In this paper we present a novel approach to a grounded synthesis of emotional appraisal, based on a multicausal model of the appraisal process. We investigate the functional nature of emotion by implementing a robotic model in a predator/prey scenario which is able to discriminate and anticipate outcomes through emotional appraisal. The robots evolve to react in apparently emotional ways, showing how the functionality of emotion can emerge naturally. We demonstrate through this implementation the value of emotion appraisal as a form of anticipation. This supports the view that emotional behavior can often be seen as an effective alternative to rational cognition. Our effort here is to build a model that can be simultaneously seen as belonging to both NCS and more classical theorizing based on cognitions and representations, understandable both mechanically and subjectively from a human standpoint.