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Discussant Chapter: Part II The Role of Emotion Scripts and Transient Moods in Relationships: Structural and Functional Perspectives

What is the role of affect in our personal relationships? Although this question has fascinated laymen, artists, and philosophers for centuries, scientific research on this issue is a surprisingly recent development. At present, our understanding of the mechanisms linking affect to cognition and behavior in relationships remains sketchy. The three chapters in this section by Fitness (chap. 7), Fehr and Baldwin (chap. 8), and Clark, Pataki, and Garver (chap. 9) present convergent evidence for the consensual, socially structured character of many prototypical emotional experiences and expressions in relationships. Clearly, the shared knowledge structures associated with different emotions play a critical role in the initiation, maintenance, and termination of personal relationships, as the chapters in this section illustrate. In addition, there is a complementary strategy addressing the functional consequences of affect for relationships that is also considered here.