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The Psychological Effects of the Seven

Emotions
The seven emotions that the Chinese physicians commonly refer to are:
Joy,
Fright,
Anger,
Worry,
Sorrow,
Fear, and
Grief.
These psychological factors, if in ecess, can ca!se disease and ill"health.
Joy
Joy is lin#ed to the $eart.
To the Westerners, %oy is a cheerf!l, positive concept that we find diffic!lt to see as
damaging. The positive side of Joy seen in these terms is &eneficial.
$owever, Traditional Chinese society was ecessively hierarchical and deeply
conservative. Therefore, Joy co!ld &e seen in terms of overe!&erance and
inappropriate &ehavior, and it is damaging. There is a saying in Chinese : 'Sorrow
grows o!t of ecessive %oy.'
We can perhaps imagine 'Joy' as a rowdy gro!p of ecited teenagers yelling noisily
in the street and !psetting elderly passers"&y, rather than the happy sense of
contentment and light"heartedness associated with the word in the West.
This 'inappropriateness' is the negative aspect of Joy and too m!ch of it will
damage the $eart and also the (!ngs which are located close &y in the )pper fiao.
Too m!ch Joy damaging $eart *i. +t can lead to an ina&ility to concentrate, while the
sort of hysterical la!ghter associated with some forms of mental disorder is also
associated &y the Chinese with damaged $eart *i.
Fright
,anic or s!dden fear from some dramatic eternal event is also associated with the
$eart.
Worry
Worry means dwelling too m!ch on a partic!lar pro&lem, or concentrating too hard
for too long.
The res!lt is stagnation of Spleen *i, which in Chinese medicine theorymanifests as
depression, aniety, poor appetite, wea#ened lim&s, a&dominal &loating, and, in
women, menstr!al irreg!larities.
,ensiveness is said to originate in the $eart, so an ecess can damage $eart *i. A
common syndrome associated with ecess worry is descri&ed as 'depressed $eat
in the $eart and Spleen', which can involve insomnia, palpitations, and constipation.
Sorrow
Sorrow is lin#ed to the (!ngs. An ecess of sorrow is considered to 'cons!me (!ng
*i' and also to lead to respiratory pro&lems as well as ca!se stagnation. This may
then affect the vitality of associated organs -following the five"element relationship..
Sadness affecting the l!ngs is very common and may &e o&served as &ronchitis and
asthmatic pro&lems, for eample. They fre/!ently seem to follow &ereavement, while
chesty co!ghs are common in those who are !nhappy.
Grief
0treme grief or shoc# is also lin#ed to the (!ngs. Since the (!ngs are responsi&le
for *i circ!lation, severe shoc# affects the entire &ody.
Symptoms incl!de those associated with 'shoc#' in the West " pallor, &reathing
pro&lems, and a sense of s!ffocation in the chest, as well as loss of appetite,
constipation, and!rinary pro&lems.
Fear
Fear is lin#ed to the 1idneys. An ecess will reverse the normal, !pward flow of
1idney *i, leading to listlessness, lower &ac# pains, !rinary pro&lems, and a desire
for solit!de. 2edwetting in children can &e eplained in these terms, with timidity
and shyness often &eing associated symptoms. +n women, fear damages the 1idney
and can also ca!se irreg!lar menstr!ation.
Anger
+n Chinese medicine, the (iver is associated with Anger. Too m!ch anger will ma#e
(iver *i rise, leading to headaches, fl!shed face, di33iness, and red eyes.
+n the West, the liver is traditionally associated with strong emotions nota&ly love
and &ravery. Westerners have a&sor&ed some of the Chineseimagery for this in the
term g!ng"ho, with its association of ecess activity and military aggression. +t is
said to derive from the Chinese wordfor '(iver Fire'.
Culture studies emotion
Research on the relationship between culture and emotions dates back to 1872
when Darwin argued that emotions and the expression of emotions are universal.
Since that time the universalit! of the six basic emotions "i.e. happiness
sadness anger fear disgust and surprise# has ignited a discussion amongst
ps!chologists anthropologists and sociologists. $hile emotions themselves are
universal phenomena the! are alwa!s influenced b! culture. %ow emotions are
experienced expressed perceived and regulated varies as a function of
culturall! normative behavior b! the surrounding societ!. &herefore it can be said
that culture is a necessar! framework for researchers to understand variations in
emotions.
'xpressed emotion has been used as a construct in understanding the
interaction between patients and their carers and families. ( considerable amount
of data from $estern cultures suggests that high expressed emotion can lead to
relapse in vulnerable individuals even when the! are on medication. %owever
the data from other cultures are less solid. &his paper reviews some of the
existing findings and recommends that various components of expressed
emotion must be seen in the cultural context and embedded in the normative
data of the population before the concept can be considered in association with
the pathogenesis of relapse.
Pioneers of culture and emotions
)n Darwin*s opening chapter of The Expression of the Emotions in Man and
Animals "1872+1,,8# Darwin considered the face to be the preeminent medium
of emotional expression in humans and capable of representing both ma-or
emotions and subtle variations within each one. Darwin*s ideas about facial
expressions and his reports of cultural differences became the foundation for
ethological research strategies. Silvan &omkins* Affect Theory built upon
Darwin*s research arguing that facial expressions are biologicall! based and
universal manifestations of emotions. &he research of .aul 'kman "1,71# and
/arroll )0ard further explored the proposed universalit! of emotions showing
that the expression of emotions were recogni0ed as communicating the same
feelings in cultures found in 'urope 1orth and South (merica (sia and (frica.
