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Banned EmotionsHow Metaphors Can Shape What People Feel$
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Laura Otis

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190698904

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190698904.001.0001

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The Bodily and Cultural Roots of Emotion Metaphors

The Bodily and Cultural Roots of Emotion Metaphors

(p.11) Chapter 2 The Bodily and Cultural Roots of Emotion Metaphors
Banned Emotions

Laura Otis

Oxford University Press

Recent theories of emotion take different stands on how greatly language can influence emotional experience. William James’s peripheral feedback theory, Paul Ekman’s basic emotions theory, Magda Arnold’s appraisal theory, and Lisa Feldman Barrett’s conceptual act theory offer distinct frameworks for understanding how physiology and culture interact in human emotions. The research of Max Black, George Lakoff, and Zoltán Kövecses indicates that emotion metaphors have bodily and cultural roots. Dante Alighieri’s Inferno and John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress illustrate the religious origin of metaphors for culturally “banned” emotions. Traces of these religious origins can be seen in the metaphors of self-help books such as Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, Travis Bradberry’s and Jean Greaves’s Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese? A long-standing cultural tradition presumes there is a self separate from the emotions that is responsible for controlling them, but scientific studies point toward emotional regulation within a self.

Keywords:   basic emotions, appraisal theory, conceptual act theory, affect, emotional intelligence, Inferno, The Pilgrim’s Progress, peripheral feedback theory, interactive theory of metaphor, self-help

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