Emotions: How Well Do You Know?

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Having to feel and experience emotions have become a normal part of every individual’s life. Emotion is an intricate psychological condition that connects three distinct components; a subjective experience, a physiological response, and a behavioural or expressive response (Gray, 2011). It is triggered by an external event and emotional response that takes place during emotional arousal from the activation of the peripheral nervous system, thus, when an individual experience emotional arousal, they would also be physically aroused. Consequently, emotions are often linked with mood, motivation, personality and behaviour.

 

There are six basic emotions: happiness, sadness, surprise, anger, guilt and fear are presumed as core emotions of humans (Ortony & Turner, 1990). Each emotion state affect everyone’s lives each day by enabling people to elicit an appropriate response to respond environmental demands. To emphasize, the emotions that one feels each day can enforce the individual to take action and influence the choices that a person make about his or her life. For instance, one can just simply feel happy by doing something that they enjoy doing it as a form of stimulation, for example, when a person goes shopping, they can cheer themselves up. In that same way, when an individual considers another person’s emotions, they create the relationship through reading social cues of the interaction. Hence, when one portrays an amiable emotion, it brings out favourable responses from others compared to displaying unpleasant emotions that usually push people away.

 

Can we control our emotion? The answer is yes. Emotion regulation is a system of an individual’s intellectual process and behaviour that persuades and determines their feelings towards themselves and others (Gross & Barrett, 2011). With the help of emotion regulation, one can alter own emotion as well as others’ emotions. Theoretically speaking, there are five major types of emotion regulation strategies and they can be grouped into 2 categories: antecedent focused and response focused. Antecedent focused strategies include situation selection, situation modification, attentional deployment (e.g., rumination, worry, mindfulness) and cognitive change (e.g., reappraisal) while response focused consist of response modulation (e.g., avoidance, suppression, distraction, acceptance).

 

In everyday life, individuals would use different emotion regulation strategies to get through different challenging situations. These emotional expression helps individuals in many ways, such as for communication; the facial features of an individual are able to disclose a wide range of emotions for instance looking sad or hurt as a sign that the person need help from others, for survival; emotions have the capability to benefit individuals as a sensitive and refined internal guidance system, or even for happiness; the emotions and feelings helps an individual to identify what is missing or needed so that one can determine what is needed to be happy (Casey, Rogers, Burns, Yiend, 2013). Emotions are contagious and alterable through physiological behaviour, which explains why happy people are fun to be with, and how smiling can lift a depressed mood.

 

Motivation and Emotion is an area in Psychology that studies motivation and emotion primarily from a range of psychological perspectives. A number of quite different topics within the context of motivation and emotion, such as happiness, flow, resilience development and self-beliefs will be discussed.

 

The TMC Psychology programme offers remarkable modules that includes Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and others that offer exclusive insight of the fundamentals of Psychology, as well as exposes students to inspiring research updates in the various areas of psychology.

 

Interested to learn more about Psychology? Click here to find out more about our Psychology programmes!

References

  • Casey, H., Rogers, R. D., Burns, T., & Yiend, J. (2013). Emotion regulation in psychopathy. Biological psychology, 92(3), 541-548.
  • Gray, P. (2011). Psychology (6th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers
  • Gross, J. J., & Barrett, L. F. (2011). Emotion generation and emotion regulation: One or two depends on your point of view. Emotion review, 3(1), 8-16.
  • Ortony, A., & Turner, T. J. (1990). What’s basic about basic emotions? Psychological review, 97(3), 315.

Written by:
Mr Austin Ang
Senior Lecturer, School of Psychology
Austin.ang@tmc.edu.sg