The Functionalist Perspective On Emotions

3350 Words May 6th, 2015 14 Pages
According to the functionalist perspective on emotions, emotions are defined as an attempt by the individual to establish, maintain, change, or terminate the relation between the environment and the individual (Frijda, 1986). This approach is intrinsically relational and suggests that one cannot understand emotion without considering the individual within any given context. Thus, emotions are conceptualized as being flexible, contextually bound, and goal directed, and are critical for guiding interpersonal relations (Butler, Lee, & Gross, 2007; Campos, Mumme, Kermoian, & Campos, 1994). In order to understand how emotions influence interpersonal relations one must consider the role of cultural context. Culture influences the way in which emotional competency is defined and the way in which emotions are experienced and expressed (Friedlmeier, Corapci, & Cole, 2011). Through socialization children are thought to adopt certain modes of expression and learn to manage emotionally arousing situations in a culturally appropriate manner. Emotion socialization is guided by the parents’ perspectives on emotion-relevant values and rules. These values and rules often are products of cultural influence, thus representing cultural norms. As children age, and their peers become the main source of socialization, these cultural norms have the potential to be further reinforced (Zeman & Shipman, 1998). Over the past several decades, researchers have devoted increased attention to studying the…
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