's Knowledge of Anger

If we are to understand each other and ourselves, we must understand the emotions; for love, anger, hatred, sorrow, and joy are at the core ofwhat it means to be human. The study of emotion has fascinated psychologists since the inception of the discipline (e.g., James, 1902/1929; Woodworth & Schlosberg, 1954). Nevertheless, the task has not been an easy one. The complexity of studying this topic is reflected, in part, by the diversity of perspectives from which it has been analyzed. Following the Iead of Darwin (1872/1965), some psychologists have taken a biological view of emotion (e.g., Ekman, 1980); at the opposite pole are those who conceive of emotions primarily as social constructions (e.g., Averill, 1982). Interestingly, in pursuing their disparate and sometimes conflicting paths, these and other theorists frequently have focused on the same emotion, namely anger. Anger is a key emotion for psychologists to study for a nurober of reasons. For instance, it is closely linked to the behavior of aggression (e.g., Mandler, 1984; Rubin, 1986), which obviously gives it considerable social import. Moreover, anger is one of the emotions that is frequently experienced in our closest, most intimate, relationships with others (e.g., Buss, 1989; Perlman, 1990). This may account, in part, for why anger is one of the emotions that is most likely to come to mind when laypeople are asked to name emotions (e.g., Fehr & Russell, 1984).