From Hydraulic to Not

What I enjoyed most about Rosenwein’s article was her explanation of the evolution of how emotions were viewed by psychologists. She begins explaining the “hydraulic” model of emotions, where emotions are seen as “great liquids within each person , heaving and frothing, eager to be let out” (834). This model helps explain when someone “sees red” or blacks out when they get especially angry, why sometimes we can’t suppress our tears, even in public, or our laughter. In the 60’s and 70’s, this model was replaced by two non-hydraulic models. One was a cognitive view model that explained that “emotions are part of a process of perception and appraisal, not forces striving for release” (836). Another is a model of social constructionism, saying that “emotions and their display are constructed by the society in which they operate (837). What I noticed about all of these models, like the two before me have mentioned, is that they all touched on the first article we read about emotions in our world. It was hard for me to choose which one I though the most logical, so I decided to sort of take pieces of all of them. However, Rosenwein comments that the hydraulic model is no longer “tenable” (836).

I liked this article because it held firm my belief that emotions, especially the most basic (anger, love, hate, etc.) are universal, but also are conformed based on the society and culture in which they are present. I also liked the tidbit (Ethan mentioned this) in which she explains that not only are certain emotions or at least how they are expressed are unique to a culture, but to “emotional communities” within that culture as well. We all belong to many different groups of people and our expressions and behaviors rely on our setting.

1 thought on “From Hydraulic to Not

  1. I also found the part about universality interesting. Rosenwein states that the capability of having emotions is universal, however, individuals may express different emotions in similar situations. Cognitive psychologists believe that certain emotions are considered “basic” but recognize that individuals may perceive different situations differently, meaning they could feel different emotions in like situations. I found this idea very relatable.

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