In this article, results of studies on the process of maintaining anger are described, and experimental research examining the effectiveness of the structured writing method for reducing anger is reviewed. Our research has indicated that the key factor in the process of maintaining anger is “the sense of unintegration of thoughts.” Anger is prolonged by this sense, because it mediates avoidance behaviors and recurrent thinking. Our research has also indicated that to reduce anger, it is crucial to integrate and organize thoughts about anger-evoking events by eliciting “perspective taking,” and the “need for self-change.” Moreover, it has been demonstrated that “the structured writing method,” developed on the basis of research into the process of maintaining anger, was more effective for reducing anger than traditional expressive writing methods. Participants tend to change how they talk about an event with others and decrease the number of negative words after engaging in structured writing. These findings suggest that taking various perspectives, including other’s feeling, and possible self-improvements into consideration in the structured writing method facilitates reappraising the relationship between the self and others, which in turn inhibits intrapersonal, interpersonal, and intergenerational processes of maintaining anger.
Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of emotions in the escalation and reduction of intergroup conflicts. This paper reviews and discusses studies on emotions in intergroup conflict. This paper aims to understand recent findings and indicate future areas of focus regarding how emotions elicit discrimination, prejudice, and war. First, I introduce intergroup emotions theory, one of the most important theories on intergroup relations, and discuss the relation between intergroup emotions and intergroup aggression. Second, I examine collective emotions, which is the social or group phenomenon of sharing intergroup emotions across the entire group. Finally, I review studies on emotion regulation in intergroup conflicts and provide ways for resolving conflicts by intervening in real intergroup conflicts.
This paper aimed to give an overview of a series of cross-national studies on children’s perception and understanding of bullying in England and ijime in Japan, and to see the nature and the characteristics of ijime and its possible social and cultural background factors. Ijime in Japan, compared to bullying in Western countries, is often considered to be more indirect in nature, and often conducted as a group aggression by victims’ classmates or someone victims know very well. Although students in both countries had similar perceptions of typical characteristics of bullies and victims, and many students had anti-bully and pro-victim attitudes, victim-blaming tendency appeared to be more salient in Japan. These characteristics may partly be explained by the school systems and pupils' friendship formations within the system in each country. Compared to English pupils, Japanese pupils formed their friendships on the basis of the class they belonged to, and spent most time with them in the classroom. Thus, more class-based prevention and intervention approaches would be necessary.
I propose a cultural psychological explication to the problem of power abuse, such as school bullying. The cultural context of interdependence, which fosters sensitivity to rejection, potentiates lowered social identity with friends, encourages to be ordinary among others and cause relational concern can be a background to the indirect, obscured, and collective type of bullying in Japan. Although universal approach to the abuse of power is proven effective, understanding the nuanced, seemingly subtle shared meanings shared among the cultural members on well-being and power may also be used to understand the big picture of this long-lasting classroom problem.
This article discusses the obstacles to the realization of harmonious coexistence in a human society that purportedly advocates egalitarianism. Focusing on the issues regarding sexual minorities and empirical studies on the prejudice against them, the author argues that simplistic egalitarianism does not work well when the acceptance of dissimilar others, who embrace a totally different mentality and orientation, is associated with threats to one's established values and worldviews constituting the very basis of one's identity. Among people with such a rigid sense of identity, this evokes despisement and the desire for expulsion of the minority group. The author concludes that restructuring one's identity is a promising way to solve the problem.
This paper aims to elucidate how antebellum American fiction addresses the modern ideology of race. It examines how African-American characters are represented in The Yemassee (Simms, 1835), Westward Ho! (Paulding, 1832), Swallow Barn (Kennedy, 1832), Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe, 1852) and The Red Rover (Cooper, 1828). It contends that unlike the other novels, The Red Rover resists racial prejudices by focusing on the comradeship among sailors of different color.
Empathy is a source of altruistic behavior by offering kind help for people in distress, and so regarded as a good thing, sometimes a precondition of morality. Empathetic friends and family doubtlessly make us feel warm. It does not follow, however, that empathy is prosocial. Society where we are living now is globalized one big society with a goal of living all together in harmony, including not only people in intimate sphere but dissimilar others from different groups. We would ask how empathy works and what effects of it are in this modern social context. It is discussed that intergroup empathy bias may enlarge conflicts between groups and empathy directed toward in-group victims potentially changes into angry and violence against enemy, even into the vicious cycle of violence.
