Motivation and emotion/Book/2013/Emotion and human interaction

From Wikiversity
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Overview[edit | edit source]

This chapter aims at explaining the correlation between emotions and how these emotions in turn affect the way in which we interact with others. It looks at the factors that make up emotions, and the factors involved with interpersonal interaction individually, and then looks at the main question as a whole by combining the two and attempting to understand how these two factors impact one another. The main point carried across throughout the chapter is the numerous factors involved in emotion and how it develops and is expressed as well as the various concepts that must be looked at in order to explain how individuals interact with others.

Human Interaction[edit | edit source]

What is it[edit | edit source]

Social interaction is the exchange between two or more individuals is a building block of society. Social interaction can be studied between groups of two, know as dyads, groups of three, known as triads, or larger social groups. Through interacting with one another, people design rules, institutions, and systems within which they seek to live. Talking is a method of communication that is a model example of social interaction. Through social interactions like conversation, individuals are able to form groups and coordinate behavior. There are eight forms of social interaction, such as; nonverbal communication, exchange, cooperation, conflict, competition, stereotypes in everyday life, personal space, eye contact, and applied body language.

Forms of Communication[edit | edit source]

  • Nonverbal communication is the process of communicating by sending and receiving wordless messages. Nonverbal communication can be conveyed through the way we dress and our style. Nonverbal communication also occurs through the non-content parts of speech, such as voice quality, pace, pitch, volume, rhythm, and intonation as well as our gestures and posture which vary between cultural contexts.

Social exchange theory argues that people form relationships because they come to the conclusion that it is in their best interest to do so.

  • Social exchange theory is rooted in rational choice theory. In forming relationships, people exchange goods and services (including emotional support and interaction) and people stay in relationships when they believe that the exchange is beneficial. Individuals evaluate the worth of an action by subtracting the costs from the rewards.

Cooperation is the process of two or more people working or acting in collaboration or working together to achieve a desired outcome.

  • Cooperation can be coerced, voluntary, or unintentional and communication is necessary for cooperation to occur. Cooperation derives from an overlap in desires and is more likely if there is a relationship between the parties.
  • Social conflict is the struggle for agency or power within a society in order to gain control of scarce resources. Conflict theory argues that conflict is a normal and necessary part of social interaction. In other words, conflict is seen as part of the social landscape rather than an anomaly. According to the theory, conflict is motivated by pursuit of personal interests. All individuals and groups are interested in gaining control over scarce resources, and this leads to conflict. Once a particular party gets control of resources, that party is unlikely to release them. The Matthew Effect is the idea that those in control will remain in control.
  • Competition is a contest between people or groups of people for control over resources. People can compete over tangible resources, such as land, food, and mates, but also over intangible resources, such as social capital. Many evolutionary biologists view inter-species and intra-species competition as the driving force of adaptation and, ultimately, of evolution. Many philosophers and psychologists have identified a trait in most living organisms that can drive the particular organism to compete.
  • A stereotype is belief about a group of individuals that people apply to any given individual deemed to be a part of that group. Stereotypes are a heuristic, or tools to help humans process an overwhelming amount of information as we try to learn about the world around us. Stereotypes enable the development of in-groups and outgroups, which can lead to the poor treatment of outgroups. If someone is perceived to be different from you, you might have an easier time treating them poorly. Stereotypes distinguish people. The universal application of a stereotype to every perceived member of a group is prejudicial.
  • Personal space is the region or area surrounding a person that a person regards as psychologically their own. In general, the more intimate the relationship, the closer one is able to go into another's personal space. Negotiating these boundaries reflects on social proximity. Sociologists study personal space precisely because of social implications of distance in regard to relationships. Senses of personal space are culturally defined. Those who live in urban areas tend to require less personal space, for example. People in Western culture have different notions of personal space than people elsewhere.
  • Eye contact develops in a cultural context and different gazes or looks have varied meanings all over the world. Eye contact is an incredibly expressive form of nonverbal communication. Eye contact aligns with the relationship underlying the gaze. People who are close with one another look at each other’s eyes; avoiding eye contact can put distance between two individuals. The customs and significance of eye contact vary widely between cultures, with religious and social differences often altering its meaning greatly. For example, Japanese children are taught to direct their gaze at the region of their teacher’s Adam’s apple or tie knot.
  • And finally, body language is a crucial part of social interaction. Research has suggested that between 60 and 70 percent of all meaning is derived from nonverbal behaviour. One basic body-language signal is when a person crosses his or her arms. When the overall situation is amicable, it can mean that a person is thinking deeply about what is being discussed, but in a serious or confrontational situation, it can mean that a person is expressing opposition. Flirting is an example of applied body language. Sexual or romantic interest is primarily communicated through body language, which may include flicking one’s hair, eye contact, brief touching, open stances, and close proximity between partners.

