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Then A Miracle OccursFocusing on Behavior in Social Psychological Theory and Research$
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Christopher R. Agnew, Donal E. Carlston, William G. Graziano, and Janice R. Kelly

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377798

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377798.001.0001

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Does Emotion Cause Behavior (Apart from Making People Do Stupid, Destructive Things)?

Does Emotion Cause Behavior (Apart from Making People Do Stupid, Destructive Things)?

(p.119) 7 Does Emotion Cause Behavior (Apart from Making People Do Stupid, Destructive Things)?
Then A Miracle Occurs

Roy F. Baumeister

C. Nathan DeWall

Kathleen D. Vohs

Jessica L. Alquist

Oxford University Press

The authors challenge the traditional view that emotion directly causes behavior, as represented in the claim that someone did something “because he was angry.” Essentially, this is the view that “the impetus for the behavior is contained in the emotion,” a premise that still leaves a miraculous gap between feeling the emotion and enacting the behavior. As an alternative, the authors advance the view that “conscious emotion tends to come after behavior and operates as a kind of inner feedback system.” The authors bolster their argument against the traditional view with evidence that emotions are not specific enough to serve as impetus for specific behaviors, that emotions seem to have more impact on cognition than on behavior, and that emotional influences on behavior tend to disappear unless people believe that their actions will affect their emotional state.

Keywords:   behavior, causation, emotion, emotional influences, inner feedback system, social psychology

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