SOC327 2017 Tut2 – Mon 1330

We have long conceived of a separation between mind and body in western society, with supremacy of mind over body. This basic idea that reason should dominate is captured in the classic statement by Descartes ‘cogito ergo sum’, ‘I think, therefore I am’. However, if your thoughts are affected by your bodily feelings, or even your perceptions of how the society around you sees you, then what are you? What are your thoughts? Are they really separate from your body and your feelings? And do we have a better understanding of the relationship between reason and emotion as a society today? Compare Disney’s take on the role of emotions in human action in 1943 and in 2015 (and note that the producers of the 2015 ‘Inside Out’ film considered including ‘logic’ as an emotion, but later decided to drop it). Which of these depictions makes more sense to you?

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23 Comments

  1. I feel as though the body and the mind, though separate, should be considered two working parts of one whole. This has a lot to do with the idea that neither could function successfully without the other. So, while it is important that the mind (emotions/reason) in a way controls the body, it is necessary to recognise that the mind also needs the body in order to be useful in any real way.
    I think the changes in perception of emotion, as put forward by the Disney examples, are pretty interesting. I think it communicates a pretty necessary change in attitude towards emotions and the way in which they work. For example, in Inside Out it becomes the point of the film that the emotions must be considered in conjunction with one another, with each contributing equally to the person, in order to fully construct an accurate human experience. This is quite the opposite of the short film, as in the short film emotion and reason are considered independent with not much room being made for the two to work equally. I think now we understand that these things must have as equal parts as possible within the mind in order to achieve goals and make well rounded decisions.
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    • I agree with Caitlin. Although the concept of body and mind is easy to think of as two independent entities, in a modernized western society, it is becoming increasingly obvious that our emotions and feelings have a great potential to affect us physically. When considering the human existence as a machine, once separated into its component parts, it cannot function properly. Thus, without mind we have no working body and without body we have no working mind.

      In 1998, Jack Barbalet introduces the concept of a continuum on which both emotion and reason exist, thus disregarding the conventional approach which considers emotion and reason as opposing characters that cannot lie on the same spectrum. This type of conventional approach to understanding the mind/body split is portrayed in Disney’s 1943 animation, an outdated and controversial representation of the topic. In comparison, the movie ‘Inside Out’ portrays a mind/body cohesion rather than a split, where five basic emotions converge in order to operate the human machine to its full capacity whilst drawing from reason along the way to produce the best possible responses to then retrieve the most beneficial outcomes.

      I think, when concerning ourselves with the interrelationship between emotion and rationality it is only when we accept that they are continuously feeding off each other, that we can explore and understand the complexity that is the human existence.

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  2. I find Disney’s 1943 depiction of reason and emotion to be outdated, not only with the sexist portrayals, but with the suggestion that one does not have control over one’s emotion. I do not believe that we are in a constant internal battle between reason and emotion. Disney’s attitude toward reason and emotion follows the conventional approach, in which the two are opposed to each other (Barbalet 1998). Instead, I believe that reason and emotion work together to create a fully functioning human, though it may not always be harmonious in times of increased emotion as a result of our experiences. An example of a time of increased emotion would be if I was angry and wanted to yell and scream. My reason would remind me that that is not acceptable behaviour in our society. In this scenario, the two may struggle for equilibrium, but not control. Ultimately they work together to ensure I uphold the norms and expectations of society.
    I think Inside Out is a more accurate and modern depiction of the way we understand and perceive reason and emotion in western society today. As logic (reason) was cut as a potential character, it suggests that the producers recognised reason as a separate entity to emotion. It showed each of the feelings of fear, joy, disgust, anger, and sadness working as a team to create stability.
    Overall, as Hippocrates suggested about dualism, I believe your thoughts are affected by your feelings, while your feelings can also be manipulated by your thoughts. If you are feeling sad, your thoughts will likely become pessimistic and sad as a result. You can choose to alter this by actively thinking positively, which often results in a change in mood and outlook.

  3. Since the Enlightenment period, the dichotomy between reason and emotion has been ruled by rationality, however contemporary society seems to be challenging the superiority of the mind. The 2015 Disney film Inside Out demonstrates that the role of emotions is becoming more understood in Western culture and suggests a shift away from the thinking of Plato and Descartes.
     
