Friday, July 30, 2021

Emotion of surprise

Surprise has been cast as a basic emotion since Darwin's (1872). Surprise is defined as the negative log-probability of an outcome, i.e., how “likely” or “unlikely” a particular event, from a specific organism’s viewpoint to occur. The brain cannot compute “surprise” as such, but free energy can be evaluated and by “active inference.”

Active inference depends on two key processes: modifying sensory input “bottom-up” from sensory epithelia, including the interoceptive, affect-triggering receptors, and “top-down” from the cortex – and at intermediate levels in between.

There is wide agreement that surprise is an emotion arising from a mismatch between an expectation and what is actually observed or experienced.

An expectation is usually thought of as a mental representation of a stimulus or event that is aroused by some cue or set of cues that has regularly preceded that stimulus or event in the past.

Surprise has a significant emotional component, but it does focus more on the cognitive aspects of surprise in an attempt to understand its adaptive role; namely, that surprise helps people make sense of a sometimes bewildering and uncertain world.

Surprise will be only successful if:
*It is unexpected
*It does not, in retrospect, conflict with the information otherwise presented
*It inspires a significant reinterpretation of that information.
Emotion of surprise

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