'kman "1,71# and )0ard both created sets of photographs displa!ing emotional
expressions that were agreed upon b! (mericans. &hese photographs were then
shown to people in other countries with the instructions to identif! the emotion
that best describes the face. &he work of 'kman and )0ard concluded that facial
expressions were in fact universal innate and ph!logeneticall! derived. Some
theorists including Darwin even argued that 2'motion. . . is neuromuscular
activit! of the face3. 4an! researchers since have critici0ed this belief and
instead argue that emotions are much more complex than initiall! thought. )n
addition to pioneering research in ps!cholog! ethnographic accounts of cultural
differences in emotion began to emerge. 4argaret 4ead a cultural
anthropologist writes about uni5ue emotional phenomena she experienced while
living among a small village of 677 Samoans on the island of &a*u in her
book Coming of Age in Samoa. 8regor! 9ateson an 'nglish anthropologist
social scientist linguist and visual anthropologist used photograph! and film to
document his time with the people of 9a-oeng 8ede in 9ali. (ccording to his
work cultural differences were ver! evident in how the 9alinese mothers
displa!ed muted emotional responses to their children when the child showed a
climax of emotion. )n displa!s of both love "affection# and anger "temper#
9ateson*s notes documented that mother and child interactions did not follow
$estern social norms. &he fieldwork of anthropologist :ean 9riggs
;,<
details her
almost two !ear experience living with the =tku )nuit people in her book Never in
Anger: Portrait of an Eskimo Family . 9riggs lived as the daughter of an =tku
famil! describing their societ! as particularl! uni5ue emotional control. She rarel!
observed expressions of anger or aggression and if it were expressed it resulted
in ostracism.
Cultural norms of emotion
( cultural s!ndrome as defined b! &riandis "1,,7#
;17<
is a 2shared set of beliefs
attitudes norms values and behavior organi0ed around a central theme and
found among speakers of one language in one times period and in one
geographic region3. 9ecause cultures are shared experiences there are obvious
social implications for emotional expression and emotional experiences. >or
example the social conse5uences of expressing or suppressing emotions will
var! depending upon the situation and the individual. %ochschild "1,8?#
;18<
discussed the role of feeling rules which are social norms that prescribe how
people should feel at certain times "e.g. wedding da! at a funeral#. &hese rules
can be general "how people should express emotions in general# and also
situational "events like birthda!s#. /ulture also influences the wa!s emotions are
experienced depending upon which emotions are valued in that specific culture.
>or example happiness is generall! considered a desirable emotion across
cultures. )n countries with more individualistic views such as (merica happiness
is viewed as infinite attainable and internall! experienced. )n collectivistic
cultures such as :apan emotions such as happiness are ver! relational include
a m!riad of social and external factors and reside in shared experiences with
other people. =chida &ownsend 4arkus @ 9ergseiker "277,#
;1,<
suggest that
:apanese contexts reflect a con-oint model meaning that emotions derive from
multiple sources and involve assessing the relationship between others and the
self. %owever in (merican contexts a dis-oint model is demonstrated through
emotions being experienced individuall! and through selfAreflection. &heir
research suggests that when (merican*s are asked about emotions the! are
more likel! to have selfAfocused responses 2) feel -o!3 whereas as :apanese
t!pical reaction would reflect emotions between the self and others 2) would like
to share m! happiness with others.3
Culture and emotion regulation
'motions pla! a critical role in interpersonal relationships and how people relate
to each other. 'motional exchanges can have serious social conse5uences that
can result in either maintaining and enhancing positive relationships or
becoming a source of antagonism and discord ">redrickson 1,,8B
;27<
8ottman @
Cevenson 1,,2
;21<
#. 'ven though people ma! generall! 2want to feel better than
worse3 "Carsen 2777
;22<
# how these emotions are regulated ma! differ across
cultures. Research b! Duri 4i!amoto suggests that cultural differences influence
emotion regulation strategies. Research also indicates that different cultures
sociali0e their children to regulate their emotions according to their own cultural
norms. >or example ethnographic accounts suggest that (merican mothers think
that it is important to focus on their children*s successes while /hinese mothers
think it is more important to provide discipline for their children.
;2?<
&o further
support this theor! a laborator! experiment found that when children succeeded
on a test (merican mothers were more likel! than /hinese mothers to provide
positive feedback "e.g. 2Dou*re so smartE3# in comparison to /hinese mothers
who provided more neutral or task relevant feedback "e.g. 2Did !ou understand
the 5uestions or did !ou -ust guessF3B 1g .omerant0 @ Cam 2777
;2G<
#. &his
shows how (merican mothers are more likel! to 2upAregulate3 positive emotions
b! focusing on their children*s success whereas /hinese mothers are more likel!
to 2downAregulate3 children*s positive emotions b! not focusing on their success.
(mericans see emotions as internal personal reactionsB emotions are about the
self "4arkus @ Hit!ama 1,,1
;2I<
#. )n (merica emotional expression is
encouraged b! parents and peers while suppression is often disapproved.
Heeping emotions inside is viewed as being insincere as well as posing a risk to
one*s health and well being
;26<
#. )n :apanese cultures however emotions reflect
relationships in addition to internal states. Some research even suggests that
emotions that reflect the inner self cannot be separated from emotions that reflect
the larger group. &herefore unlike (merican culture expression of emotions is
often discouraged and suppressing one*s individual emotions to better fit in with
the emotions of the group is looked at as mature and appropriate.
;27<
Conclusion
/ulture affects ever! aspect of emotions. )dentif!ing which emotions are good or
bad when emotions are appropriate to be expressed and even how the! should
be displa!ed are all influenced b! culture. 'ven more importantl! cultures
differentiall! affect emotions meaning that exploring cultural contexts is ke! to
understanding emotions. &hrough incorporating sociological anthropological
and ps!chological research accounts it can be concluded that exploring emotions
in different cultures is ver! complex and the current literature is e5uall! as
complex reflecting multiple views and the h!pothesis.
Reference
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b
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