    Moreover, there is an increasing amount of discussion that regards rationality and emotion as collaborative. This reinforces Barbalet’s (1998) theory that the two are continuous; we experience emotions while we are rationally calculating, and emotions can help us make rational decisions that formal rational approaches cannot produce.
     
    I agree with Barbalet, that reason and emotion are intrinsically connected. I also strongly believe that rationality is a social construct, and hence is influenced by a changing socio-political climate. The dualism between reason and emotion is historically linked to the binary between men and women, in which women occupy the subordinate position. Consequently, the current movement for gender equality is also changing the perception of emotionality, which is inherently linked to femininity.

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    • I agree with Eryn, as the 2015 film Inside Out most definitely plays reference to Barbelet’s radical approach to understanding emotions. The film represents these emotions as ‘they are all in your head’. They are continuous and calculative, and work together to find a rational outcome, but in contrast this film also successfully represents that irrational emotions can disturb the rational process. This film further shows that the stimulus we experience every day in social exchanges can affect the way in which we respond to different circumstances. This film, therefore, is a much more ‘modern day’ representative of the mind and body dynamic than once was previously though in 1943, and in past years dating all the way back to the Ancient Greeks. But I think it is also clear, that there is going to be a ceaseless battle to un-blur the lines of reason and emotion, mind and body, and with this point, Barbalet (1998) paper agrees.

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  4. In Western societies I think many have valued mind and reason over emotions for many decades, especially with sayings like “think with your head, not your heart”. This type of thought process being circulated within society has definitely made rationality the ‘pilot’ and pushed emotion into a ‘co-pilot’ situation, as seen in Disney’s 1943 animation.
    However, recently we have noticed emotion more, and how the emotional context of a situation can influence our mind and thought processes. Which has made the image of emotion and reason portrayed in Disney’s clip less true, as neither is ‘in charge’ at a given time but more as a team working together.
    If we delve further into the discussion however, we can see how society shapes our thoughts and emotions in certain situations, thus determining which is valued more for a person; emotion or reason. And depending on which is valued more or less determines whether they rely on their emotions or their thoughts, or for some they can be interconnected. The whole idea is not as simple as mind is more important or the body is more important.

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  5. Alongside ‘What are our thoughts’ can it also be asked ‘Are our thoughts really our own’? Rather than a separation from our bodies and feelings I believe it is more accurate to consider our thoughts as generated and partially influenced by our body, feelings and the society surrounding us in the sense that the state of one can impact the other. For example, if an individual is feeling negative, coming up and having positive feelings could be more difficult especially if they do not have a solid support network – however, if support in present a separate outside perspective may shed new light on a previous state of mind that then seems irrational.

    I agree that as a society today we have a better understanding of the complex dynamics that are present between reason and emotion. The 1943 depiction by Disney largely presents a ‘simple and singular’ division between reason and emotion. This is illustrated through a split relationship between reason and emotion with one being control flipping between one and the other (quoted through “reason firmly in the drivers seat, with emotion by his side”).

    Disney’s 2015 depiction of emotion through Inside Out shows the advance in understanding emotions through the continuous interplay between emotions (and the presentation of their reasoning). For example, the joyful memory of playing hockey switches to that of sadness and longing as she comes to realise she is in a new city. Barbalet (1998 p.52) identifies this complex interconnection whereby “the critical and radical approaches to the relation between emotions and rationality demonstrate the contribution of particular emotions to rational action”.

    While both attempts make sense to a certain degree, I consider the 2015 (Inside Out) depiction as making more sense due to the way the emotions (characters) are presented as operating in alongside each other while we go about our daily routines of reasoning. This idea is explored within the lecture through the ability of emotions to motivate – “Emotions complement rationality, in that they set goals for action – we cannot make rational decisions without attaching some sort of emotional valence to an outcome”.

  6. Throughout Western history, the conventional approach has been accepted, with humans being encouraged to push all emotions to the back in favour of reason. Society today generally has a changed perspective on emotion, understanding that both emotion and reason are important factors in making rational decisions.

