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Art, Mind, and NarrativeThemes from the Work of Peter Goldie$
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Julian Dodd

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769736

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769736.001.0001

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Missing Persons

Missing Persons

(p.190) 12 Missing Persons
Art, Mind, and Narrative

Paul L. Harris

Oxford University Press

Within a Darwinian, evolutionary framework, emotions have been viewed primarily as responses to directly encountered situations. Studies of infants, adults, and animals underline the importance of such encounters. The closer a threatening stimulus, the greater the feeling of anxiety; the closer an attachment figure, the greater the feeling of reassurance. As adults, many of our emotional reactions do not depend on direct encounters. We show intense emotional reactions to reports about the fate of others. In such cases, the intensity of our emotional reactions depends not on our physical proximity to the events in question but on our mental connection to those involved. This chapter asks whether this type of emotional engagement is present in childhood, reviewing studies of children’s reactions to news reports and even fictional encounters. It is argued that even young children construct a network of significant others, keeping such attachment figures in mind despite their absence.

Keywords:   Keywords infants, attachment, reports, absence, mental, connection

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