Dear Reader: Changing cognition changes emotions, but does cognition or emotions drive behavior?

Date:  2020-07-26

Dear Reader,

Psychological therapy and 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?

Evidence-based therapies – including Emotional Intelligence – use the concept that in an emotional significant event, changing cognitive activities changes emotions. But that doesn’t prove that emotions change the biology that drives behavior. Behavior may help understand and describe emotions, but again that doesn’t prove that emotions drive behavior.  The concept of emotions driving behavior is a cognitive construct written by Homer in his Iliad almost 3000-years-ago and has been the accepted linguistic paradigm ever since.  But that doesn’t make it real either.

There are very few books of psychology that attempt to string together the cause and effect process between cognition, biology, emotions, and behavior, and for good reason.  Logically, the perception of an emotion cannot happen before there are biological changes in the brain and body to be perceived and these are the biological changes necessary for driving behavior. Therefore, emotions cannot change the biology that drives behavior and emotions perceive.  That is a terrible sentence but that is how emotional regulatory theory writes out; emotions change the biology that drives behavior, and that emotions then perceive.

Newtonian physics works, but it didn’t bring about the nuclear age. Emotional regulation works, but psychological, psychiatric, and pharmacological theory of aberrant emotion driving destructive behavior arising from emotional dysregulation and disorder which requires emotional regulation and control is derived from 3000-year-old religious and literary linguistics. Emotions-as-effect theory works and is logical and increases the efficacy of evidenced based therapies by reinforcing their evolutionary foundation (ref. attached manuscript).

Emotions-as-effect theory is derived from modern evolutionary science and cognitive research and changes the 3000-year acceptance of aberrant emotion driving destructive behavior because of emotional dysregulation; (1) cognition stimulates the (2) emotional neurology that creates, changes, and sustains the (3) biochemical physiology of the brain and body that activates a (4) sensory neurology of the brain and body that conscious perceives as (5) good and bad feeling emotions, feelings, and moods. Consciousness then uses this emotional awareness and understanding to modulate (1) cognitive activities which stimulates (2) emotional neurology that creates….

(see diagram 1 below from attached manuscript (8700 words), “Emotions-as-Effect Theory: The Linguistic Semantics of Emotional vs. Cognitive Regulation”)


Emotions-as-Effect Theory

Emotions and feelings are felt. Good and bad feeling emotions (and feelings) are the perception, by consciousness, of a biochemical physiology within the body and the brain precipitated by an evolved and nurtured cognitive neural circuitry. Because emotions and feelings are perceptions of an internal state of biology precipitated by cognition, emotions and feelings are a reflection of, and give insights into, the nature of this cognitive behavior. Also, because emotions and feelings are not causal, emotions and feelings are neither destructive nor constructive but rather they are indicators towards the presence of very real destructive and constructive – and causal – cognitive behaviors. Correlations between cognition, healthy biochemical physiology, and good feeling emotions and feelings are a result of millions of years of evolutionary survival for the health and well-being of the individual – as are the correlations between bad feeling emotions and feelings and an unhealthy biology. Now the question is, how are these correlations between cognition, biology, emotions and feelings, and consciousness understood, nurtured, and developed within a society for an individual’s health, wealth, and general well-being through their own successful decision-making and creativity?



Andrew O. Jackson