This Editorial reviews the challenges and advantages posed by a functional perspective on the relationships among emotion, behavior, and cognition. We identify the core themes among the articles published as part of this Special Issue. The articles generally address two important questions: (1) are emotions functional and what is their impact on behavioral and cognitive processes, and (2) how do the interactions among emotion, cognition, and behavior play out in particular situations that present adaptive challenges? We also identify two core questions raised by the articles included in this Special Issue. Future research must address the extent to which emotions are best represented as discrete emotional constructs (e.g., anger, sadness, fear) versus emotions that vary along dimensions, such as valence and arousal. Functional perspectives would also be facilitated by identification of situations or environments that are likely to elicit particular emotions and reactions.
Keywords: behavior; cognition; emotion; functional perspectives.