Different researchers define emotions differently. There are biologically-oriented researchers who define emotions as very close to simple biological states, or electro-chemical reactions. There are psychologists who define emotions as conscious experience. Most people who study emotions are somewhere in between and they view emotions as a coordinated response system, so that an emotion occurs when there are certain biological, certain experiential, and certain cognitive states which all occur simultaneously.
In other words, emotions operate on many levels. They have a physical aspect as well as a psychological aspect.
According to Mayer, there is evidence that emotions are a motor activity as well. Emotions, then, bridge thought, feeling, and action - they operate in every part of a person, they affect many aspects of the person, and the person affects many aspects of the emotions.
As researchers work to identify the core emotions, the lists vary depending on the researcher's area of focus. Some lists focus on chemicals, some on facial expressions, some on cross-cultural similarities, some on behaviors. In general, researchers agree that there are different kinds of emotions and feelings. There are emotions which are more biologically oriented and then there are complex emotions which are saturated with thoughts and cognition. For example, a more basic-like emotion would be simple sadness, whereas a more cognitively-saturated emotion would be something like guilt, where usually you have to have learned something in order to feel the guilt.
From an educator's viewpoint, this interaction between cognition and emotion opens a portal to a new learning potential. Through that door we can learn to teach about emotions.
So, while we wait for researchers to clarify the systems, it will be useful to have some vocabulary. Here are some ideas about defining emotions and feeling.
What are emotions? Emotions originate from exposure to specific situations. The nature and the intensity of the emotion are usually related to cognitive activity in the form of the perception of the situation. That thought process or perception results in the experience and/or the expression of a related feeling.
If you have a list of core emotions what are they? A number of researchers (Ekman, Friesen, Izard, and others have isolated certain core emotions that are evident among all cultures. Ekman & Friesen have identified six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, surprise, disgust, anger, and fear. Fascinating, though is the occurrence of only one positive emotion (happiness) on the list of core emotions! Let's allow ourselves to feel whatever we want to feel-why restrict it to only six options of which five are negative? Due to the close link between emotional experience and creativity I believe there is a wide variety of possible emotional responses to different situations.
Emotions are biologically driven, cross-cultural responses to environmental stimuli.
If you have a list of core emotions what are they? Anger, sadness, disgust, surprise, joy and fear.
What is the difference between emotions and feelings? Emotions are cross cultural─ the same all over the world. Feelings are a subset of all of our mind-body states (disappointment, hunger, hope, etc. There are hundreds of them!). Feelings are a learned response in the culture in which you grow up (the family, the peers, the community, etc.).
Emotions are human beings' warning systems as to what is really going on around them. Emotions are our most reliable indicators of how things are going in our lives. They are also like an internal gyroscope; emotions help keep us on the right track by making sure that we are led by more than cognition.
Emotions are generated in the brain and the brain drives the body. Epictetus stated: "We are disturbed not by things, but by the views we take of things." So first we think, then we feel and then we act. And I think love, guilt, hate, happiness, anger─ all the feeling are byproducts of the actions we take. So love of a child comes from the exhilaration and excitement of the miracle of birth, plus the immeasurable hours of nurture, care, and service to his/her growth and development.
Emotions are the glue that holds the cells of the organism together in the material world, and in the spiritual world they're the glue that holds the classrooms and the society together.
I. Discuss the prominent psychologists’ statements:
1.“Emotions are the glue that holds the cells of the organism together.” - Candace Pert;
2.“An emotion occurs when there are certain biological, certain experiential, and certain cognitive states which all occur simultaneously.” - Jack Mayer;
3."There are a hundred or perhaps a thousand other emotions, or gradations, created by the mixing, blending, and overlapping of the basic ones." - Anabel Jensen.
II. Answer the questions:
1. How would you define human emotions?
2. How do different researchers define emotions?
3. Which negative emotions do you suppose to be the strongest?
4. On what levels do emotions operate?
5. When does an emotion occur?
6. What aspects do emotions have?
7. What areas of focus are taken into consideration to identify the core emotions?