Emotion is a conscious experience exhibited by human beings in reaction to biological, mental, or cultural components. Emotion is a physiological response of communication and expression to factors that influence the mood, personality, temperament and motivation of an individual (Zachar, 2014). The psychology of emotions has close links to the arousal of the nervous system. Emotions also relate to a complex state of feelings associated with physical or psychological changes that influence the behaviour of an individual. Psychology is a science that endeavours to study the mental functions and behaviour of human beings (Tracy, 2014). Psychologists explore human concepts like cognition, emotion, perception, intelligence, personality, behaviour and motivation. Psychological knowledge is helpful in understanding emotions as it explains how human beings relate to them during the day-to-day life (Shweder, 2014). Human emotions bridge the gap between thoughts, feelings and actions. Emotions are communications of the body in reaction to the happenings and perceptions in the surroundings. A variety of factors influence the emotions of an individual including psychological, physical and cultural (Moors, 2014). This paper seeks to understand and analyze the biological and psychological basis of emotions delineating how different individuals express emotions when faced with distinct situations in life.
In the past few decades, there has been a significant rise in empirical research studies seeking to discover and understand intricate elements involved in emotions. The sudden increase in research undertakings covering emotions owes to the interest in understanding the in-depth intricacies depicted by human beings. Distinct scientific areas have made imperative contributions to emotion research including the neuroscience, medicine, sociology, psychology, endocrinology and computer science (Clay-Warner, 2014). In recent times, researchers have attained notable breakthroughs using modern technology in understanding the psychology of emotions. For example, through high-tech technological equipment, researchers have managed to perform scans studying the brain's reactions after subjecting human volunteer subjects to divergent emotional factors. To date, PET scans and FMRI scans have fostered an in-depth purview into the brain and consequent reactions in various emotional states. Using test and retest procedures, physicians have been able to understand and interpret the chronology of brain processes during emotions. The field of emotion psychology has attained notable progress as scientific experts can now explain different complex situations that proved to be difficult in the yester years. It is imperative to note that decades into the past, psychologies rely on peer-reviewed scholarly articles seeking to demystify complex emotional reactions, as well as consequences.
In a recent article, Russell (Russell, 2013) documents the intricacies presented in the discourse during a 2013 Emotional Preconference held for the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. The research panel aired four divergent schools of thought on the psychology of emotion. The distinct theorems included the basic emotion theory, social construction theory, appraisal theory, and the psychological construction theory (Russell, 2013). The conference sought to regurgitate the four theories by analyzing questions and deriving the similarities as well as differences allied to the theorems (Russell, 2013). Representatives of each school of thought had a mandate to present personal purviews as opposed to generalizing the idea within the perspective. Towards the end, the panel had to present their submission in writing about the fundamental question that explicitly reviews the momentous underlying concept of their theory (Mesquita, 2014). The representatives had to document various models that falsify their theories, the nature of the subjective conscious towards emotion and explain the existing relationship between an emotion and its composite elements. Additionally, the representatives explained the variability encompassed in a set of fear events, as well as anger events. Through the conference, the panel managed to shed light about inherent misconceptions about the distinct theories. Although the four emotional models share numerous similarities, the theories also harbour innumerable differences. While some differences emanated from the conclusions derived from empirical research undertakings, other differences were deeper seeking to define the constitutive elements of an emotion. Without doubt, emotion is a renowned terminology around the world, yet its descriptive definition remains elusive.
Several theories have emerged seeking to explain the chronology of human behaviour and the subsequent emotions they depict. One of the theories that explain the psychology of emotions is the James-Lange theory. The psychological theory forwarded by William James and Carl Lange (Mesquita & Boiger, 2014) claims that emotions are the results of psychological reactions to events by humans. The reactions follow a mental process that interprets the physical reactions because of psychological change in the body of an individual. The theory explains that the emotional reaction is dependent upon the bodily interpretation of the physical reactions (Mesquita & Boiger, 2014). For example, when you are walking alone in the woods and see a grizzly bear approaching you, you may begin to tremble and the heart rate could increase. Your reactions to these physical changes send a mental picture that you are trembling and therefore afraid.