Emotion[edit | edit source]

What Is It[edit | edit source]

Emotions are a powerful contributor to the behavior of humans. Strong emotions might cause a person to take actions that they normally would not perform, or avoid situations that they would generally enjoy. The question is why do people have emotions? What is the cause behind theses feeling individuals have? There are a number of different theories that have been proposed by researchers, philosophers and psychologists that attempt to explain the how and why behind human emotion. In psychology, emotion is often defined as a complex state of feeling that results in physical and psychological changes that influence thought and behavior. Emotionality is associated with a range of psychological phenomena including temperament, personality, mood and motivation. According to author David G. Meyers, human emotion involves "...physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." In order to fully understand emotion all these phenomena must be taken into account and looked at collectively.

Interesting Facts[edit | edit source]

Emotions have such a large role to the extent that we have over 600 English words to describe them verbally as well as 43 different facial 
muscles to express emotions physically. Although there are over 6,000 languages across the world, 90 percent of people across various 
cultures are quite easily able to distinguish whether someone is exhibiting surprise, happiness, or disgust simply by looking at the 
person’s facial expression. This is due to the fact that these emotions, when demonstrated through facial expressions, have a universally 
accepted image of how each emotion is depicted on a person’s face.

Overview of Theories[edit | edit source]

The major theories of emotion can be placed into three main categories; physiological, neurological, and cognitive. The physiological theories propose that responses that occur within the body are responsible for emotion. On the other hand, neurological theories suggest that activity within the brain is what leads to emotional responses. And finally, cognitive theories argue that thoughts and other mental activity play a crucial role in the development of emotion. The three main theories are; The James- Lang Theory of Emotion, The Cannon- Bard Theory of Emotion, and last, the Schatcher- Singer Theory.

James-Lange Theory[edit | edit source]

The James-Lange theory is one of the best-known examples of a physiological theory of emotion. Independently proposed by psychologist William James and physiologist Carl Lange, the James-Lange theory of emotion suggests that emotions occur as a result of physiological reactions to events. According to this theory, individuals see an external stimulus that leads to a physiological reaction. A person’s emotional reaction is dependent on how you interpret those physical reactions. For example, suppose a person is walking in the Sahara and they see an angry lion. The individual begins to tremble and their heart begins to race. The James-Lange theory proposes that the person will interpret their physical reactions and conclude that they are frightened, so if you are trembling you will conclude that you are afraid.

Cannon-Bard Theory[edit | edit source]

The next theory is The Cannon- Bard Theory of Emotion which is another well known theory. It was proposed in the 1920s by Walter Cannon and Philip Bard and directly challenges the James-Lange theory. Cannon and Bard's theory instead suggests that our physiological reactions, such as crying and trembling, are caused by our emotions. This theory states that people feel emotions and experience physiological reactions such as sweating, trembling and muscle tension simultaneously. More specifically, it is suggested that emotions result when the thalamus sends a message to the brain in response to a stimulus, resulting in a physiological reaction. While the James-Lange theory is largely discounted by modern researchers, there are some instances where physiological responses do lead to the experience of emotions. The development of panic disorder and specific phobias are two examples. An example of this can be seen when a person may experience a physiological reaction such as becoming ill in public, which then leads to an emotional reaction such as feeling anxious. If an association is formed between the situation and the emotional state, the individual might begin avoiding anything that might then trigger that particular emotion.

