Microlevel linkage

Much of human emotion unfolds in social contexts. Indeed, the close association of social and emotional functioning in the context of ongoing interpersonal transactions has been noted by several investigators (Campos et al., 1989; Ekman, 1992; Lazarus, 1991). In particular, a number of specific interconnections of social and emotional functioning have been identified (see Keltner & Haidt, 1999, for a review). In very systematic ways, for example, emotional experience relates to specific types of social relationships. The experience of embarrassment and shame relates to perceptions of low social status vis-a-vis others (Gilbert & Trower, 1990); the experience of anger arises from the perception of wrongful actions by others (Lazarus, 1991); and the experience of joy arises from unfettered social play (Boulton & Smith, 1992).

Ever since Darwin's (1872) work on emotional expression, scientists have recognized the critical role of emotional behavior in signaling conspecifics. One type of behavioral signaling performs an informative function. That is, facial and vocal displays of emotion communicate information in a fairly reliable fashion to receivers about the senders' emotion and their social intentions (e.g., Ekman, 1993, Fridlund, 1992; Scherer, 1986). For example, senders' displays of embarrassment communicate appeasement and a future intent to submit to the receivers' desires (Keltner & Buswell, 1997). Emotions also clearly have an evocative function in social interactions. That is, emotional behaviors have the capacity to elicit responses from others that are relevant to the emotional situation or event. For example, smiling evokes affiliative tendencies (Keltner & Bonanno, 1997); displays of anger motivate fear responses in others (Oehman, 1986); and, perhaps most relevant to this chapter, displays of sadness and distress typically elicit sympathy, helping, and increased proximity to the individual (Averill, 1968). In sum, it is clear that social and emotional functioning work together to form a dense network, and that disturbances in various parts of this network might contribute to the problematic interpersonal functioning that is characteristic of depression.

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