    The 1943 Disney film uses a traditional, conventional approach to describe the contrast between emotion and reason, which ends up showing emotion as a barbaric, stupid individual, and reason as a thoughtful, proper individual. In comparison, the 2015 movie, Inside Out, explores the connection that body and mind have at a deeper level, describing the importance of each. The film shows all of the main character’s emotions working in unity in order to maintain a rational sense of mind. Inside Out follows a more radical approach, discussed by Barbalet (1998), where emotions are needed to be continuous with reason so that appropriate decisions that self-satisfy an individual are made. This movie is able to make a more educated reference towards emotion and reason, as it accepts that both attributes are needed for an individual to maintain the traits that separate them from other animals.

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  7. To say that emotion and reason are completely opposed with each other, and therefore unable to work together and drive humans to opposite poles of action, is to pose an unrealistic view of the human psyche. As anyone can tell you, in many cases, decisions are made every day by weighing up both the emotional and the reasonable response to the stimuli at hand.
    The 1943 Disney short film seems to subscribe to the former idea about the emotion and reason duality, that is, the idea that neither can work with the other, and are in a constant battle for control. However, the 2015 film, ‘Inside Out’ presents a far more modern and inclusive understanding of emotions and how they interact with our daily lives. The ideas about emotions within ‘Inside Out’ show them to be working together to achieve a common goal. As Barbalet stated in the paper on emotion and rationality, “If emotions distract persons from their purposes, then, at the same time, emotions establish afresh what their purposes are to be. Viewed from this perspective, emotions need not oppose reason so much as give it direction.” Barbalet (1998) This is a far more realistic perspective for the emotion/reason split.
    This discussion may never be settled, for even in modern times, modern western neurosciences still places more value on the rational thinking parts of the mind far above the emotions of the body for day to day living.

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  8. “I think, therefore I am.” Society influences everything and everyone in it, but that does not mean our thoughts are not our own. Everything is shaped by context and society is the context of our thoughts and steers us to think about important topics, not how to think of them. I agree that as a society today we have a better understanding of the complex dynamics that are present between reason and emotion, as well as the complexities of each individually. The 1943 depiction of this split by Disney largely presents a ‘simple and singular’ separation between emotion and reason. This is illustrated through a rocky relationship between reason (the mature and level headed character) and emotion (the barbaric and wild character) with one being in control or “in the driver’s seat.”
    Disney’s 2015 depiction of emotion through Inside Out shows the advance in understanding emotions through the continuous interplay between what is considered the key human emotions; joy, sadness, disgust, fear and anger. An example of this interplay between emotions can be seen when sadness touches a joyful ‘core memory’ of protagonist Riley playing hockey with her family, and that memory turns blue with the realisation things have changed. Barbalet recognises this interconnection as the “the relation between emotions and rationality demonstrate the contribution of particular emotions to rational action”. Every time we act, we attach a certain amount of emotion to the outcome as thinking without emotion can be time consuming when you need to decide something fast.
    While both attempts make sense to a certain degree, I consider the 2015 (Inside Out) depiction as making more sense due to the way the emotions (characters) are presented as operating in alongside each other while we go about our daily routines of reasoning. However, Inside Out is responsible for maintaining a stereotype of dominant gendered emotions. The five key emotions are set out in young Riley’s head with joy in control of a small control panel. When we are shown the mothers emotions, while they are all on a panel, sadness is the central emotion. When we are shown the fathers emotions, he is depicted re-watching sports with anger in the middle seat. Although this is a minor detail, it plays on the idea that women are overtly emotional while men are overtly aggressive. It is interesting to note that the director of Inside Out considered including ‘logic’ as an emotion, but I believe they show a more real representation with all emotions needing to agree for a decision to be considered “logical”. Especially considering what is logical is different to each individual.
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  9. Simone Schall’s Ted talk made the most sense to me. Discussing how emotions could affect one’s perceptions of reality was interesting, as I never thought emotions could change how the environment would appear to you. However I also thought it was a bold claim to say that objective reality doesn’t exist. While her evidence does make sense I disagree on the extent on emotions can shape reality. If one sees a large tree, it is still going to be a large tree no matter the emotional state. Regardless I mostly agree with her research and is an easy way to explain how emotions shape thought and reason. The Disney films from 1943 and 2015 were interesting to compare, and did raise major issues about how the media has a large influence on how we process our emotions.

