Friday, June 14, 2019
Harold Anthony Lloyd, Law and the Cognitive Nature of Emotion: A Brief Introduction
"This article is the introductory article for the Wake Forest Law Review’s symposium edition for their February 22, 2019 symposium on “Cognitive Emotion and the Law.”
This article addresses common misunderstandings of the relation between emotion and reason in legal reasoning. As discussed, such misunderstandings arise from multiple sources: C.C. Langdell’s errant notion of law as an inductive science based upon redacted appellate cases, common misconceptions that equate emotion with feeling, and common misconceptions that equate emotion with irrationality.
Clearing up such confusion, this article briefly examines the cognitive nature of emotion, including its six elements: (1) intentionality involving at least one object, (2) an appraisal or other such cognitive response, (3) resulting desire or motivation, (4) core themes that distinguish different emotions, (5) acuteness, and (6) personal stake or concern.
As a practical example of cognitive emotion, this article explores and parses anger and frustration on a personal level. It also does the same at the doctrinal level by noting the benefits and drawbacks of contract law’s privileging frustration over anger in favoring damage awards over penalties. This article also explores and parses guilt, remorse, and regret as a means of improving lawyer mental health and emotional intelligence.
This article closes by noting insights of modern neuroscience on the interrelation of emotion and reason and provides an appendix distinguishing four affective states: emotions, moods, sentiments, and traits."