Dear Center for Emotional Intelligence: Emotions Illusion

Date: 2020-07-24

Dear Emotional Intelligence Center,

I am passionately committed to your research mission “…to use the power of emotions to create a healthier, and more equitable, innovative, and compassionate society, today and for future generations” because “…. the well-being and sustainability of our society depends on each of us using our emotions wisely.”  But basic emotion theory cannot be just accepted.

My referenced paper, “Emotions-as-Effect Theory: The Linguistic Semantics of Emotional vs. Cognitive Regulation” can be found on

Science vs. Shakespeare

Have English-speaking researchers’ core beliefs of emotions – which may have been neurolinguistically molded from childhood (Kemmerer, 2015) through family interactions and in later years through reading literary works such as Dickens’ Great Expectations, Poe’s The Raven, and Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – impacted their current understanding and scientific research about emotions and cognition (Tomasello, 2005)? A shared cultural and linguistic development (Bavin, 2012; Allen, 2019) of core beliefs and conceptual understandings about emotions is required for young students to comprehend and follow the emotional twists and turns within these popular English literary works. As students mature and are introduced to the more advanced works of William Shakespeare and others, comprehension is even more dependent upon prior assimilation of cultural and linguistic paradigms (Evans, 2017; Kenrick, et al., 2015). Conceptions of emotions are further reinforced by the logic and reason applied in today’s scientific literature, research, and discussions about emotions (Ekman & Davidson, 1994).

The term “emotion” is a misleading linguistic cognitive construct of a civilized, literary, and religious humanity (Bavin, 2012; Noss & Grangaard, 2008) that has caused psychological theory to ignore the dynamic relationship between cognition and emotion within the context of emotion’s evolutionary function to modulate cognitive re-processing activities. Professor Randolph M. Nesse writes in Good Reasons for Bad Feelings: Insights from the Frontier of Evolutionary Psychiatry (2019. New York, NY: Allan Lane), “Why did natural selection leave us so vulnerable to so many mental disorders?” The short answer is that evolution didn’t; civilized man did.

(ref Emotions-as-Effect Theory: The Linguistic Semantics of Emotional vs. Cognitive Regulation”)

For hundreds – or is it thousands – of years science has moved ideas, theories, and paradigms forward.  Paradigms accepted and taught for a life time change. That is science. My question is, would you be able to accept a new paradigm if it happened to you?  Would you be willing to listen to a new construct of the emotion/cognition relationship that advances into a new arena that which you have known, studied, and maybe even taught for a lifetime?

When Einstein’s theories predicted that gravity would bend light, scientists went back to Newtonian physics and found that it was there all along, if they had known to look.  But it was his understanding of energy-mass equivalency that put science into the nuclear age and changed the world forever.

Psychiatric pharmacology for depression, bipolar illness, paranoid schizophrenia and other emotional dysfunctional disorders is based in a theory of emotional dysfunction and the need for emotional regulation. This theory works and has provided the bases for the best available evidence-based medicine. But what if this theory can be proven to misrepresent the evolved cognitive/emotional dynamic regulatory mechanism?

I wrote a paper (8700 words) presenting a new paradigm of the emotional/cognitive dynamic regulatory mechanism.  I quote “Emotional Regulation: Conceptual and Empirical Foundations”, an article by Prof. James Gross of Stanford University and use his process model for setting the stage and understanding of current emotional regulatory theory.  But the key to move this emotional/cognitive dynamic regulatory mechanism forward into a new and different cognitive and linguistic construct lies within the “changes in experiential, behavioral, and neurobiological response systems”. Yes, there is an emotional response, but the significance of this response can only be seen and understood by further processing these “emotional responses” into a cause and effect analysis.  I transform this cause and effect analysis into my paper, “Emotions-as-Effect Theory: The Linguistic Semantics of Emotional vs. Cognitive Regulation.” (see attached Figure 1 on the back page from paper)

Newtonian physics works, but it didn’t bring about the nuclear age. Emotional regulation works, but understanding how it works is vital to the advancement of emotional science. Psychological, psychiatric, and pharmacological theory of aberrant emotion driving destructive behavior arising from emotional dysregulation and disorder which requires emotional regulation and control is based within 3000-year-old religious and literary linguistics.  Emotions-as-effect theory is based in modern evolutionary science and cognitive research and changes the 3000-year acceptance of aberrant emotion driving destructive behavior because of emotional dysregulation.

