What is emotion?

The word emotion is derived from the Latin emovere, "to set in motion." It initially referred to the idea of physical movement and then assumed a figurative meaning associated with mental movement. It is a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.Emotion is a 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 behaviors, and conscious experience. Emotion is associated with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, and motivation. Motivations direct and energize behavior, while emotions provide the affective component to motivation, positive or negative. The emotions are generally understood as representing a synthesis of subjective experience, expressive behaviour, and neurochemical activity. Most researchers hold that they are part of the human evolutionary legacy and serve adaptive ends by adding to general awareness and the facilitation of social communication. There are psychological explanations of emotions.Distinguish on the basis of the basic elements the experience emotion •There is a stimulus situation that provokes the reaction •there is a positively or negatively tone conscious experience i.e te emotion we feel. •there is a bodily state of psychological arousal produced by the autonomic nervous system and endocrine glands. •there is a related behavior that generally resembles emotions of the animal that is fear. Emotion has usually, in the European- American tradition, been seen as the opposite of reason; the definitions emphasize emotion as agitation, perturbation, and ‘feeling’ or ‘affection’ as distinguished from cognitive or volitional states of consciousness. Philosophically this split became entrenched through the thought of Rene Descartes, with his famous ‘I think, therefore I am’. Emotion has thus come to be associated with the body the way reason has been associated with the mind. The European-American tradition often values reason over emotion, except in specifically defined events such as funerals, weddings, or births. Some cultures, notably that of Japan, are even more reserved, wanting to avoid negative emotional expression altogether. Other cultures, especially those of South and Latin America, and some south-east Asian cultures, see emotional expression as essential to living life, and value a wide range of emotional experience.

Emotion's connection to the body is frequently reinforced through our metaphoric description of emotion; it is frequently described as a visceral event. Disappointment means a sinking heart; nervousness, butterflies in the stomach; depression, weight in the chest area; joy, lightness and freedom of movement; excitement, racing heart and blood and tingling nerves. Emotions are conveyed to others through bodily configurations, including facial expressions, posture, muscle tension, voice tone, and gestures. While emotions and their physical expression are culturally specific (especially gestures), studies have suggested that facial expressions are remarkably similar across cultures, with the biggest differences or confusions occurring for anger or surprise. We learn to identify and reproduce facial expressions as infants, where we study the expressions on adult faces and learn to associate them with emotions. Western cultures have long attributed special emotional intelligence and capability to women, who have traditionally borne the largest burden of emotional work in the culture. Emotion frequently plays an important role in religious ritual. Many Christian sects revere emotional ecstasy as a direct encounter with the Holy Spirit and an expression of our oneness with God. Buddhism, on the other hand, rejects both self-denial and self-indulgence in a quest to extinguish the craving for physical or material pleasures. Religious emotion is often balanced through paired rituals; Catholic cultures often have a festival period preceding the asceticism of Lent.

Importance of Emotions
Here are a few of the reasons our emotions are important in our lives. By the way, the first few chapters of Goleman's 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence, have a good presentation on evolution and emotions.

Nature developed our emotions over millions of years of evolution. As a result, our emotions have the potential to serve us today as a delicate and sophisticated internal guidance system. Our emotions alert us when natural human need is not being met. For example, when we feel lonely, our need for connection with other people is unmet. When we feel afraid, our need for safety is unmet. When we feel rejected, it is our need for acceptance which is unmet.

Decision Making
Our emotions are a valuable source of information. Our emotions help us make decisions. Studies show that when a person's emotional connections are severed in the brain, he can not make even simple decisions. Why? Because he doesn't know how he will feel about his choices.

Predicting Behavior
Our feelings are also useful in helping us predict our own, and others' behavior. Here is an article on the idea that feelings predict behavior.

Boundary Setting
When we feel uncomfortable with a person's behavior, our emotions alert us. If we learn to trust our emotions and feel confident expressing ourselves we can let the person know we feel uncomfortable as soon as we are aware of our feeling. This will help us set our boundaries which are necessary to protect our physical and mental health.

