Affect and affordances: The role of action and emotion in social interaction

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    In adopting new theoretical advancements within cognitive science, emotion studies, and ecological psychology, this paper explores how the notion of affordances gains strength and explanatory power by being linked to the notions of affect and emotion. In doing so, it is claimed that the notions of direct perception and affordances can be used to analyse and understand the trajectory of fast and on-going choices that underlies human interaction as an ecological alternative to the micro-sociological perspective of Conversation Analysis. This perspective is laid out in in-depth analyses of three real-life examples from three different organizational settings: an emergency ward at a hospital, a school for children with special needs, and a kindergarten. Inherent in each setting one finds a pre-defined set of expectations of how specific actions are carried out by the participants to achieve organizational goals. However, in each example, slightly different and surprising actions are accomplished during the on-going interaction. As the participants engage in the task, they use the affordances of the environment - including other individuals - differently, which highlights the complicated nature of affordances in relation to social interaction. The situations all entertain a number of potential affordances; yet only one (or at least few) is enacted. It is argued that this choice - a pull towards certain aspects at the expense of others - is saturated by emotionality and affective involvement. Finally, these findings are used to illustrate how emotion and cognition can be re-thought, not as distinct processes, but as intertwined in an organism-environment-system.

    TidsskriftCognitive Semiotics
    Udgave nummer1
    Sider (fra-til)79-103
    StatusUdgivet - 31. maj 2016


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