The Cannon-Bard theory states that emotions result when the thalamus organ sends messages to the brain in response to a stimulus, which then results in a psychological reaction. This explains the psychological reaction as a simultaneous response when we experience or face a situation in life that changes our bodily behaviour (Buss, 2014). The reactions of sweating, trembling and muscle tension emanate from simultaneous reactions to a different stimulus within the human body (Buss, 2014). Under the psychology of emotions, the brain must interpret the psychological arousal and then identify the reason behind the arousal (Moors, 2014). Human beings experience different psychological stimuli that call for different reactions that culminate into emotions (Moors, 2014).
Cognitive behaviourism is a consequence of evaluations of objects and events which tend to change the emotions and reactions to different stimulus factors (Barrett, 2014). Feelings reflect the experience of emotional state after expressions change in the body of an individual. The chronology of emotions follows three steps categorised as cognitive appraisal, physiological changes and actions. In cognitive appraisal, the individual can assess and evaluate the event, which results in commencement of the emotion (Nesse, 2014). In the physiological changes, the cognitive reactions will kick-start a biological change, which can result in increased heart rate or trembling. The last stage is the action stage, which enables the individual to feel the emotions and choose how to react to the emotion.
Without doubt, emotion is an intricate element that remains elusive in spite of the significant milestones attained in the educational, medical, economic, social cultural, legal, as well as political frontiers. Although humanity has managed to unearth intricate elements comprising the human anatomy, the psychology of emotion has proved an inalienable challenge to specialists in the sector (LeDoux, 2014). While technology has unveiled feasible equipment to procure scans among other strenuous engagements, medics are yet to forward a uniform understanding pertaining the discourse (LeDoux, 2014). In a recent emotional conference in 2013, representatives aired their views on four distinct theorems on the psychology of emotion (Russell, 2013). Although the theories have numerous similarities on most accounts, they differed on elementary issues. For instance, each theory has a divergent opinion regarding the definition of emotion (Russell, 2013).
People visit counsellor's offices because of many different reasons. The primary reason often tends to be they do not like the way they feel or think (Tracy, 2014). Since they harbour strong emotions, their body fails to withstand the internal disorientation and ends upsetting the individual. In some instances, the individual appears to have no emotions at all towards distinct occurrences, situations, or circumstances. Emotions are unique to each individual and different people can behave utterly different to a single common cognitive factor. Emotions are an expression or reaction to different factors that influence the psychological, physical and mental functions of a human being. Thus, emotions communicate bodily reactions when faced by different situations and experiences. Some people over time manage these reactions by controlling the outcome of their emotions while others crash when subjected to various states of emotions. It is imperative to seek therapeutic interventions from a qualified counsellor to help tame some of the emotion reactions. The psychology of emotions results in an evident understanding of the distinct processes involved in the changing the reaction of an individual to various factors that result in a change in behaviour. Different people react distinctively to divergent cognitive factors and hence it dictates their reactions and results in behavioural changes (Tracy, 2014).
Basic human emotions occur in two distinct groups that include either positive emotions or negative emotions. People have different reactions to different emotional triggers as their personality and behaviour affect their mental states and reactions. The biological and psychological basis of emotions is an intriguing field that seeks to explain emotional triggers among people. Emotions are expressed in the form of human behaviours and reactions, when people face different external stimulus. Psychologists normally stress that the cognitive processes control the intensity and quality of emotions through a conclusive assessment of events (Gendolla, 2014). The processes involve strategies that result in emotional reactions triggered by different aspects in the environment. Cognitive processes alter the relationship between the individual and the environment in at a given time (Gendolla, 2014). Most psychologists argue that emotions are shortcuts to process information and the reactions to this information influence their behaviour.
In summary, human beings are exceptional in that they can express emotions or feelings and react differently. Without doubt, emotions are complex phenomena that elicit divergent definitions from distinct quarters. Theorists have tried to air their opinions regarding the issue, yet have failed to concur on primary elements such as the basic definition of the term, ‘emotion.' Emotions, particularly the strong emotions, can change the behaviour and actions of an individual when faced by an abnormal or painful situation. Otherwise, they would behave normally and react normal to most other situations. Psychologists have tried to come up with different explanations for different kinds of emotions depicted by human beings in their day-to-day lives. Emotions change the thoughts and behaviour of people as results of physical and psychological changes that brings about complex state of feelings. Psychological phenomenon to emotional change ranges from personality, mood, temperament and motivation. The psychology of emotion is a discourse that requires an astute contribution from more theorists seeking to attain an amicable resolution that will satisfy the existent schools of thought. The physiology and biochemical mechanisms that underlie the outburst of emotions in humans are not clear at present and require further research.
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