Emotion

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Emotion refers to short-lasting affective states which occur in response to significant life events.

Emotions are complex - they involve physiology, cognition, behaviour, and social communications, as well as feelings. However, the main reason for the occurrence of different emotions is that they each serve a motivational function.

What is emotion?[edit | edit source]

Emotion is not easily defined. It involves the complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviours, and conscious experience".[1]

More simply, it's how we feel about things. Many of the chapters will follow delve into conceptualising emotion and particular aspects of emotion - both what affects emotion and how emotion affects behaviour and thinking.

  • "short-lived, feeling-purposive-expressive-bodily responses that help us adapt to the opportunities and challenges we face during important life events" (Reeve, 2018, p. 288)
  • "synchronised brain-based systems that coordinate feeling, bodily response, purpose, and expression so to ready the individual to adapt successfully to life circumstances" (Reeve, 2018, p. 289)
  • "short-lived psychological-physiological phenomena that represent efficient modes of adaptation to changing environmental demands" (Levenson, 1994, p. 123)

Questions about emotion[edit | edit source]

  • What is an emotion?
  • What causes an emotion?
  • What type of emotions are there?
  • What functions do emotions serve?
  • How can we regulate emotions?
  • What is the difference between emotion and mood?
  • How can emotion be measured?
  • What are the consequences of emotion?
  • How can emotion be changed?
  • How and why did emotions evolve?
  • How are the emotions of animals and humans similar and how do they vary?

Types of emotion[edit | edit source]

Emotions Image.jpg

Some of the main types of emotion are:

Emotion causes[edit | edit source]

Model of emotion (Reeve, 2015)

The causes of emotion are debated; they could be caused primarily by:

  • physiological responses first, followed by cognitive interpretation
  • cognitive responses first, followed by physiological responses
  • a combination of physiological and cognitive responses

Emotion images[edit | edit source]

What emotions do you think are depicted in each of these images?

To find more emotion pictures, visit the Motivation and Emotion gallery or go to the emotions category on Wiki Commons.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Myers, David G. (2004) "Theories of Emotion." Psychology: Seventh Edition, New York, NY: Worth Publishers, p. 500.