Despite countless international efforts for the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts, why are so many conflicts still observed today? To find an answer to this question, the author seeks to test the following hypothesis; it is difficult to find the root causes of armed conflicts because peace and conflict studies have not paid much attention to research on human emotions. By reviewing previous studies, this hypothesis has been proven true for the following reasons. Firstly, the so-called “rational model” in conflict studies (including the areas of International Law, International Relations and International Politics) does not reflect peoples' felt emotions such as hatred and fear. Secondly, the present international system is not designed to handle politically motivated, aggressive emotions properly. As a conclusion, this essay notes that a pro-social emotion such as empathy does not necessarily prevent conflicts. Interdisciplinary research efforts concerning armed conflicts are needed so that the “vulnerable human model” which indicates a person who can easily switch from victim to aggressor or vice versa will replace the “rational model” in the future research.
As basic principles to explain emergence of empathy in humans, this article proposes a theoretical framework of “bottom-up empathy” and “top-down empathy.” The former is driven by external stimuli and emerged on the basis of physical and autonomic properties of neural systems. The latter means processes to infer others’ intentions, thoughts, and emotions based on mental models which are maintained in cognitive systems. The bottom-up empathy can be realized by synchronization of spontaneous fluctuation of neural activity in brain regions including the inferior lateral prefrontal cortex and insula, among two or plural persons. The top-down empathy can be rooted in neural systems for the mentalizing or “theory of mind”, including the medial prefrontal cortex, superior temporal sulcus, temporal–parietal junction, and insula. Probably the insula which is an interface of the brain and body might be a key brain region which can connect the bottom-up empathy and top-down empathy. This theoretical framework might be useful to explore characteristics of human empathy and to apply the basic findings into real world phenomena.
While social problems such as bullying, prejudice, and intergroup conflicts are interrelated to each other as the obstacles to social coexistence, they have been studied separately in different fields of study. Moreover, important and valuable findings are not often shared among the different fields. Although recently it has been recognized that all of these problems are related to emotion and the researchers agree that understanding of emotional aspects of the social issues is essential to tackling them. By commenting on the papers for the interdisciplinary special section, this paper claims that more attention to emotion is needed as a common ground of the various domains of research in order to deepen our understanding of the background of the issues and to provide more appropriate remedies for them. This nature of emotion as a common ground suggests that emotional phenomena would be more accurately grasped through the interdisciplinary and cross-cutting approach by contextualizing the related factors concerning emotion.
The Implicit Positive and Negative Affect Test (IPANAT; Quirin, Kazén, & Kuhl, 2009a) measures the unconscious aspect of positive and negative affect. In the IPANAT, participants estimate the extent to which an artificial word (actually, a nonsense word) subjectively conveys the various moods. The IPANAT has recently attracted attention as a reliable and valid measure of implicit affect involving a comparatively simple procedure. This article introduces the IPANAT and its Japanese version, and reviews findings that support the reliability and validity of both. Finally, future plans for measuring implicit affect using each are discussed.
The mere exposure effect means that repeated, unreinforced exposure is sufficient to enhance one's liking toward a stimulus. Furthermore, a number of experiments have demonstrated that this effect can be obtained outside of conscious awareness. The present article reviews empirical findings pointing to the cognitive factors which enhance the effect, such as familiarity-novelty and consistency of action. This review suggests that the mere exposure effect is closely related to the social fluency associated with an exposed object. Finally, some prospects for emerging themes for the future of study on the mere exposure effect are discussed.
In daily life, we are required to adapt our behavior continuously in situations in which much of our incoming information is emotional and unrelated to our immediate behavioral goals. Such information is processed both ‘with’ and ‘without’ our consciousness. However, it has not been clarified how such emotional factor, which is independent from reward, affects the learning process. Here, we addressed this issue with the reinforcement learning model and identified the neural substrates that underlie emotion-learning interaction by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We observed that the emotional stimulus, represented consciously or unconsciously prior to the cue signal, enhanced the learning rate and accelerated the speed of probabilistic association learning. The fMRI results indicated that these phenomena were caused by the enhancement of reward prediction error signal by the striatum–amygdala interaction.