Understanding Emotions

This new textbook by cognitive scientist and prize-winning novelist Keith Oatley, and developmental psychologist Jennifer M. Jenkins, is the first to fully span the fast-growing field of research on emotions.

Understanding Emotions ranges across the disciplines from philosophy and narrative literature through anthropology, evolutionary theory, brain research, psychology, and sociology, covering the entire lifespan, from infancy to adulthood. Its main theme is that emotions have functions: they set priorities among our concerns and they provide the underlying structure and human relatedness from attachment in infancy, to the warmth of family life and of friendships, to the excitements of sexuality.

Emotions sometimes become dysfunctional in orders of depression, anxiety, and excessive aggression, but these disorders can also be understood in terms of how they arise.

The book emphasizes the human value of emotions, with practical concern for clinical problems, education and everyday understanding.