Schachter-Singer Theory[edit | edit source]

And the final theory which is also known as the two-factor theory of emotion, the Schachter-Singer Theory of Emotion is an example of a cognitive theory of emotion. This theory suggests that the physiological arousal occurs first, and then the individual must identify the reason behind this arousal in order to experience and label it as an emotion. According to this theory, there are two key components: physical arousal and a cognitive label. Similar to the James-Lange theory of emotion, Schachter and Singer felt that physical arousal played a crucial role in emotions. However, they suggested that this arousal was the same for a wide variety of emotions, this lead to the conclusion that physical arousal alone could not be responsible for emotional responses.

Genetic Predisposition[edit | edit source]

There are many traits, both physical traits such as hair colour and eye colour, and psychological traits and even predispositions to talents or abilities that a child will inherit from their parents. For example if a birthmother has musical talent, then her son, who has now been adopted into another family and has not been exposed to music lessons etc, might have a genetic predisposition to musical ability and exhibit these traits. On the other hand, there is also a chance that this genetic predisposition may never actually present itself as an ability. This means that even if this child is exposed to music lessons in his adoptive home, the child may still not present a talent or interest in music. This same concept applies to emotions. As well as genetic predispositions to talents and desired abilities, there is also a chance a child can inherit negative or undesired traits such as emotional disorders. In a comprehensive article on the genetic factors related to psychiatric disorders reported in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, the authors reported on a study that found a correlation between schizophrenia in siblings. The study by Kety, Rosenthal, Wender, Schulsinger and Jacobsen in 1975 found "13% of paternal half-siblings of adopted schizophrenics, compared with only 2% of control half-siblings, were diagnosed as being schizophrenic." It was also found that emotions such as anger and fear are also genetically predisposed and children can exhibit the same personality/emotional traits as their parents or family members.

Emotion and Human Interaction[edit | edit source]

Theories- Attachment Theory[edit | edit source]

Another crucial aspect of our emotions and how they affect the way in which we interact with others is seen through the evolution of our emotions and in particular, through attachment theory as it is believed that our nature as humans is to develop social connections, even as newborns we create social bonds with our primary caretaker. There are three attachment styles; the first is secure attachment which states that a person with a secure attachment style state that their relationship with their parents is warm and their parents relationship with one another is a positive and caring one. Those with this attachment style are comfortable with intimacy in general, have a strong sense that they can depend on others when needed, and have few self-doubts. This results in them being generally more effective in managing their emotions, and they are less likely to experience intense negative emotions in response to a negative stimulus like being terminated from your place of employment or breaking up with a romantic partner. The second style is known as avoidant attachment. Individuals who are associated with this style report discomfort with being close to others and also a reluctance to depend on others. People with avoidant attachment quickly develop feelings of love toward others; however those feelings are just as fast to lose intensity. As a result, individuals with this attachment style do not perceive love as enduring or long lasting and generally are afraid of intimacy because of this. It is believed that this attachment style may develop due to a lack of bonding with a primary caregiver. And finally, the last attachment style is referred to as anxious attachment style. People with Anxious attachment style describe a desire for closeness but greatly worries about being abandoned. People with this attachment style regularly experience self-doubts and tend to blame their lack of love on others’ unwillingness to commit rather than blaming their own fears about being left. These individuals are emotionally volatile and have a higher tendency to experience intense negative emotions such as anxiety and anger. It is argued that this attachment style may develop due to having primary caregivers that were not dependable or were inconsistent, varying between nurturing or caring and harming or neglecting.

Relation Between Emotion and Environment[edit | edit source]

Emotions play a large role in how people interact with one another and how they communicate within themselves and with the outside world. This is linked to what’s known as an emotional state which is a major contributor to an individual’s interaction with others. Emotion is often associated and considered jointly influential with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation. It is also influenced by hormones and neurotransmitters such as dopamine, noradrenalin, serotonin, oxytocins, cortisol, GABA and environment. Emotion is often the driving force behind motivation, positive or negative. Another way of describing emotion is a "positive or negative experience that is associated with a particular pattern of physiological activity. It is argued that our emotions are ultimately linked to our surrounding environment and our achievements both desired and acquired as all these things can either positively or negatively affect individuals in both behavioural and attitudinal means. This means that emotions are normally associated with specific events or occurrences which are intense enough to disrupt thought processes. Emotions differ to moods in that moods are more generalized feelings or states that are not characteristically identified with any particular stimulus intense enough to interrupt though processes.