    The 1943 film promotes emotions as being inferior to rational thought and the belief that they would eventually lead to undesirable outcomes. This belief has stemmed from western history and work of ancient authors, such as Plato, who argued that emotions would prevent individuals from achieving true knowledge. It is also completely outdated due to old stigmas and advances in neurobiology, as it is now understood that emotion and reason work together rather than being opposing forces fighting for control. The 2015 film demonstrates how the study of emotions has progressed and depicts emotions as being vital for leading a fulfilling life.

    I believe that some emotions are universal and that the way we react to them will be shaped by the context in which we live. However if our thoughts are shaped by society, are they really our thoughts? From learning about neurobiology, I’d argue that out thoughts are based on past experiences, in which society would play a major factor. I think there is a clear distinction between the mind and the body yet they are so closely linked together they work as one, as discussed in Barbalet’s radical approach.

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  10. The 1945 animated short shows that logic or reason is separate from the body eccentric emotions, it also depicts emotion from both gender observations as a negative and that reason is not developed until after infancy. (Reason and Emotion, 2007)

    The 2015 animated film ‘Inside Out’ suggests that emotions influence an individual’s perception of their surroundings (Inside Out trailer, 2015) This relates to the Ted-ex talk provided in the main post that suggest emotional state can influence the perception of a challenge. This could demonstrate that the modern example has a greater understanding of how emotions play into an individual understand and body. (Schnall, 2014.)

    It is interesting that both shorts depict the body as a separate vehicular construct from emotion, although as the Cinemablend article stated with the removal of logic in ‘Inside Out’, this could be due to narrative purposes. (Cinemablend, 2015) Although without the presence of narrative structure, this suggests a distinction between the cognitive mind and emotions.

  11. I feel that emotions are still considered by elements within society as depicted by Disney in 1943, where a battle between “savage” emotion and “civilised” rationality within the human condition exists. This is amply illustrated by the campaigns of the recent United States election. However, it seems the notion has become outdated, and to an extent, I agree.
    As demonstrated by the TED talk, I feel that whilst the old conceptions of rationality may still have a limited place within our understanding, it is no secret that demands of the body can influence emotion, which in turn has impacts upon the rationality of a human being. When I ignore the need for sustenance for example, my emotions may become negative as I begin to feel emaciated and subsequently my rationality may suffer. Thus, I must arrive at the conclusion that mind and body are an intertwined and non-separable entity, and that, to an extent, reality can be shaped by these influences. A person in a negative emotional state is likely to view objective reality differently to that of an optimist. The human conscience in my opinion is a spectrum of experience, logic and emotion that produces thoughts
    However, whilst it may seem contradictory, I feel that the human conscience also has the capacity to overwhelm its emotional tendencies. Yet, as asked within the original statement, perhaps this is rather than rationality winning the fight against its “caveman” opposite, it is fear of societal persecution that allows humans to suppress their emotion.

  12. Disney’s newest Inside Out movie shows a greater understanding of our emotions and ways in which we tend to reason. It depicts mannerisms that can be considered “out of line” (ways in which our emotion such as anger can take over our reasoning. But the modern movie shows five main emotions (joy, anger, sadness, disgust, and fear) that we each feel and how they work together to create the ways in which we react but also how they work together in order to reach a goal. But although reason and logic are considered separate, often how we feel depicts how we think or act. The 1943 depiction though shows us that people do not know how to actively think with reason or logic as there is an internal conflict when it comes to impulse control. Barbalet stated that “rational though and action avoid positive reference to emotion. Emotion is mentioned to only deny its importance or to warn against its disruptive influence on the proper conduct of human affairs”. Although nowadays this can still be seen in areas of life, it isn’t always the case – that you can use your emotions and reasoning together in order to make decisions.
    I agree with Ashleigh McIntosh @SocAshleigh, “emotions are universal and that the way we react to them will be shaped by the context in which we live. However, if our thoughts are shaped by society, are they really our thoughts?” – after this it was stated “that out thoughts are based on past experiences, in which society would play a major factor. I think there is a clear distinction between the mind and the body yet they are so closely linked together they work as one”. Our thought processes (that will always be influenced by society and our experiences), our still our own thoughts and still play a part in shaping our identities, personalities, AND the ways in which our emotions are expressed – which the ways we are socialised, don’t just shape our thoughts and emotions but in turn shape the ways we rationalise and use logic and reasoning.