 Emotions-as-Effect Theory (Abstract)

“Goddess, sing me the anger, of Achilles, Peleus’ son, that fatal anger that brought countless sorrows on the Greeks and sent many valiant souls of warriors down to Hades, leaving their bodies as spoil for dogs and carrion birds: for thus was the will of Zeus brought to fulfilment” (Homer, 800-700/2009). With these beginning words written almost 3000 years ago, Homer’s Iliad linguistically sabotaged hundreds of millions of years of emotional evolution. The civilized arena was staged for aberrant emotion driving destructive behavior. In turn, this destructive behavior arising from emotional dysregulation and disorder required emotional regulation and control. Emotions-as-effect theory reconstructs the evolutionary bases of good- and bad-feeling emotions as the perception, by consciousness, of a biochemical physiology within the body and the brain precipitated by an evolved and nurtured cognitive neural circuitry. Emotions, feelings, and moods are perceptions of an internal state of biology precipitated by cognition. Homer’s emotions, feelings, and moods are a carefully nurtured neurolinguistic cognitive construct of the mind. Contrary to the linguistics of Homer, emotions are not causal, and they are neither destructive nor constructive; rather, they are indicators of the presence of very real destructive and constructive – and causal – cognitive behaviors.


1) Emotions-as-effect theory uses the principles of evolution to understand and to define emotions as the good- and bad-feeling perception of neurological and biological changes within the brain and body precipitated by cognitive activities stimulating an “emotional” neurology. This “emotional neurology” is not emotions but rather the neurology that activates the changes in neurological and biochemical physiology of the brain and body that are then perceived as emotions.

  1. Through the evolutionary process, good feeling emotions, feelings, and moods correlate with a healthy, vigorous, and vital physiology of the brain and body.
  2. Likewise, through the evolutionary process, bad feeling emotions, feelings, and moods correlate with an unhealthy, weak, and debilitated physiology of the brain and body.
  3. Therefore, emotions, feelings, and moods are indicators of physiological states of the brain and body and can be used to evaluate cognitive activities.

2) Evidence-based practices such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) with its theory of adaptive information processing (AIP), forgiveness therapy, mindfulness, positive psychology, and interpersonal psychotherapy are all founded on the notion of changing cognitive activities and emotional awareness. Cognitive activities are ultimately evaluated by the existence of good- or bad-feeling emotions. This is the use of emotions-as-effect theory.

3) Recognizing emotions-as-effect theory within modern evidence-based practices will improve their efficacy because emotions can be re-entrusted with their evolutionary role.

4) Evolution has orchestrated, biologically speaking, a morality in which what feels good is good and what feels bad is bad. Now, humanity must nurture new algorithms that pivot emotionally negative cognitive activities onto emotionally positive cognitive activities that reflect a healthy biology and compassion and respect for the self and others.

(ref. “Emotions-as-Effect Theory: The Linguistic Semantics of Emotional vs. Cognitive Regulation”)

 Responsibilities of a Doctor of Philosophy

Since I began voicing my concerns over psychological and pharmaceutical therapeutic methodologies erroneously based within causal aberrant and destructive emotions, over a million (MILLION) Americans have committed suicide, millions of other people have been put in incarcerating conditions that only amplify their psychological injuries, and mass shootings continue with no review of the psychological environments that are fostering all of these atrocities and that are oblivious to emotions’ evolutionary design.  Lack of academic questioning and review of psychological and pharmacological emotional theory is a true crime against humanity.

My interest really is to move cognitive/emotional science into a new dimension. Emotions-as-effect theory does not negate emotional intelligence, it will increase its efficacy because emotional science will no longer be based in a 3000-year-old illusionary emotional dysregulation theory.  I hope we can come to an understanding that benefits your current academic world of emotional intelligence and the future world of cognitive, instead of emotional, regulation for the prevention and intervention of psychopathology and for the establishment and maintenance of mental health, prosperity, and well-being within the individual and within the culture and society of our world as a whole.



Andrew O. Jackson

The following referenced manuscripts that I wrote can be found on:

  • “Emotions-as-Effect Theory: The Linguistic Semantics of Emotional vs. Cognitive Regulation,” 8700 words
  • “Memoir: “Hell on Earth (As Is Heaven),” 4600 words
  • “Symbiotic Psychology: The Synergy Between Mind, Body, Emotions, and Consciousness,” 78,000 words