Positive and Negative Emotions[edit | edit source]

When it comes to how we interact with one another all these factors come into play. Positive emotions help obtain favourable outcomes including achievement, life enrichment and higher quality social context, whereas negative emotions, such as fear, anger stress, hostility, sadness, and guilt leads to lack of achievement, lack of motivation/drive and various other undesired outcomes. These feelings in turn affect our attitudes toward people as we will behave negatively with others if we are experiencing negative emotions whereas as we will display signs of positivity if we are experiencing positive emotions. An example of this is if an individual had performed badly in a work or school situation this may cause the person to display signs of anger, stress, or worry and hence lead the person to behave accordingly when they go out later that day with friends.

Emotion and Behavior[edit | edit source]

Emotions drive how we behave in most if not all situations. For example, emotions like guilt and shame are often the driving forces behind an apology, and research shows that apologies that communicate these emotions are viewed as more sincere. The main relationship between emotion and interpersonal relationships is that emotions can be projected onto others, this is known as emotional communication. Emotions are clearly personal, as they often project what we’re feeling on the inside to those around us whether we want it to show or not. Emotions are also interpersonal in that another person’s show of emotion usually triggers a reaction from us, possibly support if the person is a close friend or awkwardness if the person is a stranger. This can been seen when a person is feeling sad, annoyed, angry, stressed, distraught, etc., which the individual will then share those emotions with another person by either verbally explaining or though unintentional physiological expression. How we express these emotions on the other hand is governed by three main obstacles of communicating emotions; the first is the societal and cultural customs. We are taught by our society what is and is not appropriate to express emotionally and when a person breaks these display rules and customs, they are seen in a negative light. The second obstacle is fear. When you express emotions, you are putting yourself in a position of vulnerability, so naturally we fear how people will react to our expressions. And finally, the last obstacle is inadequate interpersonal skills. A lack of interpersonal skills can make it hard for one to be able to express their feelings effectively.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

The types of emotion we are exposed to as children shapes and affects the emotions we exhibit later in life and the way in which we interact with others. We are not told how to exhibit emotion, rather we are taught by the example of our peers through observing them and how they interact. This is why our emotions and methods of interpersonal interaction is largely reliant on what we learn as infants and children. as well as observed learning, there are various other contributors to the emotions we are likely to experience and how these emotions are going to affect our interpersonal interactions. it is theorized that there are a number of different factors that affect emotion such as mood, and temperament, which are argued to be linked to a genetic predisposition and believed to be inherited traits. as well as the physiological aspects, emotions are also linked to environment and what we are exposed to as children as this can shape the way in which we exhibit emotions and also how we then interact with others. There are no single factors that affect emotion and interpersonal interaction, rather, various contributors that all impact and influence theses traits and behaviours and they must all be considered when trying to understand how they relate and take place.

Overcoming your Emotions[edit | edit source]

Our feelings can alter between dangerous extremes. Head too far to one side and you're bordering on rage/despair. Steer too much to the other side and you're in a state of elation. As with many other aspects of life, emotions are best explored with a sense of moderation and logical perspective. This is not to say that we should stop ourselves from falling in love or jumping for joy after great news. These truly are the finer things in life. It is negative emotions that must be handled with extreme care. Negative emotions, like rage, envy or bitterness, tend to spiral out of control, especially immediately after they've been triggered. In time, these sorts of emotions can grow like weeds, slowly conditioning the mind to function on detrimental feelings and dominating daily life. An example of this is seen when a person is always angry or hostile and in a state of constant rage. The person was not born like that but allowed certain emotions to stir in them for a long period of time until they were completely consumed within these feelings and found them arising all too frequently.

