AN APPROACH TO THE STUDY OF EMOTIONS AS COMPLEX DYNAMICAL SYSTEMS
Universitat Jaime I
The study of emotions has evolved from an analytical perspective based on linear causality and reductionism. This perspective is now giving way to a new approach that grounds the study of emotions in their complexity. For several decades, proposals have been put forward to study emotion mechanisms as systems (Izard, 1971, 1991). The dynamicity and complexity of emotions have recently been added to this systemic approach, thus allowing the study of emotion mechanisms as dynamical systems. A dynamical system is a unit of functional action made up of multiple interconnected elements that change in time and space (Vallacher & Nowak, 1997). This perspective considers that emotions cannot be understood in isolation from other elements of the mind, as response mechanisms integrated in complex structures. The behaviour of these structures cannot be explained without taking into account the processes of change, time and interdependence (Izard, 1991; Munné, 2005; Velasco, 1999). The present study adopts this new approach in order to pose, rather than solve, further questions, through the analysis of the characteristics of dynamical systems and their possible application to the study of emotion mechanisms.