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Gershon Breslav1
  • 1 Baltijas Starptautiska Akademija, 4 Lomonosova street, Riga, Latvia, LV 1003

Compositional Theory of Emotion: Understanding Moral Emotion and Love (in Russian)

2015. Vol. 12. No. 4. P. 81–102 [issue contents]

It seems that in contemporary psychology of emotion not only data collection and their analysis is topical, but also theoretical interpretations of these facts that psychology in the 20th century was full of. Although no theory can explain all richness of collected facts in the field, it does not mean that the creation of these theories is useless for the understanding of human emotional life. One of the attempts to integrate these theories is represented in the compositional theory of emotion (Breslav, 1976, 1977а, 1984). In this article the theory was used for the first time for the understanding of moral emotions of shame and guilt, as well as the understanding of the mechanism of development and instability of partnership love. The design of the main compositional elements of shame and guilt was proposed, which allows see in a more precise way the similarity and difference of shame and guilt. In particular, similar elements include the existence of transgression in the object-matter of these emotions and the understanding of the transgression’s negative estimation by others. However, while with shame the main agent of stimulation is a beholder of the transgression, with guilt it is the victim. In the first case the locus of estimation is the personality of transgression’s agent, in the second – the transgression and its consequences for the victim. While experiencing shame directs the person on defending him/herself, guilt – on the compensation of transgression’s damage to the victim. The compositional theory of emotion also enables us to understand better the conditions of positive and negative development of love. In particular, this sentiment’s inclusion in the existing system of needs, habits and relationships of the lover’s personality is considered. At a certain stage love can become central, which means its dominant place in the hierarchy of the person’s relationships. If this process fails, love will decrease gradually and the target of love’s valence will be transformed. In its turn, the survival of love requires daily efforts from lovers.

Citation: Breslav, G. (2015). Compositional Theory of Emotion: Understanding Moral Emotion and Love. Psychology. Journal of Higher School of Economics, 12(4), 81-102 (in Russian)
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