Inquiring into the social psychology of emotions

Inquiring into the
social psychology of

Critical Social Psychology

Inquiry 1

Essential questions

Are emotions biological or learnt?

Do males and females experience the same

Is it possible to be over emotional?

Does culture have an influence over emotions?

How is emotion effectively regulated

What mainstream social psychology
had to say?

Emotions are involuntary feelings

Emotions are universal across the genders; felt the same but
expressed differently (Parennhas, 2001).

People can be have excessive emotions in when induced by
diseases such as bipolar or at times alcohol abuse (Petersen et
al, 2012).

Culture has an influence on emotion due to beliefs instilled
(Kotchemidova, 2011)

Emotional regulation is possible and at the same time
important; Leads to emotional intelligence (Gross, 2009).

(Critical) Inquiry 2

Revised ‘essential questions’, :

Does MSP naturalize emotions? It so how?

Does MSP consider the genesis of emotions?

Does MSP account for different ways emotions are
experienced across the sexes?

What is the subject’s role in emotions.

Which model does the subject use? Is it agentistic, organismic
or mechanistic?

What we can say, based alternative theory/studies (Critical
Social Psychology):

MSP naturalizes emotions by discussing the topic as a
manifestation of our conscious functions.

MSP appreciates the string implications of subjective
differences and their impact on emotions (Garside and
Klimes, 2011).

There have been several studies conducted with the aim of
understanding the interaction between emotion and gender so
as to separate myth from fact (Grodal, 2009).

The subject plays an active role in emotions by internalizing
the different issues that (s)he faces.

Key Ideas that have been

  1. Emotional intelligence is trained. Biologically then trained

Men and women have similar emotions but express it
differently. They are made differently which sets them apart in
different situations

Yes. We can be culturally conditioned to experience and
express emotions

Is over emotional judged by society or an individual?
People can be seen as over-emotional if they behave outside of
social norms


I discovered…

Emotions are part of us but we need to understand and
manage them.

The society a person grows in determines his/her emotional
make-up (Brown, 2011).

Emotional problems can be a result of illness or substance

It seems that…

Emotion is affected directly by both nurture and nature.

A better understanding of emotions can be acquired through
a case by case basis because cultural, biological and health
issues have a direct bearing on one’s emotions.


Parreñas, R. S. (2001). Mothering from a distance: Emotions, gender, and intergenerational relations in Filipino
transnational families. Feminist studies,27(2), 361-390.

Garside, R. B., & Klimes-Dougan, B. (2002). Socialization of discrete negative emotions: Gender differences
and links with psychological distress. Sex Roles,47(3-4), 115-128.

Petersen, M. B., Sznycer, D., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2012). Who Deserves Help? Evolutionary Psychology,
Social Emotions, and Public Opinion about Welfare. Political psychology, 33(3), 395-418.

Gross, J. J. (Ed.). (2009). Handbook of emotion regulation. The Guilford Press.

Brown, R. (2011). Prejudice: Its social psychology. Wiley-Blackwell.

Kotchemidova, C. (2010). Emotion Culture and Cognitive Constructions of Reality. Communication
Quarterly, 58(2), 207-234.

Grodal, T. K. (2009). Embodied visions: Evolution, emotion, culture, and film. Oxford University Press.