Our emotions help us communicate with others. Our facial expressions, for example, can convey a wide range of emotions. If we look sad or hurt, we are signaling to others that we need their help. If we are verbally skilled we will be able to express more of our emotional needs and thereby have a better chance of filling them. If we are effective at listening to the emotional troubles of others, we are better able to help them feel understood, important and cared about.


The only real way to know that we are happy is when we feel happy. When we feel happy, we feel content and fulfilled. This feeling comes from having our needs met, particulary our emotional needs. We can be warm, dry, and full of food, but still unhappy. Our emotions and our feelings let us know when we are unhappy and when something is missing or needed. The better we can identify our emotions, the easier it will be to determine what is needed to be happy.

Our emotions are perhaps the greatest potential source of uniting all members of the human species. Clearly, our various religious, cultural and political beliefs have not united us. Far too often, in fact, they have tragically and even fatally divided us. Emotions, on the other hand, are universal. Charles Darwin wrote about this years ago in one of his lesser-known books called "The Expression of Emotion In Man and Animal". The emotions of empathy, compassion, cooperation, and forgiveness, for instance, all have the potential to unite us as a species. It seems fair to say that, generally speaking: Beliefs divide us. Emotions unite us.

Basic human emotions

There is a huge list of human emotions that we are capable of experiencing. However often times we only experience a very limited number of emotions. It is always the same few ; happiness, anger, love, confidence, anxiety, stress, relaxed. Ask people what emotions do they experience in a week and they'll invariably say those common emotions. The more type of emotions we feel, the more colorful our life experience will be. It is not that we can't experience a wide array of emotions, rather it is because we often label different emotions into a common group like happy or sad that we forget to experience that emotion for what it is. Take happy. There is happy, ecstatic, cheerful, relax, exited, exhilarated etc. All those emotions are unique in their own way but we usually label it as happy. By doing that we unintentionally take away it's characteristics and thus take away our experience.Below is a list of human emotions to remind you of the emotions that we humans are capable of experiencing. Following are some of the basic human emotions

•Joy •Sadness

•Trust •Disgust •Fear •Anger •Surprise •Anticipation •Sadness •Joy •Disgust •Trust •Anger •Fear Anticipation •Surprise

Emotion of fear
Firstly i will define what fear is

Fear is a distressing negative sensation induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus, such as pain or the threat of danger.Some
psychologists such as John B. Watson, Robert Plutchik, and Paul Ekman have suggested that fear belongs to a small set of basic or innate emotions. Fear is difficult to describe in scientific terms due to the subjective nature of the experience of fear. Dependent upon the experiencer's past encounter with threatening, fearful, and or anxious situations generally will determine what she/he may describe as a fearful, fearful, or anxious event. People respond differently to threatening situations. The type of threat that is perceived by the individual and the learned social responses to fearful situations could effect how an individual responds to a given threat. Additionally, fear is frequently related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats which are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.It is worth noting that fear almost always relates to future events, such as worsening of a situation, or continuation of a situation that is unacceptable.

According to surveys, some of the most common fears are of: ghosts, the existence of evil powers, cockroaches, spiders, snakes, heights, water, enclosed spaces, tunnels and bridges, needles, social rejection, failure, examinations and public speaking. n a 2005 Gallup poll (U.S.A.), a national sample of adolescents between the ages of 13 and 15 were asked what they feared the most. The question was open ended and participants were able to say whatever they wanted. The most frequently cited fear (mentioned by 8% of the teens) was terrorism. The top ten fears were, in order: terrorist attacks, spiders, death, being a failure, war, heights, criminal or gang violence, being alone, the future, and nuclear war. According to Rachman, there are three main components to fear and they do not always correspond with each other. It is therefore important, when discussing fear, to identify which component of fear is being described. The three components of fear are described as "the subjective experience of apprehension, associated psychophysiological changes, and attempts to avoid or escape from fearful situations". An individual's ability to control a possible threatening situation will have an impact on her/his experience of fear. According to Rachman (1990), "the ability to cope with threats varies with age, and these changes tend to be reflected in the distribution of fears" In the human experience of dying and death, if the individual feels that she/he has no control over dying, death, and what happens