So the question is how can we avoid operating on the wrong types of feelings and take control of our emotions in the most difficult of   
circumstances? Dr. Carmen Harra proposed five useful methods that can help achieve this.
  • Ask for divine guidance. Faith is our saving grace in our darkest moments. No matter your faith, developing a healthy relationship with the divine world will help you overcome your obstacles more easily. This is because when you believe in a higher force, you also believe in the power of divine intervention to show you what you must do, teach you why something is happening or even save you from a certain unwanted situation. When burdened with emotion, close your eyes, envision a positive solution to your problem, and ask the universe to illuminate the best path forward.
  • Find a healthy outlet. Now that you've managed your emotion, you'll need to release it in a healthy way. Emotions should never be bottled up. Call or go see someone you trust and tell them what happened. Hearing an opinion other than your own broadens your awareness. Keep a journal and transfer your emotions from your inner self onto the paper. Many people find it helpful to engage in aggressive exercises, such as kickboxing or martial arts, to discharge their feelings. Others meditate and chant to return to a tranquil state of being. Perform whatever activity is best-suited to you in order to liberate your being from unexpressed or contained sentiments.
  • See the bigger picture. Everything that happens in our lives, whether good or bad, serves a higher purpose. Wisdom means being able to see past the moment and distinguish the greater meaning of any given situation. You may not understand it in the beginning, but as time goes by, you'll begin to see the bigger picture falling into perfect order. Even in the middle of an emotionally upsetting moment, trust that an ultimate purpose exists which you will come to comprehend soon.
  • Replace your thoughts. Negative emotions bind us to chronic negative thoughts, creating cycles of complete negative patterns. Whenever you are confronted with an emotion which is making you feel or think something bad, force it out of your mind and replace it with a different thought. Imagine the ideal resolution to your problem playing out, think about someone who makes you happy or remember an event that makes you smile.
  • Forgive your emotional triggers. Your emotional triggers may be your best friend, your family members, yourself or all of the above. You may feel a sudden wave of anger when your friend "does that thing she always does," or a stab of self-loathing when you remember something you could have done differently. But when you forgive, you detach. You detach from the resentment, the jealousy or the fury lingering within you. You allow people to be who they are without the need for escalating emotions. As you forgive, you will find yourself disassociating from the harsh feelings attached to your being.

See also[edit | edit source]


[Video URL Multimedia presentation (5 min)]

References[edit | edit source]

Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire fir interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117(3), 497-529

Burgoon, J. K. (1993). Interpersonal expectations, expectancy violations, and emotional communication. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 12(1-2), 30-48 “Emotion Culture and Cognitive Constructions of Reality. (2010). Communication Quarterly 58 (2), 207–34.

Eysenck, H. J., Grossarth-Maticek, R., & Everitt, B. (1991). Personality stress, smoking, and genetic predisposition as synergistic risk factors for cancer and coronary heart disease. Integrative Physiological and Behavioural Science, 26(4), 309-322

Frank, E., Salchner, P., Aldag, J. M., Salome, N., Singewald, N., Landgraf, R., Wigger, A. (2006). Genetic predisposition to anxiety-related behaviour determines coping styles, neuroendocrine responses, and neuronal activation during social defeat. Behavioural Neuroscience, 120(1), 60-71.

Hareli, S., & Eisikovits, Z. (2006). The Role of Communicating Social Emotions Accompanying Apologies in Forgiveness. Motivation and Emotion 30, 189–90.

James, W. (1884). What is an Emotion? Mind, 9: 188–205.

James, W. (1884). What is an emotion? Mind, 9, 188-205.

Kenneth, S., Kendler, M. D., Alan, M., Gruenberg, M. D., John, S., & Strauss, M. D. (1981). An independent analysis of the Copenhagen sample of the Danish adoption study of schizophrenia II. The relationship between shcizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 38(9), 982-984

Magda, A. B. (1960). Emotion and personality. Oxford, England: Columbia University Press, 1, 296

Marshall, G., & Zimbardo, P. G. (1979). Affective consequences of inadequately explained physiological arousal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 970-988.

Myers, D. G. (2004) Theories of Emotion. Psychology: Seventh Edition, New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Planlap, S., Fitness, J., & Fehr, B. (2006). Emotion in Theories of Close Relationships,” in The Cambridge Handbook of Personal Relationships, eds. Anita L. Vangelisti and Daniel Perlman Cambridge University Press, 2, 369–84.

Reisenzein, R. (1983). The Schachter theory of emotion: Two decades later. Psychological Bulletin, 94, 239-264.

Schachter, S. and Singer, J. E. (1962) Cognitive, social and physiological determinants of emotional states, Psychological Review, 69, 379-399