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  13. What are your thoughts? Are they really separate from your body and your feelings? And do we have a better understanding of the relationship between reason and emotion as a society today?

    I personally think that my feelings correlate with my body as shown by Disney in both 1943 and in 2015. Though Inside Out shows a deeper understanding of how our emotions work, I would be lying if I stated that I haven’t had moments where I have felt similar to the man in Disney’s clip from 1943 where the emotion of fear takes over and causes my rational thinking to disfunction. Though when this happens, my body reacts to my emotions more like Riley in Inside Out, whether this is shown through the expressions shown on my face or the trembling in my hands.

    Above, Caitlin Rigney has commented that “the body and the mind, though separate, should be considered two working parts of one whole” and I completely agree with this statement. The 2015 film ‘Inside Out’ helps build a greater understanding of the connection of the mind and body by personifying emotions in order for the audience to see how our body language can represent our emotions. The greatest example of this is the way sadness is hunched and solemn, which we later physically view in the body language of Riley, causing us to see how the emotion connects with the body.

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  14. I personally think that my feelings correlate with my body as shown by Disney in both 1943 and in 2015. Though Inside Out shows a deeper understanding of how our emotions work, I would be lying if I stated that I haven’t had moments where I have felt similar to the man in Disney’s clip from 1943 where the emotion of fear takes over and causes my rational thinking to disfunction. Though when this happens, my body reacts to my emotions more like Riley in Inside Out, whether this is shown through the expressions shown on my face or the trembling in my hands.

    Above, Caitlin Rigney has commented that “the body and the mind, though separate, should be considered two working parts of one whole” and I completely agree with this statement. The 2015 film ‘Inside Out’ helps build a greater understanding of the connection of the mind and body by personifying emotions in order for the audience to see how our body language can represent our emotions. The greatest example of this is the way sadness is hunched and solemn, which we later physically view in the body language of Riley, causing us to see how the emotion connects with the body.

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  15. Historically, there has been conflicting perspectives shared on the relationship between the mind and the body. This has led to rationality being predominantly regarded as superior and to an extent still is today. However, my understanding is that there is an important relationship between the mind and the body. I believe thoughts and emotions are separate yet help shape and influence one another respectively. Therefore, I think the thoughts we have are our own. However, they may be shaped from emotions and societal influences such as cultural upbringing.

    Additionally, there has been significant improvement in our understanding of the connection between the mind and the body in Western society. This has been assisted through social research on the issue. Consequently, this progress can be observed in popular culture. For example, a Disney film produced in 1943 portrays an overly simplistic understanding of how reason and emotion oppose each other. This is reflective of the conventional approach (Barbalet 1998). Whereas, the film ‘Inside Out’ (2015) conveys how emotions are more critical to going about our daily lives. It is interesting to note that the producers of ‘Inside Out’ chose against including ‘logic’ as an emotion. This suggests that they considered logic (reason) to be separate from emotions. Ultimately, the second depiction makes more sense to me due to my aforementioned opinion that thoughts and emotions are separate yet work together to achieve the overall functioning of a human being in modern society.

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  16. Society today has a larger understanding of the complex dynamics between mind and body. Throughout western history, mind has always been seperate to the body. Humans have always been told to push their emotions to the side with reason as supremacy. I believe my thoughts are affected by my feelings and in reverse our feelings can also be affected by ones thoughts. A positive thought can result in a feeling of joy and excitement.

    I think that the 1943 Disney film is quite traditional through its simplistic division between reason and emotion, as the individual does not have control over emotions as reason is considered proper. Therefore this can be considered outdated as in today’s society the body and mind in fact work together in the creating of a human being. For example if a individual is being sad will as a result cry.
    It is evident that the 2015 Disney movie inside out rather is a more accurate way of depicting mind and body in today’s society, through everyday life.