after death then it would be expected that there might be some fear associated with the eventuality of this human experience. However, if the individual is prepared to die, has a sense of control over her/his dying, and some insight into what may follow death then dying may not be as fearful. Psychological research has demonstrated that fear can be acquired either through a conditioning process or by vicarious experiences. The conditioning theories postulate that fear is a learned response "occurring to signals (conditioned stimuli) that are premonitory of (i.e., have in the past been followed by) situations of injury or pain (unconditional stimuli)" Conditioning can cause fear, it also can be used to reduce or extinguish some fears by the use of systematic desensitization. Fears that are acquired vicariously are believed to be developed by observing fear in others. Bandura observed that not only could attitudes and behaviors be developed by observing others but by using the psychological technique of modeling other people's appropriate behavior, fearful attitudes and behaviors can be changed. Additionally, there is some research offering theories that fear can also be acquired through the absorption of threatening information. According to Rachman (1990), "fears can be generated by information that is slightly or not at all threatening but which is misinterpreted by the recipient as being threatening". As an example, information regarding how painful some terminal illness are can cause fear of the process of dying. However, the provision of positive information regarding the advantages and uses of pain sedatives, can have a positive effect on reducing an individual's fear of the process of dying. Although these theories have not been sufficiently researched they do appear to offer a plausible explanation to the acquisition and overcoming of some fears.

Types Of Fears
There are four types of fear 1- Healthy Fear You fear someone you highly respect. In this sense, fear is a byproduct of wisdom and high esteem. You don’t fear the person because you are afraid of him. You fear him because he excites admiration and reverence.

2- Alarming Fear
Alarming fear occurs when you sense some threat or danger in a place, person, or thing. The idea is not to stop you, but to make you very careful in your undertakings. The idea is to dissuade you from pursuing a wrong direction.

3- Debilitating Fear Debilitating fear is synonymous to being afraid. In simple words, it turns you into a coward. It makes you want to suddenly disappear from the situation at hand. Debilitating fear makes you give up in fighting the thing you’re afraid of. 4- The No-Fear Guys There are people who seem to be fearless — or at least they claim to be so. Some believe them, but others do not. There are people who claim that bravado is not the absence, but the conquest, of fear. This means fear is still intact; but brave people are able to conquer their fear masterfully.

John watson research on emotion of fear
In the early 1900s, when scientists began studying how we come to be scared of things. They built on Ivan Pavlov’s classic experiments on dogs, in which Pavlov would ring a bell before giving his dogs food. Eventually they learned to associate the bell with food and began to salivate in anticipation. Psychologists set up experiments to see if the same kind of learning could instill fear as well. The implicit assumption was that fear, like hunger, was a simple provoked response. J.B.Watson was another person who made contribution in classical conditioning. he made experiment with a child named as little Albert. John Watson decided to see if he could teach an 11-month-old baby named Albert to become scared of arbitrary things. He presented Albert with a rat, and every time the baby reached out to touch it, Watson hit a steel bar with a hammer, producing a horrendous clang. After several rounds with the rat and the bar, Watson then brought out the rat on its own. “The instant the rat was shown, the baby began to cry,” Watson wrote in a 1920 report.the noise caused Albert to cry fearfully . after seven such pairing Albert shows a fearfull response when rat was near him. He learned the fear from the rat classical conditioning In later decades, other scientists got much more rigorous in their study of fear, in many cases turning to rats rather than people as their test subjects. In a typical experiment, a rat was placed in a cage with a light. At first the light came on a few times so the animal could get accustomed to it. Later the scientists would turn on the light and then give the rats a little electric shock. After a few rounds, the rats would respond fearfully to the light, even if no shock came. Further research revealed that the amygdala—an almond-shaped cluster of neurons deep within the brain—plays a pivotal role in the fear-association response in rats. Brain researchers discovered that the amygdala orchestrates human fear as well. The sight of a loaded gun, for example, triggers activity in this part of the brain. People with an injured amygdala have dampened emotional

responses and so do not learn to fear new things through association.

