Studying the emotion-antecedent appraisal process: An expert system approach
Abstract The surprising convergence between independently developed appraisal theories of emotion elicitation and differentiation is briefly reviewed. It is argued that three problems are responsible for the lack of more widespread acceptance of such theories: (1) the criticism of excessive cognitivism raised by psychologists working on affective phenomena; (2) the lack of process orientation in linking appraisal to the complex unfolding of emotion episodes over time; and (3) the lack of consensus on the number and types of appraisal criteria between theorists in this domain. Although readers are referred to recent theoretical discussions and evidence from the neurosciences with respect to the first two issues, an empirical study using computerised experimentation is reported with respect to the third issue. Data obtained with an expert system based on Scherer's (1984a) ?stimulus evaluation check? predictions show the feasibility of this approach in determining the number and types of appraisal criteria needed to explain emotion differentiation. It is suggested to use computer modelling and experimentation as a powerful tool to further theoretical development and collect pertinent data on the emotion-antecedent appraisal process.