This chapter addresses the two main mysteries of psychopathology: what causes psychological illnesses and what maintains them. One prevalent view is that both result from faulty reasoning. Yet, healthy individuals also err in their reasoning. The chapter outlines an alternative account, the hyper-emotion theory that attributes these illnesses to emotions of a pathological intensity.
These hyper-emotions enhance patients’ reasoning, which in turn prolongs their illnesses. Empirical studies corroborate this theory.
They show that basic emotions tend to occur al the onset of psychological illnesses, that psychiatrists and patient can identify the strategies of reasoninf in different illnesses, even when the content is held constant, and that patients suffering from a psycholocical illness reason better than control participants about contentspertinent to their illnesses. Psychological illnesses are acordingly disorders in emotion, not intellect.