Freud's psychoanalytic theory on emotion of fear
Freud's psychoanalytic theories have attempted to associate the origin of fears to various developmental issues from a person's childhood. He postulated three possible origins for the development of fear in human beings. First, fear can be developed in an infant by the absence of a significant individual whose presence and help were important for the fulfillment of the child's needs. Secondly, Freud posited that the loss of love or the disapproval of an important person in the child's life could facilitate the fear in the child. Thirdly, the fear of castration, intense shame, and unhappiness associated with the Oedipal phase could be the genesis of fear both in males and females. Finally, the individual can develop fear as a result of guilt. To deal with a threat, fear, and or anxiety, Freudian and neo-Freudian psychoanalytic theories apply the concept of defense mechanisms, later called repression, which may be employed by an individual to guard against an internal and external stimuli that might invoke fear and anxiety (Freud, 1946). This type of defenses could be expected to be used when there is a psychologically unacceptable situation that the individual may be confront. Based upon psychoanalytic theory, the defense mechanism, of denial or illusion may be employed to overcome the threat, fear, or anxiety. In denial, an individual when faced with a threatening situation will conjure up ways to avoid the issue by denying its existence or possibility. Illusion, on the other hand, is the creation of something that guards the individual from confronting an unacceptable situation by creating, in most cases, an acceptable concept. As an example, when dealing with the fear of dying and death, the use of illusions or repressions are used by some people to create and maintain a belief in immortality or by repressing the consciousness of their mortality and eventual death. Congruent with this thinking, Freud considered religion to be an illusion created partially to overcome human fears. Psychoanalytic theories associated with fear generally has not provided an acceptable general theory of fear in modern thinking. The psychoanalytic theory of fear is stagnant. There is no sign here of new discoveries, refinements of methodology, improved treatment, or growth. Instead of intellectual bustle there is lethargy.

Caroline and Robert Blanchard research :
In the 1980s Caroline and Robert Blanchard, working together at the University

of Hawaii, carried out a pioneering study on the natural history of fear. They put wild rats in cages and then brought cats gradually closer to them. At each stage, they carefully observed how the rats reacted. The Blanchards found that the rats responded to each kind of threat with a distinct set of behaviors. The first kind of behavior is a reaction to a potential threat, in which a predator isn’t visible but there is good reason to worry that it might be nearby. A rat might walk into a meadow that looks free of predators, for example, but that reeks of fresh cat urine. In such a case, a rat will generally explore the meadow cautiously, assessing the risk of staying there. A second, more concrete type of threat arises if a rat spots a cat at the other side of the meadow. The rat will freeze and then make a choice about what to do next. It may slink away, or it may remain immobile in hopes that the cat will eventually wander away without noticing it. Finally, the most active threat: The cat glances over, notices something, and walks toward the rat to investigate. At this point, the rat will flee if it has an escape route. If the cat gets close, the rat will choose either to fight or to run for its life. Further research revealed that the amygdala—an almond-shaped cluster of neurons deep within the brain—plays a pivotal role in the fear-association response in rats. Brain researchers discovered that the amygdala orchestrates human fear as well.

Fear describes the general feeling of uneasiness and discomfort associated with to a threat of a an impending occurrence. Anxiety is the associated psychophysiological response to fear. These fears can be learned through conditioning or vicarious observation of responses to threats, and possibly by the absorption of threatening information. There are three components to describe fear: the subjective nature of fear; the psychophysiological response to fear; and the methods some people use to avoid or escape the fears of dying, death, and the unknown of after death.

•http://eqi.org/emotions.htm#Importance of emotions •http://www.answers.com/topic/emotion •http://www.merriam-webster.com •http://www.self-improvement-mentor.com •http.discovermagazine.com •/http://www.lutz-sanfilippo.com

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