Body and Mind: Zajonc’s (Re)introduction of the Motor System to Emotion and Cognition

Emotion Review 2 (4):340-347 (2010)


Zajonc and Markus published a chapter in 1984 that proposed solutions to the difficult problem of modeling interactions between cognition and emotion. The most radical of their proposals was the importance of the motor system in information processing. These initial preoccupations, when wedded with the vascular theory of emotional efference (VTEE), propelled theory and research about how the face works to control emotion and to control interpersonal interaction. We discuss the development of Bob’s thinking about facial expression—facial efference is the term he preferred—as he moved toward predictions that sounded radical at the time, and which these days sound like precursors to advances in neuroscience and psychology subsumed under the term “embodied cognition.”

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