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  17. Reason and emotional are individually represented in Disney’s 1943 short film. The sense of disconnection is suggested between these two entities which in reality would disadvantage an individual. Generally, acting impulsively (or emotion) provides a sense of excitement, although it can be argued that there is a possible outcome of dismay. This is reflective of Barbalet’s conventional approach where emotion is guided by the “sophisticated reason”. Similarly, The recent film “Inside Out” introduces 5 emotions that are regularly acted upon. “Inside Out” more accurately demonstrates the connection between the mind and body. James, W in “What is an Emotion” reinforces the purely physical response that is illustrated in order for an emotional response to be present. This deeper understanding of the complexity of physiology behind emotion is much more accepted in today’s society.

  18. I think that in society today we have a far better understanding of the complex relationship between reason and emotion. The view that the two are separate from each other is an outdated understanding, we were previously expected us to push all emotion out of the decision making process in favour of reason. Today society recognises that reason and emotion are both important factors in decision making.
    Disney’s 1943 and 2015 depictions of emotions present two completely different understandings of emotions. The 1943 short film by Disney seems to provide an outdated view of the relationship between reason and emotion, where the two are in a constant battle for control; they can’t work with each other when trying to make decisions.
    Disney’s 2015 film ‘Inside out’ provides an advanced and modern understanding of human emotions and how they influence out daily decisions. Through the presentation of the reasoning that each emotion shows when making a decision, the film explains how our different emotions interact with each other when we make decisions in day to day life.
    Our thought processes and emotions play a key part in the decisions we make every day, our emotions shape the way we rationalise our actions and decisions.
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  19. Disneys’ film ‘Inside Out,’ attempts to further demonstrate the role with which emotions affect your bodily functions, and how the a person is shaped by their environment, experiences and those around them. The film was created with the assistance of two psychologists, who were able to further develop the characters. An interview with the two psychologists, Paul Eckman and Dacher Keltman, revealed what the film portrayed truthfully as well as how the film would be different if it was set from the perspective of an adult.

    In comparison, the 1943 Disney film contrasts with the notion that there is a linkage between mind and body, by suggesting that an individual has limited control over there emotions. This portrayal suggested that sexes experiences emotions differently and that experiencing feminine emotions would reduce the masculinity of a male, suggesting he is inferior to his emotions.

    Personally, after considering the interview with the two psychologists, and the basis to which they considered the role of emotions and their impact upon bodily functions, I am more easily able to make sense of the newest portrayal. I believe that in modern society, the suggestion that mind and body are separate and that emotions are not experienced universally is an outdated concept. However, I believe that understanding the role and effect of emotions is still one which needs to be further examined. The role that our past experiences, familial relations and genetic makeup, can not be discredited and must be further understood in order to gain insight into how these may effect a persons emotional reaction to certain events and their bodily responses.

  20. The relevance of the conventional view of the mind/body split as expressed by Barbalet (1998) has began to diminish over time, as Western society acknowledges the equal importance of emotion and rational thinking in our decision making process. The out-dated view of emotion is definitely exposed in Disney’s 1943 animation “Reason and Emotion,” where Reason is depicted as a put-together gentleman, and Emotion a misbehaved caveman. Disney encourages the audience to disregard their emotional attributes and allow rationality to ‘take the wheel,’ completely opposing the two phenomenon. Disney’s modern representation of reason and emotion, a 2015 film ‘Inside Out,’ cleverly depicts the critical and rational approaches, depicting various emotions as relevant to our decision making. I believe this new animation highlights our more recent understanding of emotional influence on our rational thinking, and this is further highlighted by the fact that ‘logic’ was considered as an emotion to take part in the movie. ‘Logic’ as an emotion fits well in line with the rational approach referenced in Barbalet’s essay (1998), where emotion and rational thought work along a spectrum, therefore ‘Inside Out’ is a very relevant example of our new ways of thinking in terms of the mind/body split and the interrelation between emotion and reason.

  21. The separation concerning emotion and reason has been controlled by Rationality, thought the 21st century seems to contest the ascendancy of the mind and is affecting us both physically and mentally. When trying to consider the humans as a ‘machine’ in separate components like a car motor, we cannot operate at full capacity. Barbalet 1998, mentions that both emotion and reason work on a continuum as one entity, ignoring the rational approach. This consideration is illuminated in the movie ‘Inside Out’ where both the mind and body interrelate to form a complex organism with numerous emotions. Thus allowing emotion to to effect reason and vice versa. #S327UOW17 #Mon1330 #Tut2

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