Functionalist and Constructionist Perspectives on Emo­ tion Dysregulation


Two theoretical perspectives—functionalism and constructionism—predominate modern research on emotion. This introductory chapter describes these perspectives and offers points of convergence and divergence. It pays special attention to common misconcep­ tions about functionalism and to the strengths and limitations of each perspective. Func­ tionalism, which draws in part from phylogenetic accounts of emotion and motivation, is limited by difficulties drawing inferences about human emotion from animal research, even though animal research is conducted using very precise methods of high spatial and temporal resolution. In contrast, constructionism is limited by difficulties falsifying its core propositions given reliance on research using functional magnetic resonance imag­ ing, which has poor temporal resolution. These limitations notwithstanding, both func­ tionalism and constructionism have much to offer current interpretations of and future research on emotion dysregulation. Thus, pitting the perspectives against one other is counterproductive.

The Oxford Handbook of Emotion Dysregulation
Nathaniel Haines
Nathaniel Haines
Data Scientist & Computational Psychologist, PhD

An academic Bayesian who is currently exploring the high dimensional posterior distribution of life

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