Conflict is basic to living, and emotion is fundamental to the emergence and resolution of conflict. Early theoretical approaches to emotion described it in terms of physiological states, but more recent research points to its connection to cognitive appraisal and goal progress. Specifically, emotion is characterized as mediating between cognition and behavior. This review identifies shortcomings of the “emotion as a mediator” approach, including its overemphasis on negative emotions as well as its failure to consider the complicated role of human agency. A new model is proposed that incorporates constrained agency, positive emotion, and cognitive appraisal as components of a feedback loop.

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